The Reserves were struggling for players so a game against the leaders Harborough Town wasn’t exactly what the doctor ordered and despite their best efforts, The Bees ran out worthy winners.
Tuesday 4th April 2023
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – RESERVE DIVISION
COGENHOE UNITED RESERVES (0) 0 HARBOROUGH TOWN RESERVES (1) 3
With Ian Adcock and Lee Saving in Germany, Sam Harris and Lee Felgate picked the team with Scott Carlin and Ryan Farmer looking after the dug-out duties today on a chilly early spring evening at Compton Park.
The Bees, having already won an early corner, had the first promising attack when skipper Aiden Smith played a good ball up to leading scorer Elliot Grainger, but he couldn’t get past Dan Talbot who robbed him on the edge of the box with a very good challenge. The Cooks began to grow into the game and play had evened up by the 10th minute and Ant Brown had their first shot at goal from just outside the box with his effort striking a defender’s arm, but this would have been very harsh on the Bees if the ref had penalised them for handball. Ciaran Wells had to come off his line quickly after Grainger had dinked the ball over the top whilst from his clearance Brown pressured the visiting defence into conceding a corner.
The Cooks won a free-kick a foot outside the box in a central position and Lee Felgate went for goal, but his effort was just over the bar with keeper Sam Rushby diving in vain at full stretch, then a major turning point came on 23 minutes down the clubhouse end as a Harborough attacker slipped and fell as he tried to go past Talbot just inside the box. The referee seemed to give a free-kick just outside, then pointed to the spot before eventually awarding a free-kick just outside the area on the left. There was no foul there, but somehow we found ourselves defender a dangerous set piece that Alfie Harris sent over to the far post where Dom Ledgeway rose to head the ball back across the box leaving Calum Plowright with the simple task of nodding the ball home from about a yard out while totally unmarked.
Plowright almost doubled the lead inside 60 seconds, but his shot from the right side of the box went just wide of the far post, then Grainger crossed the ball in for the left, but Kai Magee couldn’t get his foot around it and sliced the ball wide, but Harborough had visibly stepped things up now following their goal. A good touch from Brown saw him check back and switch play with a great pass to Mirzan Noka on the right wing, but although he made some ground, his ball inside didn’t find a blue shirt. Connor Gibbins ran on to a ball over the top from Felgate, but great defending by Smith denied him a shooting chance just before the lively Terry Falcini flashed a shot just wide of the far post after doing well inside the box on the left. Brown was forced off with an injury on 40 minutes as the Cooks were forced to use their only sub available in the shape of the far-from-fit Dan Webb, who would now have to play 50 minutes of the game. A nice ball into the box by Plowright was touched back by Grainger to Magee on the edge of the area and he connected well with his first time effort, but the ball flew just over the top. Sam Harris did well to block a Plowright shot and once Wells had punched away the ensuing corner, the referee blew his whistle for the half-time.
The Cooks, just trailing to that one controversial goal, were still very much in this game as they headed into the break, but they knew they would face a tough second-half against the league leaders who had only shown glimpses of what they are capable of so far.
Half-time; Cooks 0 Bees 1
A superb cross from the right from Alfie Harris picked out his man running in at the far post, but Wells took the headed effort cleanly and shortly afterwards Smith volleyed wide beyond the far post following a corner on the right. They only had to wait until the 53rd minute to double their advantage though with a decent move. Plowright played the ball into Grainger deep inside the box to the right of the goal and he in turn played it into the feet of Dom Ledgeway in the centre and the midfielder struck a first time shot that gave Wells no chance as it flew into the back of the net.
Wells made a good save to deny Grainger shortly after the second goal and Ledgeway headed wide from behind the far post following a teasing cross from the right by Falcini. In a rare foray forward that reached the Harborough penalty area, Sam Giddens did well on the left before playing it inside to Gibbins who in turn fed Noka to the right of the centre. The youngster had three players around him as he battled to make space for a shot and when he eventually achieved that, Jay Holland blocked it and the Bees cleared their lines safely.
A well struck shot from Magee on the edge of the box had to be tipped over by Wells before we saw the only yellow card of the game on 84 minutes when Jack Clipston grabbed the shirt of Noka and pulled him back in the centre of the field. The Bees had been giving all their subs a run out (accept veteran Tom Mills who is Tony Sansome’s assistant these days) and made full use of the rolling subs rule too as they ran down the clock, but they made the game extra safe on 88 minutes when Aiden O’Neill swept the ball home in the centre after a great run by fellow sub Alex Kemp. Webb did well on the right before playing a low ball in that Rushby gathered at the base of his near post with the last action of the game.
The result was a fair reflection of the game in the end as Harborough extended their lead at the top, but the Cooks were far from humiliated on the night. Next up is another home game on Saturday when G.N.G Reserves pay us a visit.
Cooks; 1. Ciaran Wells 2. Dylan Carlin 3. Dan Talbot 4. Sam Harris 5. James Hine 6. Lee Felgate © 7. Mirzan Noka 8. Tom North 10 Ant Brown (sub 14. Dan Webb 40) 11. Sam Giddens 17. Connor Gibbons. Sub not used; Joe Pratt-McDonald.
Harborough; 1. Sam Rushby 2. Logan Kilgallon 3. Alfie Harris 4. Jack Clipston 5. Jay Holland 6. Aiden Smith © 7. Dom Ledgeway 8. Callum Plowright 9. Elliot Grainger 10. Terry Falcini 11. Kai Magee. Susb used; 12. Ayrton Patel 15. Aiden O’Neill 17. Alex Kemp. Sub not used; 14. Tom Mills.
Yellow card; Clipston (84) Foul
Referee; Robert Cameron