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Hart and Cichosz on target, but strugglers Eynesbury have too much for the Cooks despite a late fightback.

Saturday 30th March 2024





Rogers 32

O’Hara 51

Mienambolo 65


Hart 58

Cichosz 87

Att; 100


The Cooks kicked off their Easter weekend programme with a trip to face an Eynesbury Rovers team fighting to avoid the drop and with a some players heading away for a break over the holiday adding to the injury list, Scott Carlin was forced into a few changes to his squad. Takula Chijota was handed his first start for the club while Alex Parkes returned after a long spell of absence in the right-back berth in place of the unavailable Earl Atat. Callum Farmer started in the centre of the midfield meaning Paddy Cichosz dropped down to the bench where he joined new signing Jack Kuspert alongside Dex Nkrumah and Kai Fifield. Ben Dimond joined the list of those players missing through injury while Brad Ilunga wore the skipper’s armband in the place of the injured Harley Mallard who watched on from the stand. There was also one big change in the dug-out as Scott Carlin sat out his one match ban so Andy Batty took control of things at the side of the pitch. Rovers have joint-managers in Callum Douglass and Darren Fairbrass and they made four changes from the 0-4 reverse at home to March Town on Tuesday night as former Moulton man Jamal Said, Olie Lee, Ben Hickling and Dimagio Robinson all dropped down to the bench with Dan Hammer, Marcel Rzeszutek, Adrian O’Hara and Fraelias Mienambolo all being handed starts.

There was no sign of the recent wet weather and in fact we were treated to warm spring sunshine on what is certainly the best Saturday of the year so far, so it was now up to the players to treat us to 90 minutes of entertainment. It had been a very nice journey across from Milton Keynes for myself, but unfortunately Derek and Maurice hadn’t timed it quite as well and a crash and road closure left them trying to navigate the streets of Eynesbury and they were unable to make it in time for kick-off. What they missed was a pretty dominant first fifteen minutes from the hosts as the Cooks struggled to get themselves into the game.

Rzeszutek won an early corner down the right and from this we witnessed the first shot of the game, but Max Kimpton’s effort from just inside the box lacked any real power and John Meadows took it comfortably. Mienanbolo’s shot from an angle inside the box took a deflection off Keiron Mobbs that meant Meadows was unable to prevent another corner at the near post, but Mobbs headed out Declan Rogers delivery. A long ball found Hammer on the edge of the box and he played in a low cross that Ilunga got his foot to, with Rogers having his initial shot blocked before his follow up flew over the bar. Eynesbury went close to opening the scoring when Mienambolo used to strength to win the ball inside the Cooks penalty area and the ball fell to former AFC Rushden & Diamonds U23 player Dylan Surace and he tried to lift the ball over Meadows, but the Cooks keeper did really well to get his fingertips to the ball and turn it onto the top of the bar.

After fifteen minutes of mainly defensive work, the Cooks had their first shot of the game when Sonny Knights intercepted a crossfield pass deep inside enemy territory before hitting a shot that swerved the wrong side of the near post. The Cooks were caught napping by a long throw in that sent Surace racing clear, but he seemed to be in two minds as he got into the box with just the keeper to beat and no defender near him, so he ended up playing the ball across the box for Owen Dixon to run on to and he rushed his shot and fired it over the top from close range. A real let off for the Cooks who were perhaps boosted by this as Parkes played the ball into the feet of Jack Connor who took a touch before he tested Reece Lewis with a low drive, but the keeper won this first battle against the striker. The Cooks were now having at least some possession in their opponent’s half and Dom Wysocki won a corner, but Farmer’s delivery was headed away and we were soon back down the Derryk Irons stand end as Rezeszutek played Mienambolo clear through inside the box with a lovely touch, but Meadows came off his line quickly to make a great stop to keep the game scoreless.

