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Having won their previous two games, the Cooks travelled to Histon with plenty of confidence, but first half mistakes cost them dearly.

Saturday 13th April 2024





Hayden 2

Kerins 14

York 35

Sutton 27

Gould 81

Att; 207


Cogenhoe United entered the field for the final time this season with a touch of ‘saving the best to last’ at Histon’s Bridge Road Stadium. Looking to make it three wins on the spin, Scott Carlin was forced into a couple of changes with Bailey Weatherly’s knee injury flaring up again in training and Kai Fifield pulling out sick, so in came Josh Rayfield and Dom Wysocki, while Matty Ireland returned on the bench. Stutes manager Chris Nunn is sunning himself in Portugal so Biff’s Diamonds college colleague Matt Vernon took the reins and made several changes from the team that were beaten 5-1 at Leicester Nirvana in midweek. Former Cooks player Luke Bullement started at right wing back in place of Asabuminim Pepple and he was joined in the starting line-up by Jake Kilsby, Jake Kerins and Matt Hayden as Marcus Cole and Buba Camara dropped down to the bench and Miles Smith missed out altogether. Finley Edwards was called into the squad where he took Taylor Franklin’s place on the bench. Skipper Max York was making his 300th appearance for the Stutes this afternoon with his son Oscar getting a moment in the spotlight as match mascot, while both Ryan Towner and Joe Sutton were playing their 100th game for the club. This means that York has more appearances for this club than the whole of the Cogenhoe squad have played senior games. Well done to all three players on their achievements.


One of the first rules of football has always been ‘keep it tight for the first few minutes’, something we should probably heeded as we gifted the home side the lead inside two minutes as an unmarked Matt Hayden simply waited for a missed placed clearance to drop out of the sky before volleying home from close range. As disappointing as this start was for the Cooks, they still had 88 minutes to right the wrong. Jack Connor slipped a ball through the middle for Wysocki to run on to, but Histon keeper Sam Roach came off his line to get there first, then after Dalton Leon had committed a foul wide of the right, Ellis Leka sent over a dangerous free-kick that John Meadows did well to push away from his area at the far post. The home side doubled their lead on 14 minutes when a deep corner from the left delivered by Leka was met by the head of Max York beyond the far post and former AFC Rushden & Diamonds skipper Jake Kerins finished it off in the middle. Meadows had taken a knock from the previous move and stayed down for treatment from Piers Bodily which gave Biff and Batts the chance to rally the troops.

Good battling from Keiron Mobbs and Wysocki on the left saw Paddy Cichosz cut inside and hit a curling shot meant for the far top corner, but the ball went wide of the target without worrying Roach, then Wysocki found himself up against Bullement and Kerins inside the box on the left, but still managed to win a corner when his cross was blocked. Rayfield sent it over only for York to head it away, but the young Cobblers player worked back to take up possession again and he tried to find the head of Brad Ilunga inside the box, but Roach came off his line to claim. The Cooks were finding it hard to play their normal passing game on a very hard and bumpy surface while Histon’s more direct approach was working better today and Ilunga had to make a good block to deny Connor Barnes as he ran onto a ball inside the Cooks penalty area. Mobbs and Wysocki combined well down the left flank and when the formers low cross was cut out, he was first to the rebound and picked out Sonny Knights on the opposite side of the box and he hit a firm shot that Roach had to get down and save, the Cooks first shot on target in the game.

Meadows did well from a short back pass to him as Hayden looked to pounce, then Leon got a vital toe in to deny Barnes deep inside the box as the home side pressed. Histon had seen a couple of balls into the box cleared, but on 27 minutes Joe Sutton whipped one into the box from wide on the right and it bobbled just in front of Meadows at the far post and eluded his grasp to go into the net. 3-0 to the home side and prospects of ending the season on high were already looking bleak for the Cooks. Mobbs picked out Wysocki and he got away from Kerins in the box to the left before hitting the ball into the centre where it reached Connor at speed and at an awkward height. He did manage to steer it on target, but it was of no concern to the experienced Roach who caught it easily. Knights beat his man out wide on the right before delivering a looping cross that Roach caught cleanly, then down the other end Meadows made a good save to deny Sutton who had worked himself space on the edge of the box and had gone for the bottom corner with his shot. Meadows again did well to get his hand to the corner at the back post, but when it was returned into the centre, York celebrated his appearance milestone by heading home his ninth goal of the season. Not bad for a centre-back. 35 minutes played and it was now 4-0 to the Stutes. (Incidentally my first game at Bridge Road was on a Boxing Day many years ago and they beat Chatteris Town 10-1 and at this point a repeat couldn’t be ruled out).

