The First Team ended the season on a high with a convincing 3-0 win over Rothwell Corinthians as a Harry Waple-Moors double put the icing on the cake after Bailey Weatherly had opened the scoring on the hour.
Saturday 22nd April 2023
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED (0) 3 ROTHWELL CORINTHIANS (0) 0
Waple-Moors 76, 81
The first team reached the end of their season as they hosted a Rothwell Corinthians team who were already doomed to finish second-from-bottom after a tough season for the Sargeants Lawn club. Biff made a few changes from the cup final on Tuesday night as the cup-tied duo of Ethan Lack and Bailey Weatherly returned to the starting line-up and Tommy Curry stepped up from the bench, while the injured Ben Gough missed out completely, Jamie Hall dropped down to the bench and Pharrell Anderson was playing for AFC Rushden & Diamonds where he made the first goal in their 2-1 win at Kings Langley. Harry Waple-Moors had also been cup-tied for the Peterborough Sports game, but he had to settle for a place on the bench. Corinthians boss Jordan Henson named himself on the bench despite being injured as he brought through a number of reserve team players into his starting eleven.
The Cooks attacked the village in the first half and Alex Parkes, playing at left-back today to add to his already impressive CV of positions played this season, sent over a free-kick from wide on the left that a full-stretch Jude O’Connor just got his fingertips to at the far post, then Jessi Obeng fed Louie Barrett to his right and he cut into the box only for his low cross to be cut out at the front stick. Owen Jacques did well on the edge of the box and he played in Alfie Frayne who forced Ash Bodycote into his first save of the game, but it wouldn’t have counted as Steve Edwards flag had already been raised for offside. Bodycote came off his line to middle a clearance that bounced on target, but O’Connor, who had been standing on the edge of his box, back-peddled quick enough to get back and catch the ball on his goal-line. It was the first shot on target of the game though and only from about 90-yards out. An up-and-under from Perry Ronayne bounced into the box where Obeng battled to get there before the big figure of Wesley Baro, but the defender held him up enough for O’Connor to come off his line and claim the ball.
Curry got going down the left flank and received a great return pass from Obeng that saw him burst into the box and as he went for goal, Baro made a fantastic tackle to nick the ball off his feet. This tackle had to be absolutely spot-on as the slightest miss-time would have led to a penalty. Lack went for goal from 25-yards out with the ball bouncing twice before it reached the keeper, then Luca Purse got up to head a Parkes free-kick into the box, but none of his teammates appeared to have read the situation and the ball went through to the keeper. O’Connor miscued a clearance with the ball going straight to Perry Ronayne who rolled it through for Curry, but Brady Stratford swept up nicely for the visitors. Parkes played the ball into the feet of Curry who made a great turn to send himself into the box on the left at pace, but Stratford had read things well and tracked back to get a toe to the ball and send it behind for a corner. O’Connor got up well at the near post to put the ball behind for another corner, but Parkes sent his second effort a bit too deep for his teammates to capitalise on. Parkes touched a free-kick to Dalton Leon who whipped it into the box only for O’Connor to take it after the bounce with Obeng homing in, then a nice move saw Curry get the ball back from Parkes and whip in a cross that was half-cleared, with Weatherly driving into the box on the right before firing in a low shot that struck the base of the near post.
A great win in the air by Leon allowed Barrett to send the ball up to Weatherly’s feet and although he sent the ball into the box looking for Obeng’s run, O’Connor was able to get there first. The same combination had a similar ending moments later when Weatherly’s flick into the area was gathered by O’Connor ahead of Obeng, while in a rare attack for the visitors, Purse made a great challenge on the edge of the box to rob Jacques of a shooting opportunity. Parkes slide-rule pass looked to have put both Obeng and Weatherly clear into the box, but Baro just managed to intercept, then Weatherly and Barrett combined well to set up a shooting opportunity for Leon outside the box and he hit well first time, but the keeper got enough of his body behind the ball to keep it out and was then able to gather up the loose ball safely.
