LATE COMEBACK NOT QUITE ENOUGH FOR COOKS IN VASE DEFEAT.
Saturday 11th September 2021
BUILDBASE F.A VASE-1ST ROUND QUALIFYING
COGENHOE UNITED (0) 2 HAREFIELD UNITD (1) 3
Wilson 90+3 (pan)
Pacquette 54, 56
I have personally always loved the F.A Vase and always look forward to games that pit teams from different leagues together and the chance to see players and meet people whose paths you would not normally cross. Today we hosted Harefield United from the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division who made the trip up from North West London today on a beautiful late summer’s afternoon. With both teams having lost their previous four games and scoring just once between them, this was also a chance for the players to put their league form to one side and concentrate on a one-off match and the chance of a run in the Vase which swells club’s coffers and installs an excitement around the club.
Craig Adams brought in former Kempston Rovers player Chief Boateng during the week and he started up front alongside Tom Wakley, with Dylan Wilson dropping a little deeper in the hole behind them. Paddy Cichosz started in place of Jordan Orosz on the right and Will Bates was the player to make way for the new signing (with a little reshuffle also in the mix) but otherwise we were unchanged from Tuesday night.
Early play was pretty even, although the visitors had the first shot which Dan Mortimer seemed to block with his teeth. What Cogenhoe didn’t need was to go behind early on after our recent run of defeats, but that is what happened after just 9 minutes when we allowed Courtney Austin to run at us to get into the box and he proceeded to plant a well-placed shot across Craig Foxall and inside the far post for a well taken goal. It must be said that we did have a few chances to clear our lines during the piece of play that led to the goal, but we now had to dig a little deeper if we were to stay in the competition.
Cichosz and Adams exchanged passes twice as they made their way up towards the car park end and it was Josh who took the ball along the edge of the box before looking for the bottom corner with his right foot shot, but it was about a foot the wrong side of Reece Mallet’s right-hand post. Former QPR (and multiple others) striker Richard Pacquette forced a save out of Craig Foxall with a header before Boateng did really well down the left flank to hold off a challenge and make space for a cross, but it was headed away in the centre by a defender. A great strike from Pacquette rattled the woodwork as the game went from end-to-end just before Boateng almost played Tom Wakley clear but for a good interception from the very impressive Romario Warburton-Rowe.
Wilson played a good ball to Jamie Mastropierro on the right and he whipped in a cross that was cut out, then Callum Neal had to make a great challenge as a Wakley run was looking dangerous. Dan Mortimer had been down with muscular injury and he had to come off with just 35 minutes played, giving Bates a little longer than he would have perhaps expected after dropping down to the bench. A decent strike from Louis Bircham was taken safely by Foxall, while Wakley did well on the right and sent over a cross, but we were slow supporting in this instance and the ball was easily cleared. Wilson looked as if he might break clear from Boateng’s pass, but great defending from Warburton-Rowe denied him a chance and that is how the first half ended. A decent half with both teams playing the ball around, but it was Austin’s early striker that separated the two at the break.
Half-time; Cooks 0 Hares 1.
Harefield started the second half well and Austin saw his shot deflect over the top for a corner. Foxall got up well to punch over the head of Austin with Femi Ogunsola firing the ball well over as it came down to him on the edge of the box. A great turn and powerful shot by Pacquette from the edge of the box was saved by Foxall but on 54 minutes the former professional was celebrating after getting in front of his marker and turning Steve Green’s low cross past Foxall with a cool first-time finish. Two minutes later Pacquette had all but ended Cogenhoe’s hopes with his second of the game. This time side-footing home from close range after a great run and ball across the box by Austin. Two goals in three minutes making it five goals in three games for Richard Pacquette and a mountain to climb for the Cooks after they had actually played much better that of late.
Wilson picked up possession on the half-way line and broke through the middle before hitting a great effort that sailed over the keeper but sadly dipped just too late and clipped the top of the netting. One of those that would have been a spectacular goal if he had been just a matter of inches further out when he hit it. Also one that would have gone in if we were top f the table I guess. Archie Culley replaced Boateng on 66 minutes as the new signing works on his match fitness, but it was Lloyd Groves that was pushed up front as a target man.
Bates played in a good cross from the right that Alexander flicked on and Wakley nipped in but his effort went the wrong side of the post. On 62 minutes we made our final change as Jordan Orosz came on for Jack Riley as we needed to push on if we were to get back into this cup tie. Alexander headed away a free-kick by Louis Bircham and then Foxall was forced to make two saves in as many minutes with Austin shooting from the right and then Ogunsola forcing the keeper into a very good save as the Hares looked for a fourth.
