Missed chances prove costly as Valley take the points at Compton Park.
Tuesday 31st January 2023
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED (1) 1 RUGBY TOWN (1) 2
Cooks; Hall 43
Valley; Wilson 4, Elliott 71
Both managers made changes from Saturday with Scott Carlin bringing Ben Heath in for Ash Bodycote who is on loan from Rugby so unavailable, Alex Parkes took the place of the working Will Bates, Luca Purse replaced Kodi Briggs and Jamie Hall came in for Pharrell Anderson, the latter two dropping to the bench where they were joined by Jamie Snapes and Josh Going. Carl Adams gave starts to Luke English, Ben Whitehead and Alex Lock who had all come on as subs in their win at Lutterworth last weekend.
The Valley sat 13 points clear at the top as we went into this game and were first to reach their opponents penalty area, but Cogenhoe broke well down the right only for a Bruce Tsinosis cross to land on the roof of the net, then a Purse pass gave Jessi Obeng the opportunity to run at the defence, but Liam Francis tracked him well and was able to throw himself in the way of the shot 15-yards from goal. The game swung the way of the title favourites in the 5th minute as a wind assisted clearance was picked up by David Kolodynski on the edge of the box and he played it right to Caine Elliott who forced a save out of Heath, but Jordan Wilson nipped in to tuck away the rebound in true predator fashion for his 24th goal of the season and his 12th for Rugby.
Heath did well to punch away a Ryan Seal free-kick under pressure at the far post, then Obeng did well before Bailey Weatherly picked up play inside the box, but his cross was intercepted and cleared up the field. Louie Barrett used his pace to get into the box on the right before firing a shot well over the bar and we really should have been level after Obeng beat his man before feeding an unmarked Hall in the centre of the penalty area with just the keeper to beat, but his first touch let him down and when he did shoot, Rugby keeper Matt Hill was already on him and was able to get his body in the way. Seal had a chance inside the box to the left, but Heath will have had harder back-passes to deal with in his career, then Obeng made a good run before touching the ball off to Barrett inside the box, but he was beaten to the ball by a defender at the expense of a corner.
Despite playing into the wind, albeit a swirling one, the Cooks were well in this game and the attacks must have been fairly even as we approached the midway point of the first half. Tsinosis overran a break down the right and left us exposed as Dan Summefield sent in a cross, but luckily Wilson couldn’t control the ball in the middle, then another cross was inches ahead of Wilson’s head on the edge of the 6-yard box. Valley were having a good spell now and Kolodynski will have been disappointed with his first touch deep inside the box, but the Cooks were soon threatening again as Parkes found Obeng on the edge of the box and he knocked it down to Hall who spun and hit it on the volley only for Loyiso Recci to block and when Barrett got onto the loose ball, he couldn’t keep his shot below bar height.
Wilson had a great chance to extend Rugby’s lead, but his shot rolled tamely at Heath from the centre of the box, then Heath had to get down quickly to get a hand to a low shot hit across him from the left. English used his long throw to good effect down the left, but Francis couldn’t direct his header on target, while Hall miss-hit a shot on the edge of the box, but recovered to collect the ball on the left and whip in a dangerous cross that saw Obeng beaten in the air by one of their powerful centre backs. The Cooks drew level on 43 minutes and it would be harsh to say they didn’t deserve something after stretching the Rugby defence a number of times already. A great run down the right flank by Barrett saw him hit a firm low ball across the 6-yard box and Jamie Hall slid in at the far post to turn the ball in from a couple of inches out.
The Cooks had one more chance to take the lead before the break as Purse got up well to head on an Ansell free-kick, but Obeng had drifted offside and it remained level as we headed in for the break. One sad sight was the fact that Dan Summerfield had stayed down following a challenge in the last action of the first-half and he had to be stretchered off. Hoping this is nothing serious and he is back paying again soon.
HALF TIME; Cooks 1 Rugby 1
Summerfield was replaced by Edwin Ahenkorah before the game got back underway with Cogenhoe now attacking the village end with the benefit of the wind in their favour. Cogenhoe were soon forced to make their first change too as Weatherly had stayed down and had to be replaced by Anderson with just two minutes of the second half played. Barrett did well to get a cross in from the right that Hill got down to but couldn’t hold giving Ansell the chance to swing in a corner that Hill did well to punch clear. Another Ansell corner, this time a high one swung into the back post, was met on the volley by Obeng, but was blocked inside the 6-yard box for yet another corner, but this one sent in by Parkes came to nothing.
One or two Rugby players were looking a little frustrated at this point as Cogenhoe had got themselves on top and this was perhaps why Alex Lock jumped in on Tsinosis right in front of the Cogenhoe dug-out and Chris Walton had little option but to dig his yellow card out of his pocket for the first time on 54 minutes. A ball over the top flicked off the head of a Rugby defender just inside his own half to leave Anderson with a clear run at goal. His pace meant there was no hope of catching him and for the only time in the game, Hill seemed hesitant what to do, but when he did come off his line, he did just enough to make sure Pharrell didn’t have a clear view of the goal and he put his shot just the wrong side of the post. Massive chance for Cogenhoe though and normally P would have put that one away.
