Saturday 27th January 2024
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED v DESBOROUGH TOWN
After a frustrating weekend with Jack Frost deeming the Nirvana pitch unplayable, the Cooks finally get to play their second game of the year when our local rivals Desborough Town pay us a visit on Saturday afternoon. Ar Tarn currently sit second bottom in the division and will have an eye on Nirvana who now sit just three points adrift of them with two games in hand and they will be desperate to come out of tomorrow’s game with something to show if they are to maintain the premier division status they have held for as long as I can remember.
Our trip to the Waterworks Field back in August was something of a non-event in truth as the points were shared in a goalless draw with both teams looking tired after they had played extra-time in their respective F.A Cup replays just four days earlier, so hopefully it will be a more memorable affair this time around. Ar Tarn have had a change at the helm since that game after James Le Masurier quit towards the end of last year and Neil Healey was appointed as the new manager, assisted by Josh Sturgess, with the task of keeping them up the main priority this season. Le Moz has of course been given a similar task at struggling Kettering Town as they look to maintain their step three status during a torrid time at Latimer Park and I wish him and Neil success in their new roles.
Recent form has seen Desborough pick up points from their last two outings, drawing 0-0 at Easington Sports last time out which followed on from a home point against the same opponents at the Waterworks Field, this time 1-1 with Brady Stratford on target. Combative veteran midfielder Liam Boath was sent off in the game and will be suspended for this one, although Healey has a new forward in his squad and he will need no introduction to either side. Jake Bettles, who signs from Sileby Rangers after a short spell at Daventry at the beginning of the season has has played numerous times over the years for Ar Tarn and has also featured for the Cooks in two different pre-seasons in the past as well, but has never actually put pen to paper for the Cooks. He spent last season playing for Joe Rich’s Kettering Nomads and his goals helped his old mate’s team to lift the Northants Combination championship trophy at the end of the season. Desborough are likely to field a few ex-Cooks in their squad tomorrow with Owen Brooks, Adam Randall, Will Russell and Harry Moors all featuring against Easington. Brooks had played for us at the start of last season before dropping out of Saturday football for a while, but came back in style this season with a great spell at Whitworth before making the step up, Randall was a former skipper here at Compton Park during the Gary Petts era, Russell had a brief spell here under the same manager and really looked the part with only injuries holding him back, while Moors (Waple-Moors back then), was a regular feature for us on loan from Kettering Town last season and we had hoped he would be a regular this season too, but he opted to try and make it at the Poppies and has spent a spell on loan at Thame Unted this season before returning to the UCL with Desborough in recent weeks.
The Cooks are enjoying a very good spell over the last couple of months and home games like this are ones we should be picking up three points from in reality, but Desborough have a lot to play for and will certainly be no push over so game heads must be engaged right from the start. We have only played once so far this year, a 2-1 home win over Rugby Borough with the in-form striker Jack Connor popping up with the winner deep into stoppage time after Josh Jones had levelled late on, meaning it has been just one defeat in seven, four of them wins by our favourite 2-1 scoreline and with fifteen games remaining, we are just seven points shy of our finishing total last season, a fantastic feat considering seven of our main squad opted to leave for pastures new in the summer. Scott Carlin has named a strong squad for the game, but is still without Ben Gough, while Lewis Green has left us to link up with O.N Chenecks who have also taken his UCL registration as their Reserves are still in our league.
Don’t forget kick-off is 2pm tomorrow and lets hope for a decent crowd for this local derby.