Former Cook Tom Wakley netted twice in the second half as Melton Town came from behind to sink the Cooks.
The Cooks travelled to Melton Town for their penultimate pre-season friendly and found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-2 scoreline on their 4G pitch. It was a horrible afternoon with heavy rain blowing down the pitch on the wind, but that didn’t stop the teams treating the small crowd to seven goals to keep them entertained. Incidentally, Melton included former Cobblers player Paul Anderson in their starting line-up. Ando had two spells at Sixfields, helping them win the play-offs in his first one, whilst he was also a F.A Youth Cup winner with Liverpool before going on to make well over 300 appearances in the football league.
Kicking into the wind in the first half, the Cooks made a decent start with Kieron Mobbs intercepting the ball and sending over a cross looking for the head of Jack Connor, but keeper Billy Harrison got his hands to it and despite colliding with his teammate, before recovering to gather the ball. With 12 minutes gone, the Cooks took the lead when persistence from Bailey Weatherly on the left saw him rob his man and get inside the box before firing a superb shot across the keeper and into the far top corner. Moments later we looked dangerous again as the home defence was caught out as Connor ran on to a ball over the top with the keeper well outside his box, but he couldn’t get the ball fully under control and laid it back to Dylan Wilson’s whose first-time attempt to place the ball over the retreating keeper from fully 35-yards out wasn’t hit quite firm enough. Although you wouldn’t exactly say that the Cooks were running the game, they hadn’t been threatened too much until a lapse at the back saw Greg Mills cut in from the left and fire a shot across Adam North, forcing the returning keeper to dive and make a good save, but no defender had backed him up and Tyrease Korben Palmer was left with a simple tap-in on 27 minutes. The same player turned on the edge of box to create space to fire home his second of the game on 29 minutes as the game turned on its head inside three minutes of action. Alex Parkes fired home from the centre of the box, but used his hand to control the ball meaning it was ruled out, then with two minutes remaining in the first half, left-back Kalis Gore ran right through the midfield and with the defence backing off, reached the box before firing a low shot past the keeper that went in off the post.
Both teams made the standard changes at the break with Biff looking at another attacking trialist, whilst up front at the other end we saw Tom Wakley enter the field. Tom was of course a very popular figure at Compton Park two seasons ago where he topped the scoring charts with 20 goals. We saw two yellow cards within three minutes of the restart as Mills pulled back Cooks sub Manny Mpambi who then grabbed the Melton’s player shirt as they wrestled each other to the ground. The Cooks pulled a goal back on 64 minutes when Parkes curled in a high corner on the wind and the sub keeper failed to get his fingers to the ball in the centre, leaving Ben Dimond to touch the ball home at the back post. Thoughts of a comeback took a blow just 60-seconds later when Wakley fired home a powerful shot on the turn from 15-yards out. Harley Mallard headed a few inches over from a dangerous Cal Farmer free-kick, then Farmer dinked a ball over the top to send Stan Channell through with a defender clipping his heels to earn a yellow card. He was the last man and would probably have walked in this hadn’t been a friendly. Some lovely passing from the Cooks resulted in Charlie Pearson turning to hit a low shot from the edge of the box to force a save out of the keeper, but down the other end Wakley was allowed to cut inside from the left before beating Ciaran Wells at his near post with a low drive for his second against his old employers. Farmer hit a decent effort from outside the box that forced a good save, but this proved to be the final action of the game, leaving Biff with just Tuesday’s nights game with AFC Rushden & Diamonds to go before the big kick-off next Saturday.
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