Danny Emmington’s free-kick proved to be difference as the Cooks go down in March.
Saturday 7th October 2023
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
MARCH TOWN UNITED (1) 1 COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0
The Cooks faced their longest journey for a league game this season and with the weather forecast showing sunshine all the way in the Fens, I dragged myself off my sickbed for a late fitness test. The first test was for Covid (wife’s advice) which was passed and after dosing myself up with Lemsip I decided I was good to go (wife’s advice totally ignored). On the playing front Scott Carlin was without injured duo Josh Jones and Bailey Weatherly and they were joined by Sonny Knights who had been hurt at work on Friday and despite travelling, he unfortunately failed his fitness test before the game. Skipper Harley Mallard was away this week, so Dalton Leon partnered Ben Dimond in the centre of the defence, while Earl Atat returned on the right allowing Kieron Mobbs to move back over to the left side of midfield to play in front of Damien Osoimoejiokhian. Alex Parkes started for the first time since his injury and took the captain’s armband (from its recent custodian in keeper Adam North) with Cal Farmer making up the midfield three. Jamie Hall was recalled up top alongside Dylan Wilson with Charlie Palmer in the hole behind them. Luke Bullement dropped down to the bench after making his debut last week where he was joined by debutant Shama Bako, Stan Channell, Jack Connor and Dylan Carlin. Hares joint managers Ash Taylor and Seb Hayes made three changes to their starting line up from the defeat at Racing Club Warwick last time out with Danny Emmington, Josh Burrows and one-time Cogenhoe player Ben Seymour-Shove all being recalled, while the much travelled Declan Rogers, who also made a single appearance for the Cooks, also started the game.
The weather wasn’t quite as nice as the forecast had led us to believe as patchy cloud gave the afternoon a muggy feeling, but it is October so we really shouldn’t grumble too much I guess. The first Cooks chance to get forward on the excellent pitch saw Atat break into the box on the right only for Adam Brumby to track him well and block his cross, while the first real chance of the game came down the GEC Social Club end when Matty Foy found himself in space just inside the box, only to slip as tried to shoot sending the ball spinning up into the air and into the safety of North’s hands. A nice move involving Rogers and Seymour-Shove create a chance for Vitor Vaz inside the box just to the left, but Leon came across and denied him at the near post at the expense of the game’s first corner. Pearson found Atat to his right and he tried to pick out Hall inside the box, but Craig Gillies read it well and got to the ball first, but it would be home side putting on a little bit of pressure next. Leon was penalised for a foul just outside the box on the right and Rogers sent over a dangerous low ball that Seymour-Shove just failed to get a touch on at the near post, then Seymour-Shove was played clear inside the area on the left and hit a rocket of a shot that hit the side-netting, but he would have done well to squeeze it past North who had his near post covered well.
Mobbs won the ball and Parkes switched sides to find Atat on the right flank and he played a low ball into the box looking to pick out Wilson’s run, but he put a little too much on it and it ran through to keeper Jonah Gill before the Cooks striker could get a touch. Farmer swung in a free-kick from wide on the left that was initially headed away, but Parkes was on hand to hit a fierce first-time shot that failed to pierce the amber defensive armour inside the box. A long throw by Emmington flicked off the head of Vaz at the near post before North claimed it, then a poor clearance by the home defence saw Atat attack the ball only to be bundled over by Vaz just before he could make it into the penalty area. Farmer sent the free-kick into the box and it found its way to Leon whose shot was blocked and Dan Bucciero hacked it away for a Cooks throw-in. Mobbs whipped a ball into the box that Gill caught cleanly and then a fortuitous break saw Seymour-Shove race into the box before hitting a cross-shot that went just over bar height right across the danger area.
Wilson looked for Hall inside the box, but Emmington got their first slicing his clearance into the air and when Hall and Vaz challenged, they banged heads forcing referee Andy Hitchcox to call a temporary halt to proceedings. Thankfully it could have been a lot worse and both players were able to carry on, albeit with a sore head for a little while I would have thought. Atat and Parkes worked a throw-in situation well down by the right-hand corner flag and the latter sent in a dangerous cross that Hall nearly got his head to in front of the keeper, then we went quickly down the other end where Emmington sent in a low ball from the right that North got down to take comfortably. Vaz flattened Parkes and Farmer took the free-kick quickly allowing Atat to send in what should really have been a telling cross, but not for the first time this season we failed to attack it and the opportunity went begging. Good defending by Dimond stopped Seymour-Shove getting a cross in, but from the move following the corner, Atat pulled down Foy a yard outside the box in a central position giving the Hares a free-kick in a very dangerous position. I would have put money on Rogers taking this one, but Emmington stepped up and hit it low just wide of the outside of the wall and it had gone past North before he could react. 1-0 to the home side on 39 minutes from a very much avoidable situation if truth be told. There was only one more piece of action worth noting in the last six minutes of the half as North picked out Atat from a free-kick and the full back tried to send over a cross that was cut out by Vaz and the home side had the advantage at the break. Piers Bodily was showing some concern over Atat who had hurt his arm late in the half as the players went off for their half-time discussions with the Cooks man looking in some discomfort.
