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The U18s came out on top in an entertaining encounter against Cranfield.

Thursday 23rd September 2021





McGrath 10, 17

Own Goal 45+1

Reza 83


#5 60 (pen)

#8 61

Att; 64


Chris Hewett and Gary Fletcher took charge of the U18s without Darren Long for the first time as they played host to Cranfield United, with the visitors bringing plenty of support along with them which is a real credit on their club.

Both sides had half-chances in the first few minutes in an open start to the game without the keeper’s being unduly troubled. Hanley was the first keeper to make a save from Tom Hayward’s low shot, then Noel sent over a dangerous free-kick from wide right that a defender did well to get his head to at the far post with a Cooks player just behind him. Iaciofano’s took the resulting flag kick from the left and the visitors couldn’t get it away with the ball dropping in front of debutant McGrath in the 6-yard box and he fired it into the back of the net.

Hawes ran past his man and fired a shot just over the bar from the edge of the box, then the same player had another effort from the right side of the box blocked. Hayward put his shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post from a good position and moment s later Iaciofano beat the keeper with a great effort that hit the bar and when the ball was played right to Asante, he cut in to the box and forced a save at the near post to earn a corner. Noel swung this one in and McGrath rose to meet it with a powerful header that gave the keeper no chance, doubling the lead with 17 minutes played.

Iaciofano forced a save out of the keeper, but the visitor’s no. 1 made an even better stop when Hawes lifted the ball over his head on the volley from Wootton’s dink over the top, forcing a him to turn the ball over the bar with his fingertips. Cogenhoe were now enjoying a good spell and Asante broke down the right before finding Iaciofano just inside the box, but his shot was narrowly the wrong side on the post. The Cranes were just off target with a header, then their no.5 let fly from outside the box on the right with the ball moving all over the place and in the end wasn’t too far over the top.

A strong run from no. 10 from the half way line saw him hit a powerful effort just over and then Iaciofano turned inside his man before hitting a good effort that was just over the bar. As we headed into stoppage time, Iaciofano battled inside the box to try and make space for a shot, but as the ball went across the area the unfortunate no. 3 got his foot to the ball and sliced it up in the air and it looped over his keeper’s head for an own goal. Good play by Luca to cause problems for the defence, but tough on the defender.


HT- Cooks 2 Cranfield 0


Cranfield really came out with all guns firing as they dominated the early stages of the second half. No. 5 headed over from a corner whilst Hanley had no trouble as he took a 25-yard free-kick comfortably. Cogenhoe made their first changes on 54 minutes as Reza and Hassan-Hussein came on for McGrath and Iaciofano.

The Cranes won a penalty on the hour when Archie Shaw brought down Hayward in the box after a great piece of play from the striker and no. 5 smashed it into the top corner with an unstoppable spot-kick. Cranfield certainly deserved the goal and it was game-on now at Compton Park. It became even more interesting sixty-seconds later when they reduced the deficit to just one goal after the no. 8 tried a shot from a tight angle and it squeezed past Hanley and rolled over the line just inside the back post.

Cranfield had a player booked for dissent just before Cogenhoe brought on Freddie Shaw for Burbidge. The only bad foul of the night came after 75 minutes when the no.8 left Wootton needing treatment for a painful knock. He was left on the floor as the referee played the advantage but Reza fouled his man to allow his stricken teammate to have some treatment. The Cranes subbed off their man but the referee called him back on to show him the yellow card before he could get into the dug-out. Jones came on for the injured Wootton who was at least able to hobble off using his own steam.

Reza cut inside before firing a shot wide from the edge of the box just before Ashman replaced Hawes with nine minutes remaining. The game had long since evened out again by now, but the next goal was vital and it came on 83 minutes with the best of the game. Reza cut across his man before releasing an unstoppable effort from just inside the box that flew into the far corner. Great piece of finishing and a massive weight off the shoulders of his teammates.

Freddie Shaw made a good angled run that ended when he was brought down just outside the box on the right angle to give Reza a view of goal, but his free-kick took a deflection wide and that proved to be the last effort at goal of the game.


First three points on the board for the young Cooks although fair play to Cranfield who made this a very entertaining game. We are back here next Thursday when we entertain Biggleswade Town in the NSYL as we look to build on tonight’s win.



1 = Kai Hanley

2 = Manny Asante

3 = Elijah Noel

4 = James McGrath

5 = Archie Shaw

6 = Josh Wootton

7 = Luca Iaciofano

8 = Brad Burbidge ©

9 = Charlie McAuley

10 = Ollie Sljivic

11 = Aiden Hawes


12 = Freddie Shaw *(72-8)

14 = Caleb Jones *(75-6)

15 = Shad Reza *(54-7)

16 = Kieran Ashman *(81-11)

17 = Ben Hassan-Hussein *(54-4)


Referee; Jamie Stevenson

Assts; Jack Walton & Aaron Lloyd

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