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Cooks youngsters edged out by a very experienced Rugby Town at Butlin Road.

Saturday 30th July 2022





Seal 30 (pen)

Marsden 64


Elmore 22 (pen)


Att; 204


The Scott Carlin era kicked-off Rugby Town with eight league debuts and four more to make theirs from the bench in the second half. The league rules now allow teams to use all five named substitutes and after the issues in getting out a full squad over the last few seasons, we were actually able to do just that. Rugby is always a difficult place to go and a quick look at the match programme highlighted the fact that they were vastly more experienced than our young squad.

The first shot of the game was an audacious effort from David Kolodynski who had spotted Regan Gaunt off his line and tried his luck from the half-way line, but he got his angles all wrong and his effort was getting further away from the target every split-second it spent in the air. The early stages were very even and Saunt had to punch clear a long throw from Luke English, then an Alex Parkes free-kick from the right touchline saw Luca Purse get his head to the ball just inside the box, but he couldn’t direct it on target.

The Cooks had put together some really nice moves that hadn’t quite come off, but an 22 minutes it went very right as Archie Elmore touched the ball off to Mitch White who ran at the defence before steering it into the path of Louie Barrett who had his legs taken from under him as he cut inside. Referee Toby Carlisle was well positioned and pointed to the penalty spot. Archie Elmore was the man trusted with the penalty and he hit it sweetly to Matt Hill’s left and although the keeper made a good effort to get his hand to it, he couldn’t stop Cogenhoe from taking the lead.

Josh Adams became the first Cooks player to be shown a yellow card when the referee came back to him after the ball had gone dead to book him for a foul as Rugby broke away, although from my view this seemed a little harsh. A little bit of a misunderstanding between the Valley keeper and a defender saw Elmore get on to the loose ball and get into the box, but he was closed down quickly so set up Parkes 20 yards out and he hit it first time on the volley, but it appeared to take a deflection off of a defender and the ball nestled comfortably in the waiting arms of Hill.

The scores were levelled on the half-hour mark when the Cooks gave away a free-kick just outside the box in a central position. With the defence expecting a shot at goal, they were caught out completely when it was dinked over the wall and skipper Paddy Cichosz bundled his man to the ground. Clear penalty and Cichosz was shown the yellow card for his crime and just for a minute it was a concern that it could have been a red one as Carlisle could have judged it as denying a goal scoring opportunity. The returning Ryan Seal stepped up and calmly slotted home the spot-kick with Saunt going the wrong way. 30 minutes played and all-square once again.

Purse became the third Cooks player to be yellow-carded in the space of seven minutes when he mistimed his tackle. English found Justin Marsden in space inside the box on the right and he turned well before drilling in a low ball in to the near post, but Kolodynski couldn’t get the touch he needed under pressure from a defender and Saunt gathered the ball. Rugby went close through skipper Loyiso Recci’s far post header from a great free-kick played in from the right as the home side exerted plenty of pressure on the Cooks back line, clearly buoyed by their goal.

White got his foot to a Hill clearance, but the power already on the ball meant it rolled straight back to the keeper, much to his relief. Adams held up play and sent a good ball through to Kodi Briggs on the overlap and he won a corner off of Recci which Parkes delivered beautifully, but Ben Gough’s powerful header went over the bar. Elliott Caine became the first Valley recipient of the yellow card which we believe was for kicking the ball away after the Cooks had been awarded a foul on the half-way line and following that the final few minutes of the half were played out without anything worthy of a mention.

Half-time; Valley 1 Cooks 1.

Rugby started the second half on the front foot, although their first effort ended up closer to the corner flag than the goal when Caine sliced badly from 25-yards out. Marsden and Seal combined well with the latter whipping in a cross from the right that landed on the roof of the net, whilst down the other end a long throw from Gough saw Brad Marshall just pipped in the air by Recci. The Valley took the lead after 64 minutes much to the delight of a majority of the 204 paying customers at Butlin Road. A long clearance seemed to be drifting out of play but for a superb piece of skill by Kolodynski. He played the ball inside where it was played on to an unmarked Justin Marsden inside the box on the right. His first touch took him inside the incoming defender before firing in a shot that went under the body of Saunt from close range.