On 73 minutes it finally happened after 480 goalless minutes we chalked one against our name on the scoresheet. It was a lovely goal too as Groves held the ball up and slipped it through to play Wakley clear and cool as a cucumber, he side-footed his shot past the keeper and into the net. Harefield’s Harry McCorker became the only player to be shown the yellow card by Harry Price for trying to prevent a Cooks player from getting the ball back out of the net to get it back into play.
Great strength from Groves saw him win a corner that Adams took short and sent the second ball high towards the box, but Mallet stepped off his line to catch it cleanly before Alexander could get near it. Great football from the Cooks saw us keep possession with a number of players involved with Orosz and Wilson at the business end creating a chance for Adams to cross. Jamie Matropierro tried to meet it on the volley with the ball falling beyond the far post where Wakley directed a shot on target, but it was held at the near post by Mallet. A good ball from Groves found Wilson on the edge of the box and his shot struck Warburton-Rowe and looped over the bar. Adams delivery from the corner was superb and Groves met it with a powerful header that crashed against the bar as we continued to press for another goal. Another corner, this time from the left, saw Bates play in an excellent ball that the keeper did well to get his hand too and help across the box, but this was exciting stuff now from the Cooks.
Harefield brought on Luke Baldwin for Ogunsola with five minutes of normal play remaining which may well have been more about taking the sting out of the game more than anything else. Alexander defended well as Bircham tried to break through the centre but it was straight back down the village end as Wilson forced a save out of the keeper from the right edge of the box with a decent effort. Culley played the ball up to Wakley just inside the corner of the box on the left and he went past Neal only to be bundled over, forcing Price to point to the spot. Wilson was the man to take it and he sent the keeper the wrong way with his low penalty. 2-3 but we were already well into stoppage time and sadly as much as we tried, we couldn’t create another chance and it was the London club who moved into the next round.
All the best to Harefield in the next round and in their league campaign. They played their part in a very entertaining game this afternoon, played the game in the spirit in which it was invented and have a lovely bunch of people running the club too. For us it was a vastly improved performance that saw us play some very good football at times. Sadly we fell just short on the day but it could have been different had Groves header been just under the bar and the same with that great effort by Wilson, but these things balance themselves out when you remember that they hit the woodwork too and Foxall was the busiest of the keepers over the whole 90 minutes. Harry Price officiated the game really well and deserves a mention as the referee usually only gets criticised in match reports (not by me though, I keep my comments away from the media). Romario Warburton-Howe, Courtney Austin and of course 38-year-old Richard Pacquette caught the eye for the visitors, whilst I have to say everyone did well for us today. The spirit was great out there and hopefully the confidence is starting to come back into our young squad and today they reminded us they can play football, which is something we all knew but has been somewhat lacking in recent matches. My man-of-the-match today goes to Tom Wakley who got better and better as the game went on and it was so pleasing to see him get his name on the scoresheet. Special mention though to our outgoing assistant manager/centre-half and now apparently striker LLloyd Groves who played his last match for the Cooks today before heading back to Soham Town Rangers. Thanks for all the hard work you have put in on the pitch, the dressing room and the training ground. It has been a pleasure to have you involved in the club and I wish you all the best for the future.
Its back to league action on Tuesday night and another tough game as we head to Rugby Town for a 7-45 kick off.
Cooks; 1. Craig Foxall 2. Paddy Cichosz 3. Josh Adams 4. Dan Mortimer (sub 12. Will Bates 44) 5. Jack Riley (sub 14. Jordan Orosz 62) 6. Rico Alexander 20. Lloyd Groves 8. Jamie Mastropierro © 9. Dylan Wilson 10. Chief Boateng (sub 15. Archie Culley 58) 11. Tom Wakley. Sub not used; Faris Rhaman.
Harefield United; 1. Reece Mallet 2. Paul Underwood 3. Steve Green 4. Harry McCorker 5. Romario Warburton-Rowe 6. Sean Mangan © 7. Femi Ogunsola (sub 16. Luke Baldwin 85) 8. Richard Pacquette (sub 12. Hekmat Alizai 66) 9. Courtney Austin 10. Loius Bircham 11. Callum Neal. Subs not used; 14. Potrit Krasniqi 15. Jake Flynn 17. Luke Simpson 18. Jacob Bauheimer.
Referee; Harry Price
Assts; Ian Mitchell & Liam Jackson.