It really was one of those nights for the Cooks as a stoppage time goal from Lockley gave Rugby Borough the points after Cogenhoe had dominated a large portion of the game.
Wednesday 27th September 2023
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
RUGBY BOROUGH (0) 1 COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0
The Cooks made their first trip to Kilsby Lane on Wednesday night to face a Rugby Borough team struggling for form a little at the moment, while confidence was high in the Cooks camp following the big Vase win on Saturday. Scott Carlin was forced into a couple of changes to his line up though as skipper Harley Mallard had fallen foul to the latest strain of Covid and Earl Atat fell foul to our wonderful railway system and was stuck in London. In came left back Damien Osoimoejiokhian and midfielder Charlie Pearson, but a reshuffle was also required with Dalton Leon moving to centre-back and Kieron Mobbs at right-back. Adam North took the captain’s armband in Harley’s absence.
The weather was a major talking point before and during the game as a strong wind blew straight down the pitch from the Gymnastics Centre end and it would be the Cooks who had it at their backs for the first-half and this was accompanied by horizontal rain as the game got underway as Storm Agnes did its best to make things difficult for everyone present. Rugby actually had the first shot of the game, an effort from outside the box that drifted wide, but the Cooks were soon firing as Osoimoejiokhian played a good ball into the box from halfway on the left and Sonny Knights met it with a glancing header 12-yards out that Jake Bull caught at head height. Osoimoejiokhian played the ball up to Dylan Wilson who got past Ash Piper with a turn of speed only to be pulled back by the defender and with everyone expecting the ball to be played into box, Cal Farmer squared it to Osoimoejiokhian who hit it first time from 25-yards with his effort only just off target. Wilson dinked the ball inside to Jack Connor who flicked in on to Josh Jones who was taken out by Ethan Flaig which resulted in the game’s first yellow card for the Rugby centre-back. Farmer sent in the free-kick and Ben Dimond met it with his head but couldn’t beat Bull, then good strength and a turn by Wilson allowed him to hit a powerful shot from 30-yards out that Bull had to dive to his left to palm away for a corner. Farmer’s corner was headed back to him by a defender, but his second delivery was much better and Connor headed over from close range at the back post.
A great one-touch move from the Cooks lead to Jones forcing a good save out of Bull, with the keeper recovering quickly to save Connor’s effort from the rebound, then Knights went for goal from just outside the box but put it wide of the far post. Piper stretched to get his foot to an Osoimoejiokhian throw in that inadvertently sent Connor running at the goal, but his effort to square the ball across the box was dealt with by Flaig. Wilson played a ball into the area that was only half cleared and Knights was first to the rebound with Bull again pulling off a good save to deny him the opener. A good run by Justin Marsden resulted in a rare shot from Borough, but his 20-yard effort was dealt with confidently by North, then back down the other end Pearson set up Jones for a shot that flicked off a defender’s boot and looped over the keeper’s head, only to land on the top of the net. Farmer’s corner was met just beyond the back stick by Leon with his header going straight back across the 6-yard box and when Farmer drilled it back in, the ball was blocked by a defender.
Pearson had a shot deflected wide for a corner, then Wilson and Osoimoejiokhian worked the left flank before the latter played it inside to Pearson who hit it first time 20-yards out, but was again thwarted by a great save from Bull. North had to come off his line to beat Marsden to a through ball, while Connor made himself some space inside the box on the left, but couldn’t keep his shot on target. Another Farmer corner was cleverly flicked on by Dimond to pick out Connor at the far post, but he couldn’t beat the keeper from a yard out as Bull pulled off a reflex save before a slick move saw Jones play in Wilson behind the defence down the left, but his pull back was cut out inside the box. Leon forced a save out of the keeper who then denied Pearson twice before the home side eventually got the ball away from their box. Rugby skipper Gez McGahey hit a shot on target from 20-yards out that North took cleanly while another chance for Cogenhoe came from a break down the right that saw Knights shot blocked and his follow up put the wrong side of the post. Jones fired wide from 20-yards and then Osoimoejiokhian played a ball up to Wilson inside the box on the left and he hit his shot across Bull, but the keeper got his foot to the ball and when the half-time whistle blew you had to ask yourself how is this still goalless.
Half-time; Rugby Borough 0 Cooks 0
The first shot of the second half was an over ambitious 40-yard free-kick from Max Johnson that North watched fly wide of his right hand post and even when the Cooks keeper was forced into a save a couple of minutes later, the offside flag had been raised so it wouldn’t have counted anyway. Knights picked out Jones down the right and he sent the ball low into the box where Connor’s first time shot was straight at the keeper, then a lovely free-kick from Farmer was headed over from close range by Dimond at the back post. North got his body behind Johnson’s 25-yard low effort, while the Cooks went close again when Farmer’s free-kick sparked off a game of head tennis in the box before it fell to Leon on the edge of area where he hooked it on the volley only to see the ball drop onto the top of the net. Leon played a good ball up to Connor just inside the box and with the striker finding himself outnumbered he laid the ball left to Osoimoejiokhian who sent over a cross that was headed clear.