Half-time; Hares 1 Cooks 0
Atat was able to continue along with the other 21 starters and Seymour-Shove sent over a dangerous cross from the right that Mobbs dealt with well just beyond the far post and then the Hares were to win a couple of early corners, creating a chance with the second when an unmarked Gillies got his header all-wrong just beyond the back stick as he steered it well off target. Despite giving it his best shot. Atat was forced off on 53 minutes with Bullement taking over, but it was the home side who were enjoying the better of the second half as Josh Burrows and Vaz worked the edge of the penalty area before the latter’s shot was blocked by Mobbs. Seymour-Shove was penalised for a hand ball on halfway and was promptly shown the yellow card for stopping a quick free-kick being taken in the 55th minute. A nice move from the Cooks down the left allowed Mobbs to send over a cross that found Wilson in the centre, but he couldn’t get a clean contact with his first effort and his follow up deflected wide off a defender’s leg. Osoimoejiokhian won the ball just inside his own half and found Hall who flicked it on for Wilson, but he was unable to reach the ball and when Bullement picked up the pieces on the right, his cross was held by Gill.
Carlin made his first unforced change on 61 minutes as Bako came on to make his Cooks debut in place of Pearson. Seymour-Shove ran into the box only to be held up by Osoimoejiokhian who stood his ground well and deflected the ensuing shot into the side-netting just before the Hares first change of the game saw Burrows replaced by Jack Saunders in the 63rd minute. Saunders was straight into the action as he played Seymour-Shove clear, but his clinical finish counted for nought as the assistant referee’s flag was up for offside, Connor came on for Hall after 67 minutes and then Foy could well have seen red for his late challenge on the halfway line, but Mr Hitchcox deemed yellow to be sufficient. It was still to be his last action of the game though as his manager(s) took him off to be replaced by Tai Williams on 74 minutes. Vaz headed a corner too close to North while Mobbs sent Wilson down the left, but his cross only found the side-netting.
Connor played a nice ball through for strike partner Wilson who raced into the box before placing his low shot beyond the reach of the keeper, but it went agonisingly just wide of the far post, then Bako lifted a ball over the top with Connor the target, but Gill was off his line quickly to claim it. Parkes looked for Wilson with a ball over the top, but it was too far ahead of him to get to, with the Cooks skipper then making way for Channell with eight minutes left to the ninety. Bullement sent in a couple of crosses from the right with the first one deflecting wide for a corner, but his next effort so nearly drew us level as the ball looped over the keeper and hit the far post with Wilson desperately trying to get the touch to take it over the line. Ironically if he hadn’t shown that striker’s instinct to get to the ball, he probably would have had a tap in when it came back into play off the woodwork. Rogers came off on 86 minutes giving Steff Cavozzi a late cameo, but it was the Cooks who were pushing for a late equaliser now. Wilson ran on to a ball inside the box and from where I stood it looked like he had been pulled back by the defender, but play was waved on and no penalty given, while Bako held the ball up nicely before laying it into the path of Channell, but his drilled cross was taken by the safe hands of Gill. A nice ball up to Wilson saw him get his body in front of his marker and lift the ball over the keeper’s head from just outside the box, but the ball dropped just to late and skimmed the top of the net as it went behind for a goal-kick. The final chance of the game fell to the ever-lively Seymour-Shove as he struck a powerful shot from deep in the box just to the right that North saved at his near post, but this was to be the Cooks third straight defeat as we slipped down to tenth place in the table.
Having missed last season’s trip to March meant I had been really looking forward to my first trip there for well over 20 years and to once again see their now 101-year-old stand and I have to say they have a great bunch of people running the club who afforded a very warm welcome. I wish them all the best for the rest of the season, and we will see you at our place next spring.
Today’s game certainly wasn’t a classic and there were times when I wished I’d listened to Jan and stayed in bed, but the chicken burger was very nice and helped to get me through. The Cooks could easily have forced a draw with the chances they created in the second half and in truth there wasn’t too much between the teams overall today, but goals win games and they got one to our zero and thus took all three points. My man-of-the-match today goes to Ben Dimond who was solid throughout.
The games come thick and fast and they don’t get any easier either as we travel to St Neots Town on Tuesday night with our hosts sitting in second spot following the draw with Yaxley today. March now sit between those two in third place following today’s results.
I’m off to bed now with a hot Lemsip as I hope to shake this bug off before Tuesday night, wish me luck.
March; 1. Jonah Gill 2. Dan Bucchiero 3. Adam Brumby 4. Craig Gillies © 5. Danny Emmington 6. Sam Green 7. Josh Burrows (sub 12. Jack Saunders 63) 8. Vitor Vaz 9. Matty Foy (sub 14. Tai Williams 74) 10. Declan Rogers (sub 15. Steff Cavozzi 86) 11. Ben Seymour-Shove. Subs not used; 16. Harry Edwards & 17. Jermaine Watson.
Cooks; 1. Adam North 2. Earl Atat (sub 12. Luke Bullement 53) 3. Damien Osoimoejiokhian 4.Alex Parkes © (sub 15. Stan Channell 82) 5. Ben Diamond 6. Dalton Leon 7. Kieron Mobbs 8. Callum Farmer 9. Jamie Hall (sub 16. Jack Connor 67) 10, Charlie Pearson (sub 17. Shama Bako 61) 11. Dylan Wilson. Sub not used; 14. Dylan Carlin.
Referee; Andrew Hitchcox
Assts; Paul Gale & George Sewell
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