Tuesday 7th February 2023
NORTHANTS F.A HILLIER SENIOR CUP – SEMI FINAL
COGENHOE UNITED v KETTERING TOWN
KO 7-45 pm
Game three of our run of five home games comes up on Tuesday night and it’s a big one as we face National League North side Kettering Town in the NFA Senior Cup. This is the first of two semi-finals the Cooks will play this year, with the winners of this game facing Peterborough Sports in the final at Sixfields sometime in March or April. The Cooks will obviously be the underdogs in this fixture as the Poppies play their football three steps higher than us, but we have shown our best form in the cup competitions so far this season and anything can happen over 90 minutes on the park.
Lee Glover’s Poppies, much the same as ourselves, probably have bigger fish to fry that the county cup as we look to pull ourselves away from the relegation zone and as I write this, I have no idea what sort of team he will put out for this fixture. It could work both ways as Glover may try to keep the momentum going after two superb wins for the Poppies, or he could put out a very young team with the intent of resting and avoiding any injuries to his ‘stars’. We have been told that Harry Waple-Moors won’t be available for the Cooks and is expected to be in the Poppies squad for the game, whilst we also have some players cup-tied meaning Biff will be forced to make changes for this game, with Bruce Tsinosis, Kyle Ansell and Bailey Weatherly all ineligible.
We both had scheduled matches for tonight, Cogenhoe going to Lutterworth and Kettering hosting Peterborough Sports, but the Northants F.A ordered those to be postponed and this game played. I know the Poppies were not happy with this decision from their social media and also for the Cooks it is probably a little annoying as our game was a six-pointer with us in decent form at present. The Poppies have won their last two games with two superb efforts. The first being last Tuesday when they appeared dead and buried at half time as visiting Boston United took a two goal lead, but they came storming back after the break with three goals from Decarrey Sheriff, Frankie Maguire and Lewis White to win 3-2. These two have always been big rivals and the home contingent in the 985 attendance will have been delighted with the comeback. On Saturday they faced a very tough game at Banbury United and for the second game running they scored three second half goals without reply, this time after a goalless first forty-five minutes. Sam Bennett opened the scoring after 70 minutes, Ethan Hill made it two with his first touch after coming on as a sub on 83 and Maguire put the icing on the cake with the third three minutes into stoppage time. These six points have lifted them out of the relegation zone with a five point cushion, but of course there is still an awful long way to go and their focus will be on keeping that momentum going to the end of the season.
We have played the Poppies a couple of times in recent seasons in this competition, both at Rockingham Road, with very differing outcomes. Firstly we came from behind to win 2-1 with late goals from Alex Lowery and Ryan Dove after Callum Milne had opened the scoring for Kettering, but they put a much stronger team out for our next trip and gained revenge with a 5-1 win. Michael Cirelli scored our goal that day, but doubles from Aaron O’Connor and Joel Carta, backed up by an Elliott Hodge strike sent us home empty handed in front of a crowd of just 79.
There will be a winner tonight as the game will go straight to penalties if the scores are still level at 90 minutes with no extra-time.
How we got this far;
AFC Rushden & Diamonds H 1-1 (Diamonds removed for fielding ineligible player)
Desborough Town H 1-1 (Cooks won 4-3 on penalties)
Bugbrooke St Michaels A 3-2
Daventry Town A 2-1.