A good move started by Leon saw Pearson flick the ball to Knights who played the ball into the path of Mobbs’ run down the right and he cut inside before firing a shot the wrong side of the near post. Sam Lockley ran on to a quick break away and fired over while at full pace before the first Cooks change saw Pearson make way for Stan Channell with just over an hour gone. Farmer swung a corner into the near post where Connor couldn’t turn it home, so Farmer whipped it back in and Wilson was millimetres away from getting a touch with his head in front of Bull. Rugby went close following a corner and then North had to make a decent save to deny Lockley after we had been caught in possession just outside our own penalty area. North was in action again when he had to push over a powerful shot from Josh Cooke who had ran on to a flick and up to the edge of the area. Rugby replaced Piper with Lee Thomas, the Cooks gave the ball away cheaply on the edge of the Borough penalty area and were caught on the break as Halim raced goalwards to get inside the box before hitting a low shot that North saved and pushed the ball onto his post. More changes followed with Rugby replacing the injured Flaig with George Steele and a minute later both Connor and Jones came off giving Jamie Hall and Alex Parkes a chance with 77 minutes gone. Knights broke and played a one-two with Hall and forced a save out of Bull, but had gone too early and was caught offside just before the game’s final change saw Alex Webb come on for the last ten minutes in place of Marsden. The latter sub soon made his mark, both on the game and on the legs of Mobbs as he clattered into him to earn the game’s second yellow card in the 81st minute.
Osoimoejiokhian played the ball into Wilson’s feet on the edge of the box and he held it up before laying it off to Mobbs who sent Channell into the box, but he fired his shot wide of the near post then Hall sent Wilson into the box, but Josh Baker matched his pace and came away with the ball. A great turn and burst of speed from Wilson took him from the halfway line to the edge of the box where he went for goal, only for his shot to hit a defender’s leg and spin through to the keeper. Mobbs played a great ball to Channell who won a corner, while down the other end Lockley was desperately close to getting his foot to a low ball played across the 6-yard box by Halim. The game was already three minutes into stoppage time when a simple ball over the top of our high-line defence saw Lockley outpace Leon and Dimond to get himself clear, before expertly lifting the ball over North from the edge of the box, with the ball dropping just under the bar to give the home side the lead. There was still time for one more chance down the other end as Channell played a great low ball in from the right that Hall got a touch to at the near post, but the ball ran across the box and just evaded the touch of Wilson as he threw himself at it at the back stick. Dan Heywood blew the final whistle and everyone from Cogenhoe were left to ponder how we had lost this game, something we are probably still asking ourselves right now.
Given the conditions this was a good performance to a man from the Cooks, with Jake Bull performing heroics in goal for the home team, but we really should have scored at least a couple from the 25 shots we had in the first half and probably should have added to this during a very good performance into the wind after the break. The fact of the matter is that goals win games and Rugby managed to achieve one so took the points. My Cooks man-of-the-match goes to Damien Osoimoejiokhian who is finding his match fitness now and took his opportunity well after returning to the starting line-up, with special mentions to Adam North for some important saves in the second half and to Dylan Wilson who everything in at the other end of the pitch. Next up for the Cooks is a home game against Daventry Town on Saturday afternoon.
Rugby; 1. Jake Bull 2. Ash Piper (sub 14. Lee Thomas 73) 3. Josh Cooke 4. Josh Baker 5. Ethan Flaig (sub 18. George Steele 76) 6. Tyler Reeve 7. Justin Marsden (sub 16. Alex Webb 81) 8. Gez McGahey © 9. Sam Lockley 10. Max Johnson 11. Halim Halim. Subs not used; 14. Tom Glasscoe 19. Lewis Poutney.
Yellow cards; Flaig (11) Foul. Webb (84) Foul.
Cooks; 1. Adam North 2. Kieron Mobbs 3. Damien Osoimoejiokhian 4. Sonny Knights 5. Ben Dimond 6. Dalton Leon 7. Josh Jones (sub 12. Alex Parkes 77) 8. Callum Farmer 9. Jack Connor (sub 15. Jamie Hall 77) 10. Charlie Pearson (sub 16. Stan Channell 61). Sub not used; 14. Dylan Carlin.
Referee; Dan Heywood
Assts; Lam Yuen Fai & Andrew Ewing.