Curry passed the ball to Parkes on the left and he sent over a dangerous cross that dropped just over the head of the defenders, but Weatherly couldn’t steer it on target from beyond the far post. The Cooks so nearly opened the scoring when Parkes sent over a corner from the right that Purse met on the edge of the 6-yard box with a powerful header that O’Connor got a hand too and when the ball dropped it appeared to spin back into the lucky keeper’s grasp. Parkes won a corner off Baro and took it himself and O’Connor came off his line to punch clear which allowed his team to break through skipper Liam Merrick who tried to send Frayne clear, but Bodycote had come off his line to clear the danger. O’Connor was forced to run out of his area on the right to sweep, but Weatherly just managed to get there first and send the ball across the Rowell penalty area, but Curry couldn’t quite get to it and it went behind for a goal-kick. Obeng dispossessed Baro midway into the Rothwell half and made a great run into the box before checking back to create a great shooting chance, but unfortunately he scuffed it quite badly and the ball rolled through to the keeper. Weatherly made a strong run before getting the ball back from Obeng inside the box on the right, but his shot was wide of the far post and somehow the scores remained 0-0 as we headed into the break.
Half-time; Cooks 0 Rothwell 0
Curry tried to cut in from the left, only for Stratford to track him well, then nice work by Barrett on the right sent Obeng racing away and he flew past Liam Kendall before sending over a cross that Stratford did well to cut out and when the ball fell to Barrett outside the box, he sliced his shot quite badly and ended up nearer the pay-hut than the goal. Obeng was really back to his best today and he picked the ball up on the half-way line and ran with pace to get past both Kendall and Baro before firing the ball towards the near post where O’Connor saved it with his foot. Obeng dinked a cross toward the far post where Purse got his head to it with Curry finding Parkes out wide, but his cross was caught cleanly by O’Connor. A clever drop of the shoulder by Weatherly fooled Baro who upended him 20-yards from goal just to the left of centre, but Weatherly’s free-kick was straight at the wall and Parkes follow up, although struck beautifully, was blocked inside the box.
A real mix-up at the back between O’Connor and Baro saw Obeng nip in to touch the ball past the keeper on the right, but it went a little further than he had hoped and although he did manage to reach it before it went out, his balance was gone and he thumped the ball high over everyone in the middle of the box. Obeng sent Barrett down the right and he tried to cross it first time whilst running at full pelt and only managed to send it behind for a goal-kick. There may also have been a touch of the Compton Park bobbles in the scenario too to be fair on Louie. Purse played a lovely ball over the top into the run of Barrett, but he was caught by Kameron Strachan. Parkes took the free-kick (who else would have), but it was a fraction too deep and although Perry Ronayne managed to head it back across the face of goal, it looped into the arms of O’Connor. Merrick went for goal from at least 30-yards out, but didn’t middle it at all and it ended up well off a target, then on the hour the Cooks finally made the breakthrough. Bailey Weatherly charged down an attempted clearance about 25-yards from goal and chased it on to get a touch to it ahead of the keeper on the edge of the box and used his strength to hold off the challenge of Cameron Hale before putting the ball into the net from a couple of feet out, probably with his knee or possibly his thigh. Great determination and strength from Weatherly who had been superb today and thoroughly deserved his goal, but again he had to ruin it with a bit of petulance as he threw the ball at Hale before blowing kisses at him. The Cooks man was quite rightly shown the yellow card, while O’Connor should really have joined him for shoving the Cooks man I guess. Not for the first time this season, Scott Carlin subbed the Cooks man for fear of another card before the restart as Jamie Hall took his place. The new kit had been put back in mothballs ready for next season, so Jamie had returned to the number 20 that Lloyd Groves had once squeezed into. Josh Jones also came on at this point with Lack making way.
Hale, who had been involved in the incident, became the second player to be cautioned by Chris Walton almost immediately after the game got back under way. Obeng sent over a cross that wasn’t attacked at all by his teammates, so Jones picked up play on the opposite side of the pitch and pulled it back to Leon just outside the box and he hit it first time, sending the ball flying just over the top. Ronayne came off on 66 minutes to give young Harley Mallard a run out but it was Rowell who had the next chance as a ball played in from the right found Frayne deep inside the box and he forced a great save out of Bodycote with his first-time effort. O’Connor was soon back in the action as he saved from Barrett who had made a great run down the right just before another change saw Curry make way for Harry Waple-Moors with nineteen minutes remaining. Rowell won a corner that resulted with Merrick slicing well wide, then a ball headed back by a Rothwell player saw Waple-Moors run on and lift his foot high to touch it over the head of the out-rushing keeper. He gave chase but as the ball dropped, Kendall had appeared to have completed a great goal-line clearance, only for the referee to blow his whistle and award the goal. Personally, I don’t think the whole of the ball had crossed the line and Rothwell were very unlucky with this decision, but Harry won’t be worried about little things like that as he celebrated his ‘goal’. They do say that these things even themselves out over the season, but somehow it doesn’t take away the bad taste of the incident at Hinckley in the Vase all those months ago when the ball hit the wheel inside the goal and came back out, but we now lead 2-0 with 76 minutes gone.
