Good battling performance from a patched up Reserve team, but Harborough’s class shone through.
Saturday 26th March 2022
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-RESERVE DIVISION
COGENHOE UNITED Reserves (0) 1 HARBOROUGH TOWN Reserves (2) 4
Arnold 6, 80
Walpole (og) 59
This was yet another selection headache for Gary Fletcher as we hosted the only team with any chance of stopping Bugbrooke winning the title on a sunny, yet inevitably somewhat chilly afternoon at Compton Park. On Wednesday night we didn’t even have a keeper available for this game, but the late signing of David Barclay solved that problem, but we still only had twelve players available for the game despite the first team not playing. Matters weren’t helped either with none of the Earls Barton lads being available as their current team had a cup game against Wollaston Victoria, although their season came to an end with a 5-1 defeat.
Despite playing into the wind, the Cooks had the better of the opening minutes attack-wise with Nick Fleming playing through some good balls and Ben Mason, the impressive looking Joe Morris and Kelvin Gyamfi all battling hard to make something happen without creating anything clear cut, but it was the visitors who went ahead with the first chance of the game on 6 minutes. In truth it was a bit of a gimme as we lost possession just outside our area with Barclay well off his line and Will Arnold fired a well-struck dipping effort over the reach of the stranded keeper and high into the net. Arnold was foiled by a good save from Barclay soon afterwards as the Harborough man cut in from the left and sent another dipping effort on target, but this time the keeper was able to get his fingers to the ball and tip it over the bar and then Jordie Burke headed wide from the subsequent corner.
An Arnold corner on the left was played back to him by Callum Watts and this time he sent over a great delivery that saw Bees leading scorer Elliot Granger jump high with Barclay and get his head to the ball, but his luck was out this time as it smacked against the bar. Watts was well off target with a shot on the turn from the edge of the box, whilst what Cogenhoe didn’t need was an early injury, but that’s what happened as Ben Short was forced off and was replaced by Matt Fletcher with just 37 minutes played.
A good win in the centre of the park by Granger saw him then put Alex Morris clear through, but his shot flew well over the bar, then a minute later the same player found himself running free into the box with Granger in the centre, but he let fly himself and shanked the ball well wide of the near post. Morris’s moment did come on the stroke of half-time though as Granger won an aerial battle to flick the ball on and this time the Bees no.10 calmly placed the ball past Barclay from a couple of yards inside the box to send his side into the break with a two-goal cushion.
The first chance of the second half came when Morris did well on the right and rolled the ball across the box looking for an unmarked Watts, but he couldn’t get the vital touch that would have meant another goal for the visitors as they attacked the village end. This could now also be known as the smoky end as black smoke billowed upwards and darkened the sky as you looked towards Wellingborough. Arnold shot from the edge of the box, but a heavy deflection took the pace off it as it ran safely through to Barclay, then a nice interchange between Morris and Granger saw the latter force a save at the near post. A minute before the hour the visitors extended their lead when a ball over the top saw Granger leap to get his head to the ball in front of the keeper and although Jake Walpole tried to get back and clear, he could only smash the ball into the roof of his own net whilst at full stretch.
Arnold saw a chip from the edge of the box go over the bar as the fire behind the goal grew bigger and bigger as bits of ash now rained down onto the pitch on the wind and emergency service sirens rang around the area. (Later found out it had been a farm barn earlier in the afternoon). Barclay came off his line to beat Granger to Jack Clipston’s bouncing through ball, whilst down the other end Morris went on a dangerous run that saw him cut inside, but his low cross was too close to Sam Rushby who claimed it at the near post.
Harborough gave away an unnecessary corner that Lorenco Soulillari swung in. The ball came back to him and this time he sent in a great cross that Gyamfi rose to win with his head, but although he beat the keeper, his effort hit the post and unfortunately Soulollari smashed the rebound well over the top. Good battling from Gyamfi and Mason inside the box saw the ball bounce out of play off the latter’s shins as a defender got a foot to the ball, but on 80 minutes it was the visitors who were celebrating once more as Arnold skipped by a couple of challenges to get into the box before steering the ball into the corner from ten yards out.
Arnold found Morris in the box with a good ball, but Walpole defended it well, then Watts volleyed over from close range when unmarked at the far post maybe three yards out. He went for power when he only needed to steer it into the empty net. Hopefully we have found the ball as it flew out of the ground in the direction of the fire that the fire brigade had now got under control. The last action of the game fell down the car park end as the Cooks pulled a goal back with two minutes remaining. A lovely corner from Soulollari picked out James McGrath in the centre and he buried his header past Rushby to make the final score 1-4.
Considering we only had twelve players and lost one to injury before the break, plus the fact this Harborough squad would probably hold their own on the Premier Division, this was a decent performance from the Cooks who gave it their all on the day. Apologies for my constant coughing today (I did test before I came out and got a negative) and its back to bed for me now. Thanks to first team gaffer Daz for running the line today (well for most of it before he pulled up injured anyway).
We have two games this midweek with the First team brushing off those cobwebs to host Bugbrooke on Tuesday night, then it’s over to the U18s on Thursday as they entertain Kempston as they look to boost their chances of finishing second behind the unstoppable Badgers.
Cooks; 1. David Barclay 2. Lorenco Soulollari 3. Ben Short (sub 12. Matt Fletcher 37) 4. James McGrath 5. Nat Allam 6. Jake Walpole © 7. Kelvin Gyamfi 8. Nick Fleming 9. Sebastian-Patrick Meden 10. Ben Mason 11. Joe Morris.
Bees; 1. Sam Rushby 2. Sam McAllister (sub 12. Aaron Wilson) 3. Logan Kilgallon (sub 14. Ciaran Hill) 4. Jay Holland (sub 15. Will Blackburn) 5. Jordie Burke © 6. Aiden Smith 7. Jack Clipston 18. Will Arnold 9. Elliot Granger (sub 17. Ross Barnett) 10. Alex Morris 11. Terry Falcini (sub 16. Callum Watts).
Referee; Wayne Chalmers.