The trip to Lutterworth proved to be a miserable one for the Cooks faithful as a well below par performance meant we came home empty handed.
Tuesday 28th February 2023
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
LUTTERWORTH TOWN (1) 2 COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0
Salami 23, 86
The Cooks travelled up the M1 on Tuesday night to face Lutterworth Town, the team one place below us in the table giving this the feel of a six-pointer. Scott Carlin had made a couple of new signings in the week, bringing in George Herbert from Kettering Town, who had been playing at Daventry Town until their recent budget cut, plus Cobblers youngster Tommy Curry who joins on work experience. Herbert started instead of Alex Parkes while Curry had to settle for a place on the bench. There was no Bailey Weatherly tonight due to work, while Kyle Ansell was also missing. Ash Bodycote donned the gloves again, Bruce Tsinosis returned at right back with Lewis Green moving across to the left and Jamie Hall started up top meaning Pharrell Anderson dropped down to the bench.
A chilly night in the Leicestershire town with drizzle in the air welcomed the teams onto the field and the Cooks started fairly positively with a strong run from Herbert seeing him pick up play on the half-way line, play a quick one-two and go past his man before laying the ball to Louie Barrett on his right and he struck a 25-yard shot that was blocked by Brandon Williams. Barrett won an early corner on the right with a quick break and Paddy Cichosz sent it over with Hall trying to hit it first time and the ball fell to Ben Gough just inside the box, but his shot took a deflection on the way through to the keeper’s arms. Lutterworth had a glimpse of goal with a shot from the edge of the box that flew the wrong side of Bodycote’s right hand post
A good ball by Perry Ronayne sent Hall running for goal and he steered his shot across the keeper from the edge of the box, but it was wide of the far post and then a superb effort from Cichosz 25-yards out to the right flew over Warren Butlin and was a matter of inches too high as it crashed into the pole holding up the nets, giving a momentary feeling that it had crashed into the back of the net from where we stood. Pearson Mwanyongo worked square across the edge of the box from right to left before hitting a shot on the half-turn that was blocked as the Swifts started to get themselves going forward more, while Hall showed good upper body strength to hold off two defenders before laying the ball off to Barrett who flew past his marker, but he then lost the second tackle and a good opportunity had gone for the Cooks.
Poor defending by the Cooks saw Brian Ndlovu find himself completely clear in the box and Bodycote had to save his teammates with a very good save, then Ronayne cleared as Nwanyongo played the ball back into the centre. We didn’t heed the warning from that let off though as the Swifts took the lead on 23 minutes. The experienced and talented Nwanyongo was given way too much space on the right and he controlled the ball well before sending in a great cross that Hanibal Salami ran in to meet with a powerful header towards the far post, giving Bodycote no chance at all. In games like this, the first goal can be very important and after a miserable run of defeats, you could see the confidence coming in back into those orange shirts.
A nice turn and pass from Harry Waple-Moors created a shooting chance for Barrett on the right and he drove it in low forcing Butlin to get down and turn it behind for a corner. Cichosz swung it out towards the centre of the box and Ronayne met it with a decent header that went just over the bar. Once again we were opened up at the back as Evandro Sanches found himself clear through in the box and Bodycote had to come off his line quickly to narrow the angle and make another good save, then the Cooks keeper was called back into action moments later to stop Ndlovu’s shot from inside the box on the right. Gough, who had been clearly struggling for quite a while, was forced off on 32 minutes with Parkes coming on at right back and Tsinosis moving into the centre. Jessi Obeng was fouled just inside the Lutterworth half, but referee Dan Haywood played the advantage and Hall found Barrett in space on the right, but his shot came off his shin pad and went well wide. Obeng found himself on the right and won a corner that Cichosz sent over and Parkes met it with powerful header that flew over the bar.
HALF-TIME; Swifts 1 Cooks 0
Herbert gave the ball to Obeng on the left and he sent over a cross that came off a defender’s head to reach Barrett on the right and he sent it low back into the danger area, but Lutterworth successfully cleared their lines. Lewis Green sent over a cross from the left from which Waple-Moors did well to turn and find Barrett, but his return ball was too close to Butlin. Mwanyongo was afforded too much space on the right again and he made his way into the box and Bodycote did really well to get a hand to the ball as the winger tried to dink the ball past him, then Tom Mars became the first player to be shown the yellow card for a bad challenge on Obeng, leaving the Cooks player requiring treatment five minutes into the second half.