The Cooks couldn’t hold out for much longer though as skipper Jonny Hall did well down the left flank and sent in a cross that Rogers met with a powerful volley that Meadows managed to get a glove onto but couldn’t keep out of his net. Rogers has a nasty habit of scoring against the Cooks and even featured for us once back in Craig Adams time in charge at Compton Park, but he was celebrating putting us behind this afternoon. 1-0 to Eynesbury with 31 minutes played. Dixon whipped over a great cross from the left that Rogers met with a close-range header that Meadows saved well, then Mienambolo had a great five-minute spell that saw him have three pops at goal. The first was a great chance to double the scoring, but he fired over from the left side of the box when unchallenged, but the second forced a great save out of Meadows as he let fly with a rocket of a shot from the edge of the box with Meadows diving high to his right to stop the ball screaming into the net. The final part of the trilogy was the weakest and although on target, it didn’t need Meadows to dig too deep into his book of saves to keep it out.

Rzeszutek went for goal from 25-yards out, but his effort was straight at Meadows, then the ball went into the other box as Farmer lifted a free kick up and Connor won it in the air, but his looping header dropped over the bar. Wysocki got into the box after showing his marker a clean pair of heels, but Hall came across to make a great challenge while Eynesbury threatened again after a great win in the air by O’Hara started a move that saw him get the ball back and make a strong run before drilling a shot at goal that forced another good save out of Meadows. Connor sent Knights for goal at pace, but he was denied a shooting chance by a timely tackle from Max Kimpton, then it was back to defending as O’Hara found himself unmarked inside the box but couldn’t pick out Surace with his cross. The Cooks were in debt to John Meadows for keeping them in this game as we went off for half-time as without him, we could have been three or four goals adrift at this point.


Half-time; Rovers 1 Cooks 0


No changes for either team at the break with Eynesbury management by far the happier of the two, but they still needed to keep their momentum up in their bid to retain step five status next month. The Cooks had played quite a bit of the opening few minutes inside the Rovers half, but on 51 minutes they were picking the ball out of their net again. A break down the left saw Surace play a great ball across the face of goal and the unmarked O’Hara only had to steer it over the line from close range at the back post. With a two-goal cushion and given the fact that they have so much at stake from this game, it was going to be very difficult for the Cooks to get anything from this one now, so they were going to have to raise their game if this season isn’t to end in a whimper.

Knights was caught by Dixon a couple of yards outside the box which was totally unnecessary in truth earning the first yellow card of the game and it also gave the Cooks a sight of goal, but Farmer’s free kick was a couple of yards too high and Lewis was happy to see it go over the top. Mobbs played the ball up to Knights on the edge of the box and he took it goalwards with some good use of his chest, but Kimpton defended the situation superbly, but the Cooks did pull one back on 58 minutes to get those nerves rattling amongst the home support. Mobbs played the ball into Wysocki and he turned to find Jamari Hart in the centre with the Cobblers youngster taking a touch before placing his shot inside the far post from the centre of the box. Hart’s second goal in senior football and very well taken too inside a crowded penalty area.

Eynesbury’s Hammer was shown the yellow card for a ‘foul’ on Mobbs as the young left-back broke down the left, think the referee got this one wrong though, but Farmer’s free kick went out beyond the far post with his last action of the game. Parkes also came off at this point with Cichosz and Fifield coming on in their place with just under half-an-hour to play. The next goal was going to prove vital in this game and it went the way of the hosts on 65 minutes. Mienambolo had found Meadows impossible to beat up until this point, but when he let fly with a powerful strike from the left, the Cooks keeper looked have got his body behind the ball only for it to cannon off him and hight into the net, The young keeper will be disappointed to have been beaten by the shot, but we would have been dead and buried had he not been on top form so far in this game.

Eynesbury made their first change before the restart as Hammer made way for Hickling but it was the Cooks who were next to threaten as Chijota played a great free kick into the box where Connor headed across the face of goal, but the flag was up for offside against the striker. Batty made his last two changes in the 69th minute as he brought on Kusper for his debut alongside Nkrumah with Chijota and Wysocki going in the opposite direction in a final throw of the dice. A good ball in from the left found Mienambolo in the box and hit a great first time shot that was arrowing into the top corner when Meadows dived at full stretch to make an amazing one handed save to stop the home side celebrating for a fourth time in the game, while they made another change before the corner was taken with Dimagio Robinson replacing Surace. Ilunga threw himself in front of a close-range shot following the corner, while down the other end Nkrumah won a corner down the left that Fifield swung in to the back stick where Ilunga headed over.

