Tendai Daire’s first half hat-trick left the depleted Cooks squad with a mountain to climb at Compton Park.
Saturday 30th November 2021
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0 LUTTERWORTH TOWN (3) 4
Daire 21, 28, 31
Fourth placed Lutterworth Town made the trip to Compton Park with both sides having lost to the top two teams on Tuesday night. Darren Long was faced with a real headache for this game with centre-back Jack Riley away already, skipper Rico Alexander was forced to pull out late in the week with a groin strain picked up at Harborough in midweek. At the other end of the field we were still missing leading scorer Dylan Wilson who is working in Sweden at the moment, so this was going to be a tough ask for the boys against a strong Lutterworth team crafted by Josh Dixon over several years and now one of the best teams in the league. To top all that off they boast the prolific Tendai Daire up top, a player who gives the most seasoned centre-backs a tough afternoon on a day we had three players playing in that position who would all be more comfortable in their usual roles. Will Russell made his first start of the season as he works his way back to fitness after a long injury lay off whilst the bench had a very young feel to it as Ivandro Monteiro was joined by Under-18 starlets Matt Fletcher, Shad Reza and Nat Allam, the latter two having their first call ups into the first team.
It was a lovely day for football even if there was a bit of a wind that took the edge off the sunshine a little as it blew slightly across the pitch, but towards the village end, meaning that the keeper in the first half not only had the breeze against him, but also the slowly lowering sun on his eyes as it descended over the car park. Lutterworth had this advantage in the first half and were to quick show as Tom Marrs lifted a high ball into the box from the right that Craig Foxall was forced to turn over his own bar as it dropped out of the sun. Marshal Keenan worked across the outside of the box before forcing Foxall down to his left to save, then a minute later the same player hit another low effort from the left that was too close to the keeper to cause him any issues this time.
Russell tried to break into the box under pressure and when the ball went out left Josh Adams crossed it over, but Kane Auld rose to head it away, then Ryan Archer picked out Wakley on the right side of the box with a great ball, but he had two orange shirts on him and although he did try to cut the ball back across the goal, it was cut out and cleared. Will Bates struck a shot well from the right of the box that Warren Butlin saved well and when Bates hit the rebound back across the area it was blocked just in front of Russell in the centre. Daire did really well under pressure and ending up on the floor before slipping the ball into the path of Keenan inside the box, but Foxall was out quickly to deny him, but on 21 minutes a bit of magic saw the visitors take the lead. Tom Marrs found Daire in the box and although Alex Vaughan forced him wide, the Swifts striker turned sharply inside to lose his man before calmly placing his shot across the goal and into the net via the far post. He had very little angle to play with so this was a very good piece of finishing indeed.
Archie Culley played a nice ball to Adams on the left and he sent it across the box but couldn’t beat Auld who cleared it up field. On 28 minutes the visitors doubled their lead with a route one goal we simply didn’t defend. A free-kick ten yards inside the Lutterworth half really shouldn’t have given us too much concern, but Butlin struck it up into the box and Foxall appeared to lose it in the sun as Daire nipped behind the defence to steer it home with his head. Soft goal to concede from our point of view and a real highlight to how much we were missing Rico and Jack back there.
Russell hit a rocket of a shot from the right side of the box that Butlin did well to get his hand to, then the keeper had that little bit of luck that so often seems to go with the top teams as the ball seemed to be heading into the corner of the net, but the spin saw it hit the base of the post instead. Keenan saw a shot from the left deflect into the side netting, but from his corner the visitors were celebrating again as Daire beat Paddy Cichosz in the air at the far post to head home his third of the game with just 31 minutes played.
A great low delivery from the right by Bates saw Butlin get down and get a hand too before gathering the ball under pressure from Wakley and Adams. Very good piece of keeping again as he denied a goal back for the Cooks. Lutterworth thought they should have had a penalty after Foxall’s challenge on Keenan, but as the ball broke loose Marrs really should have scored with the keeper well out of position, but his effort took a deflection wide. Vaughan battled hard down the right before sending a looping cross over to the far post, but Wakley, under pressure from Auld, just couldn’t get his head to the ball with the goal at his mercy.
A tough first half for the Cooks and Tendai Daire’s eleven minute hat-trick had surely put the game out of reach, but we had forced Warren Butlin to earn his clean sheet so there was still hope as we headed in for the break.
Half-time; Cooks 0 Swifts 3.
We needed a good start to the second half, but it didn’t happen as Lutterworth made it 4-0 with just 46 minutes played. Cichosz had just been shown the yellow card for a late one on Maisiri, then a good corner from the right from Mark Warren saw Kade Lewis nip in to plant a firm header past the keeper from the edge of the six-yard box. Very well taken again, but a free header it has to be said all the same. Tom Wakley broke through the centre but couldn’t get past his man on the edge of the box and Russell’s follow up shot was blocked as he hit it. Culley suffered a bobble as he went for goal from 25-yards and his effort looped high and wide of the target. The Cooks applied some pressure to the Swifts solid backline with Adams getting a couple of good balls into the box, then after the ball just wouldn’t fall for Wakley inside the corner of the box, the visitors broke quickly with Craig Maisiri breaking through the middle. He hesitated as he got to the edge of the box though, although the ball ran through to Keenan inside the box on the left, but Foxall narrowed his angle well and saved his shot.