This was the goalscorers final touch of the game as Carl Adams replaced his assistant before play resumed with Edwin Ahenkorah taking his place up front. Cicosz received his final warning after fouling Seal just outside the box. The free-kick was drilled straight at the wall and Dan Summerfield blazed the rebound high and wide. The hard-working Elmore made way for Pharell Anderson on 67 minutes and as the Cooks looked to get themselves back into the game, Adams made a great run down the left before getting past Josh Thomas and sending over a decent cross that a Rugby defender did well to cut out.

Saunt came off his line to slide out at the feet on Ahenkorah who had made a bee-line for the goal after capitalizing on a mistake at the back to find himself clear through and as the ball broke free Purse went in for a challenge and brought down his man right in front of the home fans on the terrace. They were screaming for a second yellow card, but Carlisle called over his skipper and dished out a lecture, but no further punishment. The free-kick was a very good one and English rose to meet it with his head, only for the ball to smack against the far post before being cleared to safety.

White over hit his pass a little, but Anderson gave chase forcing the keeper to come off his line. The keeper got the first touch but it hit Anderson and Hill did well to recover and dive on the ball as it went back inside the penalty area. Thomas headed wide from a long English throw, then Purse made way for Louie Martin as we sacrificed a defender for another attacker as well as taking away the risk of a mistimed challenge meaning us seeing out the final fifteen minutes with ten men.

Ahenkorah got up well to get to the ball in the air and set up English who hit a decent first time shot that Saunt held at head-height. A double sub by Carlin saw Adams and Barrett make way for Jessi Obeng and Owen Brooks in the Cooks third and fourth changes of the game, whilst Rugby were soon to bring on debutant Andrew Kear for English on the right. A good shot from Kolodynski from the edge of the box saw Saunt get down well to save low just inside his post.

A cross from Briggs was a little too deep, but Brooks chased it down and sent over a dangerous ball into the box that was headed away to safety. Alex Lock replaced Seal with three minutes remaining, then Gough was forced off injured two minutes later with Harley Mallard coming on, although the sub went up top as part of a three pronged attack. Anderson sent over a good cross that somehow evaded everyone, then down the other end Parkes defended well as Ahenkorah attacked the box. The final attack of the game saw Briggs send over a high cross that Hill caught unchallenged above his head as Rugby took the first points on offer in the 2022/23 season.


It was an encouraging performance from the young squad against a very good Rugby Town team who I have predicted to be right up there at the end of the season. Paul’s man-of-the-match today goes to Brad Marshall who was a colossal figure at the back on his first game at this level of football.



Valley; 1. Matt Hill 2. Luke English (sub 15. Andrew Kear 82) 3. Dan Summerfield 4. Josh Thomas 5. Loyiso Recci © 6. Keenan Rosser 7. Ryan Seal (sub 14. Alex Lock 87) 8. Barry Fitzharris 9. Justin Marsden (sub 16. Edwin Ahenkorah 64) 10. David Kolodynski 11. Elliott Caine. Subs unused; 12. Liam Francis 17. Hayden Seymour.

Yellow card. Caine (42) Foul.

Cooks; 1. Regan Saunt 2. Luca Purse (sub 12. Louie Martin 75) 3. Kodi Briggs 4. Alex Parkes 5. Brad Marshall 6. Ben Gough (sub 14. Harley Mallard 89) 7. Louie Barrett (sub 17. Owen Brooks 79) 8. Patryk Cichosz © 9. Archie Elmore (sub 16. Pharell Anderson 57) 10. Mitch White 11. Josh Adams (wd 79).

Yellow cards. Adams (25) Foul. Cichosz (29) Foul. Purse (31) Foul.

Referee; Toby Carlisle

Assts; Ian Mitchell & David Goodyear.


Next up is our first home game of the season when we entertain Bugbrooke St Michaels with our guests looking to bounce back from their opening day 0-4 home defeat to new-boys March Town United.

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