The Cooks fought back from a poor first half showing to level late on, but fell to a even later sucker-punch as GNG took the points at the Riverside Ground.
Saturday 16th September 2023
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
G.N.G OADBY TOWN (1) 2 COGENHOE UNITED (0) 1
M. Bham 12
Z. Bham 88
Although it wasn’t anywhere near the heatwave conditions we had last Saturday, it was still shorts weather in Leicester as the Cooks faced up to a G.N.G Oadby team who have been somewhat inconsistent to date this season. Scott Carlin made one change to his starting line-up with Alex Parkes coming in for Charlie Pearson who dropped down to the bench, while Tommy Curry returned to the sixteen in place of Lewis Green. GNG made two changes to their starting eleven from the 5-2 defeat at Yaxley with Yash Chavda and Henry Langley stepping up from the bench, the latter after Jay Bruce had failed a late fitness test.
A quickly taken kick from Adam North picked out Dylan Wilson wide on the right and he controlled it with his chest before sending a low ball across the GNG penalty area, but it was a yard or so ahead of Jack Connor’s run, then Damien Osoimoejiokhian hooked the ball into the danger zone from the left forcing Camen Bhandel to head the ball behind for the game’s first corner. Cal Farmer sent it over and Harley Mallard steered it back to Parkes who lifted the ball towards the goal where keeper Fred Craven caught it ahead of Jack Connor after the bounce. The hosts took the lead with the first shot on target of the game with a direct free-kick from Mussa Bham. Earl Atat had fouled his man just outside the box to the left and Bham struck it well with North only able to palm the ball into the net at his near post. It was another disappointing goal to concede and the exact opposite of what we needed after last week’s heavy defeat.
Connor got up well to flick the ball on and received a blow to the back of his head for his efforts. It looked like a free-kick from where I stood, but play was waved on, then Osoimoejiokhian clipped a ball over the top for Parkes who sent Kieron Mobbs down the line, but his low cross was easily cleared by the home defence. A careless pass from Harley Mallard saw GNG break quickly into the box through Zaakir Bham, but the Cooks skipper atoned for his mistake with a great block from the ensuing shot. Mussa Bham fired over from outside the box just before Lamar Parkes hit a great low effort that North did really well to save after it bobbled just in front of him. The corner was played in deep and Tyrel Francis met it with a header that North caught above his head.
Dalton Leon won the ball in the air 10-yards inside the GNG half and Parkes picked out Wilson on the right, but his first time cross wasn’t attacked as it went across the face of the goal. A wild effort from Mussa Bham bounced into the car park off the clubhouse roof before Parkes found Henry Langley inside the box on the left with Mallard doing well to get a foot to his shot. A great run by Lotredge Muteera saw him get to the dead ball line and send over a low cross that North had to stretch to get a hand to and the first-half came to an end shortly afterwards.
It was only 1-0 to the home side at the break, but the Cooks would have a lot of work to do to turn this around after a lethargic first 45 minutes that lacked movement off the ball and cohesion on it.
Half time; GNG 1 Cooks 0
A major turning point came just four minutes after the restart as Parkes dinked the ball over the defence for Wilson to run on to. Keeper Craven managed to get to the ball first just outside his own box and may well have used his arm, but the referee was in a good position and waved play on. However, the keeper continued to chase the ball with Parkes firm favourite to get their first and launched himself into a studs-up challenge that took out the Cooks midfielder. Referee Norriss immediately showed the keeper the red card and called Piers Bodily on to treat the stricken Cooks midfielder. The home side had no keeper on the bench, so Matt Richmond had to swap kits with Craven meaning a few minutes stoppage with Muteera the unfortunate player to be subbed off and although Parkes tried to carry on, he was soon forced off and replaced by Tommy Curry in a reshuffle that saw Mobbs move across the field. Before the sub, Farmer sent the free-kick into the box and when Osoimoejiokhian clipped it back across, Connor rose well to meet it, but couldn’t keep his header under bar height.
Connor went even closer moments later from a great cross from Atat, this time his header going inches over the bar, then Curry beat his man on the left before sending a low ball across that stand-in keeper Richmond couldn’t hold on to, but Connor was unable to turn the loose ball in from close range. A strong run by Camen Bhandel opened the Cooks defence and Mussa Bham hit a powerful shot that took a deflection and flew just over the bar for a corner. A great ball from Farmer to Atat down the right saw the full-back whip over a low cross that found its way to Curry just inside the box on the left and he set up Connor, but his shot deflected safely into the waiting arms of Richmond. Carlin made his second change with Osoimoejiokhian making way for Stan Channell on 65 minutes which also meant another change for the versatile Mr Mobbs who now found himself in the left-back berth.
GNG broke well with Bhandel finding Langley and he forced Leon to make a brave block from his 20-yard shot, then GNG’s Parkes pulled a shot wide from a good position inside the box just to the left of centre. A poor pass from Farmer saw him give the ball away to Bhandel who broke quickly before being body-checked by the Cooks man who was quite rightly shown the yellow card. With Atat the original target now well out of position, it was definitely a case of taking one for the team from Farmer. The Cooks were now having the best of the attacking play, but GNG were looking dangerous when they got the chance to break.
