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What goes around comes around as the Cooks concede a 92nd minute winner as Newport Pagnell come back from 0-2 down to take the points.

BOXING DAY 26th December 2023





Ford 70, 90+2

Olukanm1 90


Weatherly 28

Connor 56

Att; 240


The Cooks made the trip across the county border for their Boxing Day football fix, while I made the arduous two-minute drive from my house to Willen Road, home of Newport Pagnell Town. With Ben Gough having gone home for Christmas, Scott Carlin moved Kieron Mobbs back to left-back and gave Matty Ireland his full debut after impressing from the bench on Saturday, while Bailey Weatherly was available again and came back into the midfield with Callum Farmer dropping down to the bench where he was joined by Josh Jones and Dylan Carlin as Paddy Cichosz and Dennis Nkrumah were both away today. Swan’s chief Arron Parkinson brought Bleu McNeil and Kieran Barnes into his starting eleven as Callum Martin had to settle for a place on the bench and Matty Harriott dropped out of the squad altogether.

It was a very mild Boxing Day in the Buckinghamshire town with the wind now only a gentle breeze which was a welcome change from Saturday’s blustery conditions and with the pitch in decent condition considering all the rain we had in Milton Keynes yesterday and the days prior, we got underway at 1-pm in front of a decent sized crowd. It was a scrappy start to the game with neither team finding their stride early on although Lewis Patching had to get up well inside his own 6-yard box to punch away a dangerous Weatherly corner. Dom Wysocki made a jinking run into the box and cut into towards goal, but Luke Abraham made a solid tackle to stop him getting any closer, while the first shot of the game came down the far end when Barnes cut inside from the right but fired his effort wide. Weatherly made a driving run into the box only to be dispossessed by a timely challenge by Josh Swann and Patching punched the ensuing Ireland corner away over the head of Harley Mallard.

Dan Walker saw his cross-shot from the right deflect off a Cooks’ defender and drop onto the top of the net, then from a similar position, Walker went for power, but his shot flew well wide of the far post. Ireland won the ball back and got into the box to the right, but great covering from Swann denied him a shooting opportunity, while Weatherly couldn’t match his free-kick at Bugbrooke from a very similar position as this time he only found the wall. Ireland was working hard and won the ball off Nketia just to the left of the box before playing inside to Sonny Knights who fed Weatherly in the middle of the box and he took a touch before firing a low shot past Patching from 8-yards out to open the scoring on 28 minutes.

Wysocki, having been previously warned by referee Luke Burford, was shown the yellow card for a foul on 30 minutes and two minutes later Newport’s Kai O’Keeffe joined him after catching Brad Ilunga a little late. Mobbs had to work hard up against the experienced Walker and did really well to stop him getting in a cross from a dangerous position, but he couldn’t stop the former Luton Town hitting a powerful shot from deep inside the box on the right that John Meadows dived to his left to push around the post with a decent save. Wysocki tried to play Knights clear inside the box with a dinked ball in, but it was just ahead of it’s intended target while players from both teams picked up unnecessary yellow cards for kicking the ball away as first Ireland (41) and then Nat Gosnal-Tyler less than 60-seconds later, fell foul of Mr Burford notebook. The Last shot of the first half came from Weatherly, but his 25-yard effort took a heavy deflection that saw the ball fall kindly into the arms of Patching and it was the Cooks who headed into the break a goal to the good.


Half-time; Swans 0 Cooks 1


No changes to the playing personnel at the break and it was the home side who started Gosnal-Tyler burst into the box, but he could only slam his shot into the side netting just before O’Keeffe sent over a dangerous corner from the opposite side that somehow went untouched across the penalty area. A Walker cross was headed out by Ben Dimond and when Ireland and Nketia went in with a full-bloodied challenge for the loose ball, the Newport player went down holding his leg and the home players surrounded the referee calling for a second yellow card. It didn’t come however with the referee deciding a stern lecture was all that was required and the Swan’s player got up and we carried on eleven-a-side. Nketia and O’Keeffe both saw decent crosses headed away by Mobbs as Newport continued to pile on the pressure, then on 56 minutes the Cooks added to their advantage with a classic breakaway goal. Ireland received the ball on the right and took it down the flank before sending a low ball in behind the defence to pick out Connor’s run and the striker struck it first time past Patching and into the roof of the net. This proved to be Ireland’s last action of the game as Biff swapped him with Josh Jones which was probably a wise decision as one more foul could well have led to a second yellow for the impressive young Cobblers player.