Knights played the ball to his right to find Connor who’s low drive from an angle was smothered by Roach and Knights was again involved out wide on the right where he laid it inside to Cichosz inside the box, but a bobble just in front of him meant it arrived at knee height and his he couldn’t get over his shot enough to keep it below bar height. Wysocki played a nice low ball into Connor deep inside the box and his first-time shot was blocked by York with the centre-back repeating the feat as Connor latched onto the rebound. Rayfield’s ensuing corner was punched clear by Roach and when Tak Chijota sent it back into the box, the keeper rose to make another clean take. A nice pass to Hayden on the edge of the box saw him get the wrong side of Ilunga, but the Cooks skipper recovered well to make a challenge before he could shoot, then Wysocki held off two defenders to set Mobbs for a cross, but his delivery was headed away and when Connor whipped it back into the danger area, Roach again stood tall to catch it as it dropped.

In many ways a first 45 minutes to forget for the Cooks, but it was defensive mistakes that had cost us dearly and while I wouldn’t argue that the Stutes deserved their lead, 4-0 was rather harsh on the Cooks.


Half-time; Stutes 0 Cooks 0


No changes at the break from either manager and with the last sausage in a bun consumed by yours truly, the game got back underway with the Cooks looking the brighter of the two. Wysocki sent Mobbs down the left and his low cross was cut out by York and when the young left-back challenged to try and win the ball back, the wily centre-back went to ground with a grunt to ‘win’ a free-kick. Cichosz made a good run into the box and won a corner off Kilsby, but Roach continued to dominate his 6-yard box and punched the ball clear, while down the other end Hayden fired wide from a decent position. The first change of the game saw Vernon bring on Dan Gould for Sutton and it was the hosts who threatened next when Leka did really well to keep the ball in before breaking into the box only to be denied by a very timely tackle from Knights. Cichosz controlled an awkward ball well before laying it into the path of Hart’s run inside the box to the right and he hit a fierce shot that Roach saved well, then a great cross by Wysocki out on the right saw Knights just get his foot to it, but he then had to recover and caught the boot of Kerins leaving both plays hobbling back up the field.

Carlin made a double change on 55 minutes as Cobblers Academy pair Rayfield and Hart made way for Callum Farmer and Earl Atat. Wysocki had a shot blocked with Cichosz hitting the rebound over the bar from just outside the box, then Histon had a couple of corners with York firing wide from the second. Substitutions took over for the next five minutes as Mattia D’Angelo and Leka came off for Camara (60) and Guy Motley (62) respectively, while Biff’s third change came on 65 minutes as Ireland came on for Chijota. Meadows made a good save to deny a powerful effort from Barnes, while the first yellow card came out of Andy Hitchcox pocket on 65 minutes with Atat the recipient for a foul. Connor did really well inside the box, but Wysocki could only turn his shot wide while the Cooks threatened again after Knights had been fouled on the edge of the box and the referee played the advantage as Atat ran onto the ball and fired it just under bar height right across the face of the goal. With the ball dead, Hutchcox went back and showed Motley the yellow card with 71 minutes gone.

