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Chenecks come out on top on an awful night in Northampton.

Tuesday 11th April 2023





Caton 8

Tite 24, 37

Shakespeare 62 (pen)


Gibbins 28


Att; 14


Ian Adcock was still struggling for players as the Reserves made the short trip to Billing Road, although he was able to welcome back Morgan Harrison and call on Tom North for the trip. Sam Harris wasn’t expected to feature, but an early return from Peppa Pig world meant he made the starting line-up. Whether he had taken his children with him is still open to speculation! Chenecks had no fewer than nine ex-Cooks players in the squad of sixteen, five of them in the starting eleven. It was a foul night with gusty winds, not far off gale-force at times, sweeping the increasingly heavy and relentless rain across the pitch for all but the last ten minutes of the game.

James Hines was caught out by an unfortunate bounce that allowed Jonny Shakespeare to break clear and into the box on the left, but he sliced his cross/shot over the bar and as the home side had the better of the opening stages, they hit a free-kick straight into the wall from 19-yards out to the right of centre. Ciaran Wells dealt well with a Shakespeare effort from fully 30-yards out that bounced just in front of him on the wet surface as it skidded through and the Cooks keeper pushed it away for a corner, but when it was played in, both Ryan Coxhill and Shakespeare had shots blocked before Dylan Kelly did really well to turn away from his marker just to the right and square the ball for Tom Caton to side-foot home from close range. 1-0 to the home side with just eight minutes played.

Wells was called into action again as he parried and dived on a 20-yard effort by Ross Falconer, then Hine was penalised for hand-ball just outside the box and Jacob Cox went over the wall with the free-kick, but couldn’t get the ball to come down soon enough to get it on target. Connor Gibbins chipped a nice ball over the top, but keeper Callum Patching came out his area to get the next contact and although he only found Kieron Mobbs 30-yards from goal, the young Cooks player couldn’t get the ball under control quick enough to return it goalwards with the keeper well off his line. The home side doubled their advantage on 24 minutes when Jon Tite was played through on the left channel and he was unchallenged as he took the ball into the box and fired a shot across Wells and inside the far post, although the Cooks keeper will probably be a little disappointed that he wasn’t able to get his hand to the shot.

Sam Giddens pulled his shot wide from the edge of the box with the Cooks first effort at goal after good work down the left by North, then back down the clubhouse end with a Chenecks corner that saw Tite challenge Wells at the back stick with Caton pouncing on the loose ball with a well-struck shot that Wells saved. The Cooks were staring to get more of the attacking play as they settled into the conditions and they pulled a goal back on 28 minutes when North sent the ball in from the left to find Gibbins just inside the box on the right and he hit a great first-time effort that flew high into the net. Chenecks responded well to conceding and Tite made a powerful run into the box on the left, but opted to shoot from a very tight angle and only managed to fire the ball the wrong side of the near post with options inside him. Some great play from Mobbs almost played in Gibbins, but on 37 minutes the home side extended their lead. A cross-field pass just eluded the reach of Talbot who had committed himself and Tite nipped n behind him before cutting back on the corner of the 6-yard box and placing his shot low to beat Wells at his near post. Former Cooks striker Shakespeare had the last chance of the half, but he sliced his effort well wide from just inside the box, but it was his team who had the lead as the players took refuge from the weather for the half-time break.


Half-time; Chenecks 3 Cooks 1


The Cooks needed a good start to the second-half if they were to get themselves back into this game and they at least started on the front foot with Mobbs seeing his low ball across the 18-yard box go just past two teammates, then a great ball from North found Giddens inside the box on the right, but Caton threw himself in front of his shot to block. Reece Sweeney had only been on the pitch for two minutes when he became the first player of the evening to be shown the yellow card for a foul on Luke Andrews, but the game had become very scrappy and was struggling to live up to the entertainment  factor we had witness over the first forty-five minutes.

Wells turned a Cox shot from the left edge of the box around his post, then the Cooks keeper got his foot to the ensuing corner before again saving with his boot as Cox fired in a low shot before the Cooks could get the ball away from the penalty area. Adcock brought on the only sub he wanted to use tonight on 61 minutes with Giddens getting a chance to get out of the rain as Dan Webb came off the bench, but Chenecks added a fourth a minute later to all but kill the game off. Tite made a good run into the box and collided with a defender with referee Jake Pemberton pointing to the spot. I will remain as ever impartial and describe the penalty decision as ‘soft’ and Shakespeare stepped up with his staggered run up to tuck the ball away. However, his stutter caught his teammates out too and some had encroached the box before he struck it and the referee told him to take it again. He did just that and with a similar action, he stroked the ball into Wells bottom right-hand corner and Chenecks led 4-1 with 62 minutes on the clock.

As the unrelenting rain got even harder, Mobbs won a corner that North swung over and Andrews met with his head just inside the 6-yard box, but he couldn’t get over it enough and it went over the bar. Webb whipped in a head-high cross from the left that went right across the box, then a good ball from Dengel looked to have put Tite through, but Harrison got back to make a challenge. Mobbs and Webb combined with the latter going down under the challenge of Caton with a big shout going up for a penalty, but it fell on deaf ears. Could very easily have been given though. Harris went into the book for a foul on 73 minutes, while a great effort on the turn from the right corner of the box by Tite was tipped over the bar by Wells. Chenecks had a succession of corners, but the Cooks defended resiliently to keep the ball away from their net.

A great run down the left by Webb saw him place his shot beyond the reach of Patching only for the ball to roll just wide of the far post. Another yellow card, I think to Felgate after a foul against him followed, then Shakespeare laid Lee Kew’s pass wide to Dengel with a great touch and when the striker got the ball back at his feet on the edge of the box, he hit a powerful strike that flew just over the bar. Giddens came back on for the last few minutes with Harris coming off and the last talking point was an awful offside decision against Webb who was at least five yards on when the ball was played.

Tough game for the Cooks and Chenecks were well on top for the opening 20-minutes, but once the Cooks had acclimatised themselves to the horrendous weather conditions, the rest of the game was fairly even and although the score was a bit harsh on the Cooks, it can’t be denied that Chenecks thoroughly deserved to take all three points from the game.

The Reserves are back in action on Saturday afternoon when they head to Kempston Rovers, looking to complete a league double after thrashing them 6-1 earlier in the season.


Chenecks; 1. Callum Patching 2. Lee Kew 3. Ross Falconer (sub 14. Liam Stone 74) 4. Ryan Coxhill (sub 17. Sam Dengel 62) 5. Tom Caton © 6. Roy Reeve 7. Jacob Cox 8. Dylan Kelly (sub 12. Reece Sweeney 52) 9. Jon Tite (sub 16. Joe Shanley 74) 10. Jonny Shakespeare 11. Harry Southgate (sub 15. Jordan Sweeney 74).

Yellow card; R. Sweeney (54) Foul.

Cooks; 1. Ciaran Wells 2. Dan Talbot 3. Morgan Harrison 4. Luke Andrews 5. James Hine 6. Lee Felgate 7. Sam Giddens (sub 11. Dan Webb 61) 8. Tom North 9. Connor Gibbins 10. Kieron Mobbs 12. Sam Harris (sub 7. Giddens (ret) 84).

Yellow cards; Harris (73) Foul. Felgate (83) Retaliation.


Referee, Jake Pemberton


Report by Paul Jackson

Photos by Finbarr Carroll

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