A big kick from Heath was won in the air on the edge of the box by Hall and Obeng worked his way into a shooting opportunity, but didn’t get enough power behind it to trouble Hill, while skipper Paddy Cichosz picked up his second yellow card in successive games after catching Elliott late on the half-way line. English sent in an off-balance cross from the right side of the box that would have gone in if Heath hadn’t turned it over the bar for a corner, then Obeng did well just inside the box with two men on him to slip the ball through for Anderson, but his partner hadn’t read the situation in the same way and was unable to get to the ball as it ran through for a goal-kick. Anderson won a corner down the right and Ansell swung it in to the near post where Hill and Whitehead got in each other’s way a little, but the keeper got a glove to the ball and his teammates got the ball away from their area. Seal made way for Barry Fitzharris and Madundo Semahimbo replaced Kolodynski on 68 minutes and three minutes later the visitors took the lead, albeit somewhat against the run of play. Sub Semahimbo ran onto a good ball from English inside the box and ran at the defence, with the ball falling at the feet of Elliott who thumped it into the back of the net from close range. Harsh on the Cooks to find themselves behind at this point of the game, but that is what teams at the top do so often in football.
Purse stretched to direct a header on goal from an Ansell free-kick, but it was wide of the target. Hill was taking his time with the goal-kick and was warned by the referee and when he spotted up the ball and went back for his run up, the wind moved the ball and he had to re-spot it. Mr Walton was having none of this and promptly showed him the yellow card which was very unfortunate on the Rugby keeper.
The next ten minutes were littered with subs and very little else as Rugby endeavoured to see the game out. Hall, Obeng and Ansell all went off between 78 and 84 minutes, with Harry Waple-Moors, Jamie Snapes and Kodi Briggs being tasked with saving the game for the Cooks, while Elliott was cautioned for a late tackle on Anderson that started a bit of a flare up as the handbags came out.
Parkes sent in a good cross that Recci rose to head clear, then Tsinosis whipped the ball into the box from the right and Purse, who had been pushed up front for the final few minutes, got his header on target, but couldn’t beat Hill. Heath came out of his area to take a couple of late free-kicks with the first coming off Lock’s head for a corner, then from just inside the Rugby half and with everybody forward, Hill came off his line to punch clear. With four minutes of stoppage time played, Walton blew the final whistle and there were a lot of relieved Rugby Town players and fans celebrating their tenth league win in a row, but I’m sure they will agree they were rather fortunate to come away with all three points from this one.
Winning ugly is what champions do and Rugby certainly had those credentials tonight. They are 13 points clear for a reason and weren’t at their best, but the Cooks pushed them all the way tonight and can be proud of their performance. It doesn’t help us much as we need points now to take us away from the bottom and the league haven’t helped us much by rearranging games against teams around us in the next couple of weeks and replacing them with tough matches against Coventry United and March Town United instead, the former being our next game this coming Saturday. The Valley brought a good following with them tonight and good luck to them and their team in their battle with Sphinx for the top spot, two great clubs with great support too.
From a Cogenhoe perspective, this was another three points dropped. Before the game we would have taken one point gracefully, but with the chances we created today we will be disappointed not to have taken all three. We looked solid as a team and the reaction to going behind so early on was superb. Jon Wright has the honour of picking tonight’s man-of-the-match and he has chosen Paddy Cichosz for all his hard work against a strong Rugby Town midfield.
Cooks; 1. Ben Heath 2. Bruce Tsinosis 12. Kyle Ansell (sub 3. Kodi Briggs 83) 4. Alex Parkes 5. Luca Purse 6. Perry Ronayne 7. Louie Barrett 8. Paddy Cichosz © 20. Jamie Hall (sub 9. Harry Waple-Moors 78) 10. Bailey Weatherly (sub 16. Pharrell Anderson )11. Jessi Obeng (sub 14. Jamie Snapes 79) Sub not used 15. Josh Going,
Yellow card; Cichosz (62) Foul.
Rugby; 1. Matt Hill 2. Luke English 3. Dan Summerfield (sub 14. Edwin Ahenkorah HT) 4. Liam Francis 5. Loyiso Recci © 6. Ben Whitehead 7. Ryan Seal (sub 15. Barry Fitzharris 69) 8. Alex Lock 9. David Kolodynski (sub 12. Madundo Semahimbo 68) 10. Jordan Wilson 11. Caine Elliott. Sub not used; 16. Andrew Wooldridge.
Yellow cards; Lock (54) Foul. Hill (74) Time wasting.
Referee; Chris Walton
Assts; Tom Roberts & Ben Bright