Dex Nkrumah replaced Wysocki on 73 minutes and after Roach had caught a Farmer corner above his head, the latest sub sent Ireland into the box with a deft flick and he played it into Connor on the edge of the 6-yard box, but the ball just wouldn’t fall right for him to get his shot away. Vernon made his fourth swap on 77 minutes with Edwards coming on for Barnes and four minutes later the home side put the icing on their performance with a brilliant goal. The ball bounced up inside the box on the right and Gould managed to get the wrong side of Ilunga before hooking a volley across the area and in off the far post. The goal of the day from the sub and the Stutes went nap to round off their home campaign. The final change of the game came before the restart as Kilsby limped off to be replaced by Marcus Cole for the final eight minutes.

Nkrumah got into the box on the left before stepping inside and forcing a good save out of Roach, while Camara hit the outside of the post down the other end with a low shot from 10-yards out. Nkrumah sent over a good cross from the left that Connor headed against the bar and the striker nodded the rebound into the path of Ilunga, but his shot went over the bar. Connor has been denied by the woodwork several times in the latter stages of the season with the leading scoring literally inches away from having several more goals to his seasonal tally. Nkrumah played the ball into the box where Connor saw his shot blocked wide for a corner, then Leon coolly headed the ball back to Meadows as the home side broke away quickly. Cole caught Ireland late in stoppage time to earn a yellow card and Nkrumah got his header on target from Farmer’s free-kick, but the keeper took it cleanly yet again. Motley looked to have got himself clear of Ilunga inside the box as the home side looked for a sixth goal, but the big centre-back recovered well to rob the ball off him with the last action of the Cooks 2023/24 season.


Congratulations to Histon on their win today which lifts them up to tenth and means a win at Easington next Saturday will ensure a top ten finish which would be a terrific achievement for a team that lost its first five games of the season and didn’t secure a league win until game eight.

As for the Cooks we are 14th, but Easington still have three games to go and with their vastly superior goal-difference could overtake us if they can pick up another five points. Our points tally of 45 is 7 better than last season having won 12, an improvement of 2. When you consider Biff had to virtually rebuild the squad again in the summer as seven of our most senior players jumped ship, this has been a great achievement by the management team who have brought in a great bunch of youngsters who could all have a great future in the game. While nobody likes to lose 5-0, it was a few individual mistakes that cost us dear in the first half, but you will get that with young players, especially when they up against a far more experienced team such as today, but I felt everyone gave their all for the cause today of which the club should be proud of. In life you learn from your mistakes and that determines the person you become, and it is the same with football and if you are willing to put the effort in, the results will eventually follow. Paul’s man-of-the-match today goes to Josh Rayfield who worked tirelessly and was always trying to make things happen, especially during the first half when things seemed to be piling up against us.

That’s it from me. There have been plenty of highs to go with the lows and I will do my usual season review over the next few weeks. There is still plenty of football around so haven’t reached the end of my season as yet and I will endeavour to keep you all updated with things off the pitch as soon as they become fact. Nothing is certain right now, but I am hopeful that this won’t be the club’s last ever game and they will be back with a new committee soon. Also hoping that Biff, Batts, Nathan, Ryan and Piers will still be with us next season with this bunch of ever improving youngsters, In reality we probably need an injection of experience to help them grow into what could become a very competitive squad.


Histon; 1. Sam Roach 2. Luke Bullement 3. Ellis Leka (sub 17. Guy Motley 62) 4. Jake Kerins 5. Max York © 6. Josh Kilsby (sub12. Marcus Cole 81) 7. Mattia D’Angelo (sub 16. Babacar Camara 60) 8. Ryan Towner 9. Matt Hayden (sub 14. Dan Gould 49) 10. Connor Barnes (Sub 15. Finley Edwards 77).

Cooks; 1. John Meadows 2. Jamari Hart (sub 12. Earl Atat 55) 3. Keiron Mobbs 4. Josh Rayfield (sub 15. Callum Farmer 55) 5. Brad Ilunga © 6. Dalton Leon 7. Sonny Knights 8. Takula Chijota 9. Jack Connor 10. Dom Wysocki (sub 15. Dex Nkrumah 73) 11. Paddy Cichosz. Sub not used; 17. Dylan Carlin.

Referee; Andrew Hitchcox

Assts; Neil Arthur & Adrian Golec.




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