Herbert took a pass from Hall and turned to his right 20-yards from goal and hit a shot that was a yard wide of the keeper’s left hand post just before some battling play by Obeng saw Waple-Moors nip in to take the ball, but he pulled his shot wide of the target from a good position. Ryan Hodkinson was booked for pulling back Barrett after the Cooks man had beaten him just inside the Swifts half and Hall headed wide from Parkes’ free-kick. The first change of the game came on 59 minutes when Curry came on in place of Hall to make his Cooks debut. Ronayne played the ball up to Obeng on the edge of the box and his he managed to make space for a shot, but it was blocked inside the box. Anderson was thrown into the mix in place of Barrett on 64 minutes and soon afterwards Williams was booked for a foul on Cichosz down by the right corner flag. Parkes sent the free-kick into the box and Cichosz rose at the far post, but the attention of Williams denied him a clean header and Lutterworth broke quickly down the field as Ndlovu made it to the box, but Bodycote got his foot to the shot and Parkes came in behind him to put the ball out for a corner. Ndlovu won the corner in the air, but couldn’t guide his header on target.
Curry chased down a clearance and blocked with his body before following up and beating Butlin with his shot, but it rolled agonisingly just wide of the far post as we waited for the net to ripple. Bodycote came off the line to tackle Nwanyongo just outside his box, while Swifts defender Curtis Wheat was forced off after going down for the second time with a head injury, Ben Law taking his place. Obeng sent a great cross in from the left that dropped just over the centre-back’s head, but Waple-Moors couldn’t quite get to the ball in the centre of the box. Ronayne played a long ball that Waple-Moors chased, but Law stuck with him and Butlin came off his line to claim the ball. We gave the ball away on the left of our defence and a deep cross looked to have picked out Nwanyongo at the far post, but he couldn’t get round his volley enough and put it wide for a goal-kick. A Green cross took a deflection off Williams and looped into the box, but it went through the box untouched as no blue shirt attacked it. Herbert had to do some defending as he chased back to rob Karabo Motshweni just before he reached the box, but in the 86th minute the home side were awarded a free-kick slightly to the right of centre about 20-yards from goal. Salami stepped up with a low strike to the left of the wall and beat the diving Bodycote to go just inside the post.
A deep Parkes free-kick was headed back across the goal and Obeng did his best to get there, but Butlin did really well to get to the ball first in his 6-yard box. During the final minutes Lutterworth used all their subs to run down the clock, but you had the feeling that we could have played all night without scoring today and the referee ended our misery six minutes into stoppage time and left us to reflect on a poor performance from the Cooks.
A deserved three points for Lutterworth Town who now sit level with us on points, but have played two games more with an inferior goal-difference. We started OK for the first ten minutes, but faded badly against a passionate, hard-working Lutterworth team and we gave the ball away far too many times in the game. Personal mistakes and poor passing let us down too tonight and if it hadn’t been for Ash Bodycote the score could have been even more embarrassing. The keeper went close to getting my man-of-the-match award, but Jessi Obeng gets the nod for giving everything he had for ninety-minutes, even if he got no reward for his efforts.
We need to learn from this and make sure we don’t get a repeat performance when we travel to Long Buckby on Saturday afternoon or we could find ourselves right back in the relegation mire again.
Swifts; 1. Warren Butlin 2. Junior Ngwenya 3. Ryan Hodkinson 4. Curtis Wheat (sub 12. Ben Law 77) 5. Brandon Williams 6. Evandro Sanches 7. Pearson Nwanyongo (sub 14. Hne Wilson 89) 8. Karabo Motshweni 9. Tom Mars 10. Brian Ndlovu (sub 16. Bruno Capela 82) 11. Hani Salami (sub 15. Shane Martin 90).
Yellow cards; Mars (50) Hodkinson (56) Williams (67) all fouls.
Cooks; 1. Ash Bodycote 2. Bruce Tsinosis 3. Lewis Green 4. George Herbert 5. Perry Ronayne 6. Ben Gough (sub 12. Alex Parkes 32) 17. Louie Barrett (sub 16. Pharrell Anderson 64) 8. Paddy Cichosz (sub 15. Dalton Leon 78) 20. Jamie Hall (sub 14. Tommy Curry 59) 10. Harry Waple-Moors 11 Jessi Obeng.
Referee; Dan Haywood
Assts; Emma Bisset & David Goodyear
*apologies for the quality of the photos, but the floodlights are very poor at Dunley Way.