With both teams only naming four subs today, the final changes came on 78 minutes as Rovers made a double change with O’Hara and Rzeszutek making way for Said and Lee. Fifield hit a decent shot from just outside the box over the top, while Robinson was high and wide as he put everything into his shot from 25-yards out after making plenty of ground with his run through the centre. The game took another twist when the Cooks pulled it back to 3-2 on 87 minutes. A nice cross from Hart just evaded the heads of both Connor and Knights behind him, but when Mobbs returned the ball into the danger area, Cichosz coolly steered the ball into the far top corner from the centre of the box. Paddy’s first goal of his second spell at the club and one he deserves after going close several times from his midfield role. The Cooks were now hungry to get something out of this game and with four extra minutes added, it was certainly within their grasp now. Mobbs sent over a great cross that Connor just failed to get his head on and even though Kuspert was behind him, the ball had already gone out when he succeeded. Billy Roberts was booked by Mark Simmons two minutes into stoppage time, with an accumulation of discretions rather than the individual offence causing the ref to reach into his pocket. Meadows went up for a free kick, but it was Ilunga whose header was blocked from Fifield’s delivery and when Nkrumah put it back into the mixer, Eynesbury managed to clear their lines. Nkrumah sent over another cross that Cichosz tried to get to inside the 6-yard box, but great defending from Hickling saw him get their first and when Fifield sent the resulting corner to the far post, Leon headed it back across the goal and Connor saw his shot blocked. Meadows had spent more of stoppage time up in the home box trying to get onto a set piece, but it was Connor who headed wide from another Fifield free kick and time ran out on the Cooks.

Three vital points for Eynesbury as the dynamics at the bottom changed once again. Desborough won 3-1 at Histon to leapfrog Nirvana who crashed 4-1 at Rugby Borough while Godmanchester’s game was called off. Nirvana and Goddy both have games in hand, but face three games in a week which won’t be easy for them as time runs out on the season. Good luck to Eynesbury in their local derby with St Neots on Monday and for their last couple of games, always enjoy my visits there and the hospitality is always great.

As for the Cooks, it is now three straight defeats and seven without a win as our season peters out in disappointing style and with the club still in limbo as to whether this group will still be involved next season, it is difficult to see them getting much from their last three games as their thoughts turn to their footballing futures. Today we were outfought and second to pretty much everything in the first half but got ourselves going after the break before we let in the third goal. The intensity of the final ten minutes was what we would like to see more often and we almost snatched something from the game, but really that would have been just a little tough on Eynesbury in truth. Man-of-the-match today goes to John Meadows who made some great saves today and it would have been true Roy of the Rovers stuff had he done a Jimmy Glass at the death, but things like that always seem to happen to somebody else, don’t they.

Next up is our final home game of the season when we host Newport Pagnell Town on Easter Monday with a 3pm kick off with what is sure to be another tough game for the boys.


Rovers; 1. Reece Lewis 2. Dan Hammer (sub 16, Ben Hickling 65) 3. Owen Dixon 4. Jonny Hall © 5. Billy Roberts 6. Max Kimpton 7. Marcel Rzeszutek (sub12. Jamal Said 78)  8. Adrian O’Hara (sub 15. Ollie Lee 76) 9. Fraelias Menambolo 10. Declan Rogers 11.Dylan Surace (sub 17. Dimagio Robinson 73).

Cooks; 1. John Meadows 2. Alex Parkes (sub 12. Paddy Cichosz 61) 3. Keiron Mobbs 4. Takula Chijota (sub 16. Jack Kuspert 69) 5. Brad Ilunga © 6. Dalton Leon 7. Dom Wysocki (sub 14. Dex Nkrumah 78) 8. Callum Farmer (sub 15. Kai Fifield 61) 9. Jack Connor 10. Sonny Knights 11. Jamari Hart

Referee; Mark Simmons Assts; Stewart Glendenning & Arek Piotrowski




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