A great ball from Adams gave Wakley the chance to cut inside the box on the left before trying to curl one into the far top corner, but his effort was just the wrong side of the post. The first change saw the imposing figure of Raheem Abdul Sunmonu replace Warren in midfield. Foxall bowled the ball out wide to Adams who played a good ball down the line for Wakley, but some excellent defending from Jamie Cooper ended the promising break. Lewis was sent to the sin-bin on 63 minutes for continuing his protests after a decision didn’t go the way of his team. Keenan played in a dangerous free-kick from the left that Vaughan headed off the line, then down the village end Culley played a one-two with Russell but placed his shot an inch or so wide of the far post.
Rahman Abdul Sunmonu came on for Maisiri with 66 minutes played, perhaps not quite so intimidating as his brother, but a big unit all the same. Culley switched play from left to right with a good ball to Bates and he steered it first time across the danger area, but we couldn’t take advantage and the ball was cleared. Archer made a good run inside the box and for a moment it looked like the ball was going in off Butlin, but it rolled just the wrong side of the post. Dixon made his final change as Marrs limped off to be replaced by centre-half Justin Peace, showing off their depth in that role today.
Cichosz played a good ball out to Bates on the right flank and he cut inside before playing a one-two with Russell, but the move ended when Chief Boateng slipped as he tried to cross and Lutterworth got the ball away. We all thought we had pulled a goal back when Wakley ran on to a through ball and got there before Butlin. He steered the ball goalwards at pace and it was heading in before changing direction at the last second and hitting the post as Auld got back to get a touch on the ball, allowing Butlin to dive on to it. Sometimes you just know this is going to be your day!
A short corner from Culley to Archer saw him have space to cut in and try to curl his shot into the far top corner, but his decent effort was just off target. A good corner from Adams saw a bit of a scramble in the box and Russell had his shot blocked and we were caught out somewhat as the ball came out to Rahman Sunmonu who broke clear into our half. He had two players unmarked inside him waiting for a tap in, but he carried on himself with Dan Mortimer forcing him wider and the chance was gone. The Cooks only change came late on with Russell making way for Monteiro inside the final four minutes. A decent Bates cross beyond the far post was steered back across the goal by Culley, but like everything else we tried today it just didn’t come to anything as we suffered our first home defeat for several weeks.
Taking nothing away for Lutterworth who took their chances and deserved to win today, but well done to all the Cooks lads who gave it their all with a number of key players missing. It’s impossible to say in these situations, but had Jack Riley and Rico Alexander’s dominant figures been at the back today I doubt they would have been unchallenged on those vital headers and who knows what might have happened in the other end had the inform Dylan Wilson been sniffing around those balls in the box. It’s a long season and injuries and unavailability hit most teams so strength in depth is important, it’s just a shame that these all occurred in the same game as we faced one of the best teams in our division. Clinical hat-trick from Tendai Daire who now has 24 goals to his name this season and from what I have seen of him he still remains the best striker in the league in my opinion. They aren’t a one-man team though and they are solid from keeper, through the defence, across the midfield with the man to take the chances at the other end. All the best to Josh and his boys in their challenge at the top.
For the Cooks, I believe 4-0 was rather harsh on us today. We saw the post deny us twice, Warren Butlin made some very good saves and although it took us a while to get our passing game going, we did come right back into the game in the second half. Ryan Archer earns my man of the match today, covering well at the back, sharp in midfield and came close to grabbing his first goal for the club late on. Josh Adams, Will Bates, Tom Wakley and Archie Culley all impressed too, whilst its good to see Will Russell back in the fray and we know there is better to come from him as he finds his physical and match fitness once more. Last mention to referee Harry Price who has officiated us twice now this season and impressed on both occasions. Even Foe said he was really good which is praise beyond belief from the Cogenhoe President.
We have a week off now before hosting G.N.G Oadby Town next Saturday and hopefully we will have a bit more strength in the squad by then with key players returning and the possibility of a couple of new signings too if all goes well.
Cooks; 1. Craig Foxall 2. Will Bates 3. Josh Adams 4. Dan Mortimer 5. Alex Vaughan 6. Paddy Cichosz 7. Archie Culley 8. Ryan Archer 9. Tom Wakley 10. Will Russell (sub 12. Ivandro Monteiro 86) 11. Chief Boateng. Subs not used; 14. Matt Fletcher 15. Shad Reza 16. Nat Allam.
Swifts; 1. Warren Butlin 2. Kane Auld 3. Ryan Hodkinson 4. Mark Warren (sub 18. Raheem Abdul Sunmonu 59) 5. Jamie Cooper 6. Kade Lewis 7. Tom Marrs (sub 12. Justin Peace 73) 8. Reece Lefley 9. Marshal Keenan © 19. Craig Maisiri (sub 10. Rahman Abdul Sunmonu 66) 11. Tendai Daire. Sub not used; 17. Liam Smith.
Referee; Harry Price.
Assts; Don MacLarty & Gary Capps.