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Five goals in the final 22 minutes after keeper Nathan Adamson saw red made it a sobering night for our youngsters.

Wednesday 25th August 2021





Barnes-Garner 68, 71

Graham 75, 84

Tsinonis 90


Reza 62 (pen)


Att; 59


Another very young Cooks Reserve team headed to Bletchley to face a far more experienced MK Irish and from the start it was clear that they would win a majority of the physical battles on the field tonight given the size differences. Elijah Noel made his mark though as he clattered into Ollie Coleman just outside the box on the right. Bruce Tsininos took the kick and shaped as if to cross, but instead he went for the near top corner and was just a few inches off target with his well-struck effort. A good ball from Coleman put Jack Clarkson through in the box, but Nathan Adamson closed him down quickly and saved his shot. The Cooks first attack saw Freddie Shaw play the ball into the box from the right for Will Russell but he couldn’t convert and then Russell broke strongly into the MK area on the left only for a great piece of defending by Luka Ludder that saw the left-back get back to get his foot to Russell’s shot to take the sting off it ensuring Jamie Mitchener had a fairly easy save to make.

Dom Lawless, with several hundred times more experience than the whole of the Cooks squad put together, beat his man on the left of the area and struck the base of the post with his shot from an angle whilst down the other end a clever dink over the top from Archie Culley almost played Russell clear through, but good, strong defending by Scott Dummett deferred the danger this time. Shan Uings hit a powerful shot from the edge of the box that was blocked by Culley and when he got to the rebound first and clipped a cross to the far post, but Jack Clarkson could only head the ball straight at Adamson. Clarkson did pretty much the same thing with a deeper cross shortly afterwards as Irish had most of the attacking play without really testing Adamson.

A free-kick wide on the right and just a few yards into the Irish half saw Culley send a good delivery into the box that Mitchener batted away above his head inside the 6-yard box, Shad Reza got to the loose ball and played it back to the edge of the box where Culley saw his shot blocked in the crowd. Noel took a throw-in finding Manny Asante on the bye-line and his clever turn saw him play it low across the face of goal but Michael Mensah couldn’t turn it in. A deep cross from Ollie Sljivic was headed over by Mensah just before Reza cut in on the left angle of the box and struck a curling shot that was too close to Mitchener to cause any real concern for the keeper.

Coleman fired over from 25-yards and Adamson got down well to claim a whipped cross from the same player a minute later. Two good chances went begging for the hosts as Coleman fired wide of the far post from inside the box on the right, then after we had gifted Tsinonis the ball the MK man took it into a great position in the area but pulled his shot wide.

A tough first-half and plenty of defensive practise for the lads, but it remained goalless as we headed into the break.


Half-time; MK Irish 0 Cooks 0


A couple of changes at the break with Jeffrey Obeng and Aiden Hawes both coming on in midfield. Irish should have taken the lead very early in the second half when we gave the ball away cheaply and Clarkson played the ball in for Rob McDonald, but he tried a flash flick and put the ball the wrong side of the box. Lawless showed some good feet on the corner of the box as he turned quickly and left two defenders wondering where he had gone before hitting a firm low shot that took a deflection, but Adamson did really well to adjust himself and make a great one-handed save at full-stretch. Again the Irish spurned a great opportunity as the ball fell to Clarkson a yard out with Adamson on the floor after making his save, but he completely fluffed his lines in his brief moment in the spotlight.

Clarkson forced a save out of Adamson with a header from a free-kick and then Tsinonis volleyed straight at the keeper from the following corner. Ben Hassan-Hussein did well inside the box on the right and forced a save with his shot from a tight angle but the corner came to nothing. Nathaniel Allam came on for his Cooks debut nine minutes into the second half and took his place in the centre of defence.

Good work from Freddie Shaw saw his persistence earn us a corner and moments later he was in the thick of it again as he ran on to a ball inside the box only for Mitchener to race off his line and take the diminutive winger out completely. The referee didn’t need to think about this one and pointed straight to the spot, although I have to say these are often not given with the officials siding with the keeper. 16-year-old Shad Reza kept his nerve and placed his penalty high to the keeper’s left and we had the lead with 62 minutes played. I don’t really know what happened next but there was a lot of pushing and shoving in the box as the players came together, but the aftermath saw Mitchener, Noel and Reza all shown the yellow card before we could get back on with the action once more.

New U18s signing Gideon Enchill was given his reserve team debut in place of Teddy Shaw. Irish finally got themselves on the scoreboard on 68 minutes when a mistake at the back allowed MK sub Bryce Barnes-Garner to take possession on the edge of the box and he fired a low shot beyond the dive of Adamson and just inside the post. then two minutes later the game swung away from Cogenhoe when Adamson came out of his area to try and sweep and an awkward bounce saw him make one of those instant reactions as he handled the ball. Referee Toby Carlisle didn’t have much choice but to issue a straight red card to the keeper and we would have to play the last twenty minutes with ten men. Barnes-Garner lined up the free-kick and struck an absolute beauty that gave stand-in keeper Ollie Sljivic no chance as it flew high into the net.

The home’s full back Ryan Coyle was yellow carded for kicking the ball away then Sljivic made a good save from Brendan Graham’s powerful shot, but he was picking the ball out of the net again on 75 minutes when Graham ran on to a big kick from Mitchener and aided by a poor back line the striker ran clear and beat the keeper with a powerful low finish. The Cooks had a few moments in the closing stages and Noel rose well to get his header on target from a corner but it too close to the keeper, then with 84 minutes played. substitute Graham got his second of the night when he smashed home on the volley from the centre of the box. Sljivic dived to his right to hold on to a Cameron Johnson shot, then the same player headed well wide from a very good position. The stand-in keeper dived to catch a curling shot from outside the box but he was beaten once more as the watch reached 90 when a good break by Graham saw him get into the box on the right before holding the ball up before playing it across to Bruce Tsinonis who took a touch before firing in an unstoppable shot from 15-yards out, although it did take a little deflection on its way into the net. Johnson was bearing down on goal when Allam made a great winning tackle to deny him and that proved to be the last action of the night.

It was certainly a learning curve for our youngsters tonight against a very experienced Milton Keynes Irish side. Disappointing to have conceded five goals in the last third of the game I guess, but Nathan Adamson did make some fine saves and they really should have scored well before they did having spurned some great chances. Lots of work for Steve Ganley to do but a lot of potential as well if we can just get something of a settled side out on the pitch and the boys continue to listen and learn.


Irish; 1. Jamie Mitchener 2. Ryan Coyle 3. Luke Ludder 4. Shane Uings 5. Scott Dummett 6. Liam Murphy 7. Ollie Coleman 8. Bruce Tsinonis 9. Dom Lawless 10. Jack Clarkson 11. Rob McDonald. Subs used; 12. Brandon Graham Benjamin Ansah 15. Anthony Boateng 16. Cameron Johnson 17. Bryce Barnes-Garner.

Cooks; 1. Nathan Adamson 2. Ollie Sljivic 3. Elijah Noel 4. Archie Shaw 5. Jake Walpole © 6. Manny Asante 7. Freddie Shaw 8. Archie Culley 9. Shad Reza 10. Ben Hassan-Hussein 11. Will Russell. Subs all used; 12. Aiden Hawes 14. Nathaniel Allam 15. Jeffrey Obeng 16. Michael Mensah 17. Gideon Enchill.

Referee; Toby Carlisle.

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