Walker got deep into the box as he took on a through ball just to the left of central and he forced a good save from Meadows with the keeper recovering quickly to gather the loose ball. Good close control from Wysocki enabled him to get inside the box, but he couldn’t find a team mate before the second change of the afternoon saw Callum Farmer come on for the impressive Weatherly with twenty-five minutes still to go. A good cross from McNeil was held well by Meadows, but the Cooks keeper had no chance on 70 minutes as the hosts reduced the arrears, A great ball from Swann sent Gosnal-Tyler clear down the right and he set up Walker for a cross which turned out to be perfect for Ben Ford to head home from close range.

Great determination by Connor saw him hold off a defender to get deep inside the box before being challenged by Patching with the referee ruling that the Cooks forward had fouled the keeper, while down the other end a great hanging cross to the back post by Walker saw Ilunga miss the ball in the air and as a result flattened Barnes. Newport had three penalties in last season’s game here, missing one of them, but unlike that day, Barnes wasn’t successful from the spot as Meadows dived to his right to push the ball away and ensure his team held on to their one-goal lead. Meadows was quick off his line to beat Gosnal-Tyler to Walker’s flick before Parky made his first change with Nathan Olukanmi coming on for O’Keeffe in an attacking change. The Cooks were a whisker away from extending their lead when Connor’s ball in from the right was just ahead of Wysocki’s run, but he gave chase and cut back inside before whipping over a cross that Connor must have been millimetres away from heading in from a couple of yards out.

Earl Atat came off on 80 minutes to give Lewis Green some game time which must have been a tough decision as Earl had played well, while Knights 25-yarder was heading for the top corner when Patching pulled off a fine one-handed save to deny him. Josh Rayfield replaced Knights on 83 minutes, but most of the play was down the Steve Dart Terrace end as Newport sent over cross after cross in what was becoming a bombardment and almost inevitably, they made one count in the 90th minute. Barnes was given way too much space wide on the left and he whipped over a cross that Olukanmi launched himself at to net with a powerful header from very close range. With the Cooks now holding on for a point, Newport continued to go for the jugular and the crowd were sent into raptures two minutes into added time when yet another good cross from Walker found Ford at the far post and he took a touch before firing the ball home from close range.

After Saturday’s stoppage time jubilation, the boot was on the other foot three days later as Newport snatched it this time around. A disappointing first half action-wise really came to life after the break to make this a memorable afternoon, even if not a particularly happy one for the Cooks. It is never a good thing to let a two-goal lead slip, but well played to Pagnell who dominated the second half delivering multiple dangerous crosses into our box. Two well-taken goals from Bailey Weatherly and Jack Connor were obvious highlights for us, as was John Meadows penalty save and to be fair, he had no chance with any of the goals today and earns my man-of-the-match. Both our goal scorers took their chances well and both took their tallies to five for the season, with Matty Ireland really taking his chance in senior football with both hands as he gives it his all and had a big hand in both our goals today, even if he was perhaps a little lucky to have escaped a second yellow card just before he set up Connor.

Well done to Parky and the boys who came back from two goals down to take the points and I’m sure they feel they deserved it on their second-half showing, while we must swiftly move on and prepare ourselves for another big game on Saturday when we host local rivals Wellingborough Town.


Swans; 1. Lewis Patching 3. Josh Swann 4. Christian Smail © 7. Kieran Barnes 10 Nat Gosnal-Tyler (sub 14. Alex Munroe 90+3) 11. Ben Ford 12. Kai O’Keeffe (sub 17. Nathan Olukanmi 74) 14. Joel Nketia 18. Luke Abraham 20. Dan Walker 22. Bleu McNeil. Subs not used; 9. Harrison Lynham 15. Callum Martin 16. Dan Willet (GK).

Cooks; 1. John Meadows 2. Earl Atat (sub 16. Lewis Green 80) 3. Kieron Mobbs 4. Ben Dimond 5. Brad Ilunga 6. Harley Mallard © 7. Matty Ireland (sub 14. Josh Jones 56)  8. Sonny Knights (sub 15. Josh Rayfield 83) 9. Jack Connor 10. Bailey Weatherly (sub 12. Callum Farmer 65) 11. Dominik Wysocki. Sub not used; Dylan Carlin.

Referee; Luke Burford Assts; Phillip Bannerman & Luke Pilley.




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