There was no end-of-season high for the Reserves which means a 13th place finish.
Saturday 30th April 2022
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-RESERVE DIVISION
HUNTINGDON TOWN Reserves (2) 2 COGENHOE UNITED Reserves (0) 1
Despite having 96 players registered and having used 79 different players in the Reserves this season, we were once again down to the bare-bones with just twelve players willing to make the trip for the final game of the season as we headed to Jubilee Park to face Huntingdon Town. Incoming manager Ian Adcock named himself and Lee Felgate on the bench where they joined Nick Fleming, although Adcock ran the line in the first half with Damien McGrath doing the honours after the break.
The weather couldn’t have been nicer from a spectator’s point of view as we basked in warm sunshine, probably not so much for the players though as they brought their seasons to an end. The pitch was very end-of-season too with the grass a little long and tufty in places, covering a very bumpy and extremely hard surface.
The home side started at a lively pace and for a while the Cooks weren’t able to get themselves into the game as they were forced back on their heels. Jamie Waterworth played a good ball to put Seco Embalo through but he placed his shot wide, then the experienced Ian King cut inside from the left but fired his shot the wrong side of the near post. In the Cooks first real foray into the Huntingdon half, Matt Fletcher worked really hard to shut down and get a touch to keeper Ciaran O’Reilly’s clearance and the ball went to Kelvin Gyamfi inside the box on the right. He took an almighty swipe at the ball, but it bobbled meaning he missed it completely (it’s a good job his boot didn’t fly off, as the power of his attempted shot would have seen it end up in Brampton).
Nzube Nwosu got the ball under and played it to Fletcher inside the box on the right and he sent over a dangerous cross that we couldn’t capitalise on, just before a great overlap by Antonio DePaulo saw him burst clear down the right, but his shot didn’t match his run and was easy for Ciaran Wells. A long ball picked out Embalo’s run into the box on the right and he had time to cut inside and play it across the face of the 6-yard box, but Waterhouse couldn’t get there in time to tap in at the far post. Embalo fed Waterhouse inside the area and a very good block by James McGrath kept the game goalless, then down the bottom end we saw Fletcher do well on the right before finding Gyamfi on the edge of the box where he stepped inside before hitting a decent low strike that O’Reilly got down to gather.
With just one outfield sub to use, the Cooks made a number of swaps using the rolling subs rule, so I’m not going to put them all into my report today, but the first of them was followed very quickly by the hosts taking a 20th minute lead. Embalo played a nice ball into Waterhouse who touched it square for King who set up Toby Marumahoko, his shot was blocked but instead of clearing the danger, we managed to slice it into the air back across our own box where Waterhouse gratefully accepted his gift and fired his shot past Wells from deep inside the box. King had a couple of chances from the edge of the box, the first on the volley that went over, the second a minute later saw him aim for the far top-corner, but it was fractionally too high this time.
The second Huntingdon goal came on 25 minutes and was hardly a surprise as they were well on top at this point. Marumahoko found himself with the ball at his feet just inside the area unchallenged and he placed a low shot to Wells’ left and just inside the post. Sam Adams fired over from a few yards outside the box, then Marumahoko fired high and wide with a wild effort as the home side were enjoying some shooting practice as we failed to close them down deep inside our own half.
Fletcher turned nicely and hit a decent effort from 25-yards out that wasn’t too far over the top, then Luke Andrews sent Fletcher on a strong run towards goal, but he couldn’t get past Carolino Lopes who stood his ground well. King played the ball down the line to Waterhouse as at it curled inside, Wells came out quickly to sweep up, then Jake Walpole did well to block a shot from Marumahoko, with the resulting Seb Darnell corner being won in the air by McGrath allowing Wells to get across and claim the ball. A Lovely knock from Andrews picked out Seb Patrick Medan’s run down the right, but Logan Gregory defended the situation well and all we had to show for the break was a corner. Medan played it in and it came off a defender’s head before dropping in front of Nwosu, but Lopes threw his body in front of the Cooks man to block his shot. 2-0 to the home side at the break and in truth they perhaps should have been further clear with the chances they had, but we had started to get ourselves back into the game and are still very much in it as we headed off for half-time.
Half-time; Huntingdon 2 Cooks 0
Embalo played in a dangerous ball from the right and we were rather lucky to see the ball go behind for a goal kick after a poor clearance hit Marumahoko in front of goal, then Embalo made a good run through the centre, but hit his shot straight at Wells. Another great run down the right from Fletcher saw him cut inside the box and send over a cross looking for Mason, but O’Reilly gathered the ball safely at his near post, then Adams sent over a good cross from the right that Waterhouse won in the air, but his header looped into the waiting hands of Wells. Fletcher was full of energy and had been our biggest threat with his runs down the right, but on this occasion he was brought down by Cyrus Hussain. Ben Short’s free-kick was into the right sort of position, but we couldn’t get on the end of it, then Fletcher brought the ball down nicely inside the box, but his cross was cleared away.