Ben Dimond took a shot from 25-yards that Richmond patted down and dived on just before Channell tried to send over a cross from the left that flicked off a defender and looped into the keeper’s arms. A good cross from Curry saw Channell beaten in the air by Langley and when Farmer met the ball with a first time shot from 25-yards, it was blocked just inside the box. Another 25-yarder from Farmer cannoned wide off the back of Mandeep Bains, while a good run into the box by Mobbs was followed by a shot that Langley blocked and when Wilson pounced on the rebound just inside area, his shot deflected wide. Curry cut in and saw his shot blocked while the Cooks won a free-kick a few yards outside the box to the right and Wilson went for goal only to hit the inside of the post and see the ball come back into play. Great effort from the Cooks leading scorer who was very unlucky not to add to his tally from this free-kick.
Mobbs sent over a cross that Channell challenged for on the edge of the 6-yard box only to see the ball roll wide, while Parkes could have finished things off down the other end but fired his effort wide. Mallard picked out Curry on the left and he sent over a dangerous cross that Langley did well to claim before the Cooks made another change with Biff sacrificing centre-back Dimond for the more attacking option of Sonny Knights with 80 minutes on the clock. Farmer sent in a great free-kick from the left that Connor headed over from the edge of 6-yard box which was to prove the young striker’s last action as Jamie Hall took his place up top. A nice interchange between Mussa Bham and Parkes saw the latter scuff his shot deep inside the box while the final Cooks change of the game saw Pearson replace Farmer in midfield.
Leon played a good ball into the box to find Channell and he forced Richmond to save his shot with his legs, then the stand-in keeper did really well to get to a Knights pull back before the Cooks could take advantage. Channell played a great ball across the box and Hall tried to back heel it in at the far post, but only scuffed it, but seconds later Channell repeated it and this time Sonny Knights was there to net his first goal for the club. 87 minutes played and the Cooks were finally level. However, parity would last just over sixty seconds after Zaakir Bham found himself totally unmarked in the centre and even though he looked stunned to be in this position, he calmed himself before firing a shot into the top corner past the helpless North. In between the two goals, the Cooks had sensed the three points were there to be taken and Hall had played Curry in on the overlap only for the keeper to take his cross and Curry had sent over another dangerous cross that once again Richmond did well to claim.
GNG made a late change as Chavda was forced off with an injury and Ruen Basra took his place with just stoppage time remaining. Pearson sent over a cross that Hall appeared to duck under at the far post and another good cross from Curry was won in the air with a great defensive header from Bains. Richmond could only parry a 25-yard shot from Leon, but he recovered quickly to reclaim the ball, then the stand-in keeper caught a high ball swung into the box by Leon. The Cooks were close to grabbing a last-ditch point when yet another good cross from Curry was fractionally over the head of Wilson and the Cooks were left licking their wounds after a second successive defeat.
The Cooks were still well short of their best today and didn’t really come to life until the red card which is a little concerning, but I feel that they could easily have gone on to win this had that almost elusive first goal come earlier in the game. They really should have tested the stand-in keeper more than they did too in truth, but they did get better and better as the game went on. Dylan Wilson was desperately unlucky with his free-kick and Jack Connor improved dramatically after the break too. Harley Mallard had a decent game and quickly recovered to atone for his one slip today, but I felt two of our subs made the most impact on the game with Stan Channell looking very lively and at least tested the keeper, while my man-of-the-match today is Tommy Curry who sent over numerous crosses that on another day we would probably have taken advantage of. We must take it onboard though that a performance like today’s first half is likely to see us well beaten by one of the top teams in the division and was unacceptable when you consider we know what they are capable of. A point today would have been fair on the boys after bossing much of the second half and the winning goal could easily have been avoided if we had a couple of more experienced players out there to keep the younger heads in check I feel, but that experience will come over time, I guess.
Next up is a county cup game under the Compton Park lights as we play Northampton Town U23s on Tuesday night, kick-off 7-45pm and this is followed on Saturday by the F.A Vase fixture against Winslow United.
GNG; 1. Fredereick Craven 2. Yash Chavda (sub 12. Reun Basra 90) 3. Ryan Dhami 4. Tyrel Francis 5. Mnadeep Bains 6. Henry Langley 7. Zaakir Bham 8. Camen Bhandel 9. Lamar Parkes 10. Mussa Bham 11. Lotredge Muteera (sub 17, Matt Richmond 49-in goal). Subs not used; 14. Rizvan Hussain 15. Blake Boulter 16. Jay Bruce;
Cooks; 1. Adam North 2. Earl Atat 3. Damian Osoimoejiokhian (sub 16. Stan Channell 65) 4. Alex Parkes (sub 14. Tommy Curry 55) 5. Ben Dimond (sub 15. Sonny Knights 80) 6. Harley Mallard © 7. Kieron Mobbs 8. Callum Farmer (sub 17. Charlie Pearson 84) 9. Jack Connor (sub 14. Jamie Hall 82) 10. Dalton Leon 11. Dylan Wilson
Referee; William Norriss
Assts; Stefan Calaruso & Andrew Ewing
Photos will follow on the Cogenhoe United Facebook page.