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A very competitive match as the Cooks match their National League

Tuesday 13th July 2021


The Cooks entertained Vanarama National League North side Kettering Town on a beautiful summer evening at Compton Park. This was the Poppies opening game in their warm-up campaign and manager Paul Cox opted to field a separate XI in each half as he cast an eye over a number of trialists. It was clear before kick-off that this would be a tough test for the Cooks as we looked at the size of a number of their players, with most of them looking every bit the athlete. Rico Alexander made a very welcome return to the Cooks after impressing last season and he was joined in the starting line-up by familiar faces in Paddy Cichosz, Harry Darnell, Jack Riley, Will Bates and another returnee in Dan Mortimer, with another in Jordon Orosz on the bench. Craig Adams’ new signings Craig Foxall, Lloyd Groves, Jamie Mastropierro, Tom Wakley and Archie Elmore completed the starting line-up.
Cogenhoe settled quickly into the game and almost took the lead but for a great save by Poppies keeper Rhys Davies, who got down well to stretch to his left and get a hand to Bates’ first time volley from the centre of the box after a great ball in by Wakley. Kettering saw a far post header go into the side netting whilst a Bates free-kick was met by Riley, but his header went behind for a corner. Darnell put a header on target following a Mortimer throw whilst Wakley turned inside and struck his shot sweetly from the angle of the box on the left, but Davies caught it cleanly just above his head. We looked to be heading into the break level, but as the clock reach 45, a trialist wearing the no. 9 shirt met a cross from the right at the far post and hit a well-timed volley past Foxall and the Poppies had the lead.
Substitute Jack Daldy robbed a defender just outside the box but didn’t middle his ensuing shot and fellow sub Dylan Wilson tried a speculative effort from 30 yards out that was quite a way over the top. During the half Adams brought on five subs in total with Faz Rahman, Jordon Orosz and Harry Arundel all getting a run-out, but even with the visitors having eleven fresh pairs of legs on the field for the second half, they never took control as we carried on the good defending with another sterling performance against what I felt was the slicker out of their two teams. Foxall caught a few balls into his box, but such was the way we defended as a team, he actually had very little to do against a team from three steps higher than ourselves.
Another excellent team performance with everyone playing for the cause and we have already come on leaps-and-bounds from our opening game against Bedford. We are now away for the following two weekends, starting with a trip to Sileby Rangers which has a 1pm kick off.

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