Andrews had a sight of goal from 25-yards out but his effort was too high to trouble the keeper, then down the bottom end Waterhouse met Darnell’s corner at the near post, but his header went over the bar. A poor clearance went straight to Adams who took a touch before shooting from 30-yards and although it looked good as he hit, it died away and flew wide of the far post. Fletcher found Gyamfi to his right inside the box but Michael Norris forced him wide and his cross was too close to the keeper. Huntingdon broke quickly and Embalo was played clear down the right. Wells came off his line, but Embalo touched the ball past him and went for the unselfish option of rolling the ball across the area with the keeper now stranded, but his teammates didn’t react quick enough and the Cooks cleared the ball away.
King’s well struck shot was blocked by Walpole, then Fletcher found Short on the left and he played it square to Nwosu on the edge of the box where the Cooks midfielder switched feet and hit a low shot that forced O’Reilly to get down and make a good save. Gyamfi battled for the ball before Mason took over and forced O’Reilly to stretch up and catch his shot just under bar height, then a lovely move saw Waterhouse pick out Embalo on the right and King met his low pull back with a first time shot that Wells had to save with his feet. Ruben Rey found Marumahoko on the edge of the box and his shot deflected just wide for a corner that Darnell delivered, it came off a defender and very nearly fell for Rey on the edge of the 6-yard box.
Wells came off his line to successfully challenge Waterhouse as the striker latched on to Marumahoko’s pass, then as the end-to-end stuff continued, Mason got the better of King to get to the edge of the box where he pulled his shot wide of the far post. Adams tried to lob Wells from just outside the box but didn’t get the height he required, then a perfectly played long pass by Gregory fell just in front of Adams’ run, but he fired his shot wide of the far post from a good position. Mason was causing a few issues for the home defence and he got past Gregory who brought him down and earned himself a yellow card with 79 minutes played. Short went for goal with the free-kick and wasn’t too far wide with his curling effort.
King and then Waterhouse had too much time just outside our box and the latter really should have done better with his shot that was straight at Wells, then King saw his shot blocked after being first to the loose ball. Andrews did well to get to the edge of the box as he held off two defenders, but Gregory robbed hm before he could make space for a shot, then Nwosu hit a very worthy effort from distance that flew just beyond the angle of bar and post. Cogenhoe did pull one back on 85 minutes though to make this an interesting finale to the game. Nwosu won the ball in the air in the middle of the park, Gyamfi played it to Mason who held off a defender and played it back to Gyamfi in the middle of the box and he volleyed his shot beyond the keeper and into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
Gregory coolly nodded the ball back to his keeper with Gyamfi breathing down his neck just inside the box, whilst Jake Nicholson drilled a cross-shot straight across the face of the goal from the left. A foul on Andrews wasn’t given deep inside the home team’s half and Short nipped in to shoot from 25-yards with the ball taking a heavy deflection off a defender and rolling through to the keeper. Great work by Fleming ended with his cross aimed at the head of Mason hitting a defender’s head and going wide of the target, although Tolga Yildiztepe awarded a goal-kick. The final action of the game, and the season, saw Fleming do well and find Gyamfi to his right and his whipped in cross-shot went narrowly beyond the far angle of post and bar prompting the referee to blow the final whistle.
It would have been nice to have ended the season with something to show from the game, but in all fairness Harborough did deserve the three points against another patched up Cogenhoe Reserve team. The Cooks end the season in 13th place which isn’t too shabby given the problems we have met along the way, but that is all history now as our thoughts turn to next season after hopefully enjoying the summer break. Thanks to Gary and Damien who have fought against the odds to just get a team out on a number of occasions this season whilst also running the U18s. Hopefully next season will be far less stressful with just the youth team to look after, whilst I would like to wish all the best to Ian Adcock as the reins are handed over to him.
Huntingdon; 1. Ciaran O’Reilly 2. Cyrus Hussain 3. Seb Darnell © 4. Logan Gregory 5. Carolino Lopes 6. Antonio DePaulo 7. Sam Adams 8. Ian King 9. Jamie Waterhouse 10. Seco Embalo 11. Toby Marumahoko. Subs all used; 12. Jake Nicholson 14. Ruben Rey 15. Michael Norris.
Cooks; 1. Ciaran Wells 2. Nat Allam 3. Ben Short 4. Luke Andrews 5. James McGrath 6. Jake Walpole © 7. Nick Fleming 8. Nzube Nwosu 9. Kelvin Gyamfi 10. Ben Mason 11. Matt Fletcher. Sub used; 15. Seb Patrick Medan. Subs not used; 12. Lee Felgate 14. Ian Adcock.
Referee; Tolga Yildiztepe.