A Parkes corner was met by a bullet header from Purse that was blocked on the line, quite possibly by Hall, although it could have been a defender, then Hall, a few inches from goal, couldn’t turn it over the line and somehow Rowell survived. Skipper Paddy Cichosz came on to give Callum Farmer the last twelve minutes of the season just before a Hall run and shot from 20-yards out lacked the power needed to worry O’Connor. A third goal followed after 81 minutes and it was the goal of the day for the Cooks. Parkes played a great ball over the top that Waple-Moors took down on the left before hooking his shot across the keeper and inside the far post. Great ball and a great finish as well. The final few minutes were played out with little worthy of a mention, although Bodycote did have to race out to the edge of his area to beat Jacques to a long ball, but it had been a pretty quiet afternoon for the Cooks number one as he kept a clean sheet to end the season.
A thoroughly deserved win for the Cooks today and it could have been even more convincing if we had made more of the almost total dominance we had enjoyed in the game. Corinthians may be relegated in the summer, depending on how things pan out with the F.A and their usual off-season changes, but that is something we have to wait and find out at the end of May/start of June. This was the Cooks biggest home league win of the season and a good way to bring things to a conclusion. Lots of good performances today, but my man-of-the-match goes to Jessi Obeng who gave the visitors defence an extremely tough time this afternoon. Having watched Jessi put in many superb performances for the Cooks U18s a few years ago, it is great to see that he has been able to work though to the first-time and do it in men’s football too. There were a few players who had also put their names into the hat for today’s accolade as we saw some of the best football we have played this season and as the saying goes, you can only beat the team that are up against you on the pitch. Good luck to Rothwell Corinthians, whether they go down or face us again in the league next season.
Congratulations to Coventry Sphinx who will go up as Champions and they clinched it in style today with a 7-0 win over Eynesbury Rovers, while Rugby Town will be hoping their PPG will be strong enough to put them into the national play-offs, although they will certainly need to improve on their recent form of they are to follow Sphinx up to step four.
I will do a season review at some point over the next few weeks, but in the meantime our Reserves still have three games to go after their 4-3 win at Wellingborough Town today, starting on Tuesday night when Bourne Town make the long trip to Compton Park. Thursday sees a trip to Kempston Rovers, then in the season finale, they head to Godmanchester Rovers to bring down the curtain on their season. The Vets could still be going until the end of May, but that depends on whether their opponents don’t decide to forfeit their matches as many have done lately. Details and reports of all these games will appear on the official website as and when they are played.
Cooks; 1. Ash Bodycote 2. Dalton Leon 3. Alex Parkes 4. Ethan Lack (sub 12. Josh Jones 60) 5. Luca Purse 6. Perry Ronayne (sub 17. Harley Mallard 66) 7. Louie Barrett 8. Paddy Cichosz © (sub 15. Callum Farmer 78) 9. Tommy Curry (sub 16. Harry Waple-Moors 71) 10. Bailey Weatherly (sub 20. Jamie Hall 60) 11. Jessi Obeng.
Yellow card; Weatherly (6) Threw the ball at an opponent.
Corinthians; 1. Jude O’Connor 2. Oli Anderson 3. Brady Stratford 4. Cameron Hale 5. Wesley Baro 6. Liam Kendall 7. Kameron Strachan 8. Liam Merrick © 9. Alfie Frayne 10. Owen Jacques 11. Jack Bramley Subs named; 12. Jordan Henson 14. Tom McLaren 15. Tai Williams 16. Dom Page.
Yellow card; Hale (61) Foul.
Referee; Chris Walton
Assts; Gary Halliday & Steve Edwards.