A great game of football played in the right spirit saw the Reserves seal the points with three very well taken goals at a foggy Compton Park.
Saturday 15th January 2022
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-RESERVE DIVISION
COGENHOE UNITED Reserves (0) 3 KEMPSTON ROVERS Reserves (0) 0
Cogenhoe entertained high-flying Kempston Rovers Reserves on a distinctively cold and misty winter’s afternoon, with fingers crossed that the fog lingering on the not-too-distant horizon wouldn’t dropped down on the ground before 5pm.
The Cooks started well and got at Rovers from the kick off with a great pass from Ceepy Logongo that could have seen Jessi Obeng clear through on goal had his first touch of the game not been a little on the heavy side. Good battling by Matt Fletcher gave Alex Vaughan the chance to go past his man on the right and send over a dangerous ball into the centre to give Fletcher a great chance in the centre of the box, but he scuffed his shot a little and it proved easy for Alfie Bozward to save. Some excellent defending from Vaughan denied a shooting chance for William Mensah as he ran on to Jack Quigley’s measured pass, then Arsh Ali went for goal from a good 30-yards out, but it ended up nearer to the corner flag than the goal.
Quigley delivered a good free-kick into the box from the right that nobody attacked and went beyond the far post, then Fletcher and Logongo combined well inside the Kempston half to create a chance for Nick Fleming, but his snap-shot from the edge of the box went the wrong side of the near post. A strong run from Fleming saw Ben Mason strike his shot well from just inside the box on the right, but Max Marsh stretched to get his boot to the ball and it looped up safely into his keeper’s hands. Fleming nipped in to win possession deep inside the Rovers half and he tried to slip the ball through for Fletcher only for it to run through to the keeper, then another interception from the lively Fleming saw him play the ball right to Obeng who found Mason just inside the box, but this time Quigley blocked his well-struck shot and Kempston cleared their lines.
The first fifteen minutes had certainly belonged to Cogenhoe, but Kemspton were now getting themselves going and starting to cause problems inside the Cooks half. A clever flick put Josh Davey through inside the box and Ben Westwood had to come off his line quickly and get a touch that sent the striker wider than he would have liked and as a result he could only find the side netting form a very tight angle when he finally had a shot. Logongo was booked for going in from behind on Corey Bulley in front of the dug-outs and Quigley again curled the free-kick in towards the far post and although Tarik Dallas did his best to try and get a touch, the result was the same as his previous effort as it went wide of the far post. A great tackle from Jake Walpole robbed Angus McGuiness of a chance after Mensah’s pass had picked him out, whilst Ben Short became the second Cooks player to be booked following a slightly late challenge about 30-yards from the Cooks goal in a central position. It was no surprise when Quigley lined it up. He had acres of space to go over the three-man wall and get it down and he did just that, but unfortunately for him, despite beating Westwood, his shot smacked against the crossbar.
Davey slipped a great ball through to Quigley, but Westwood had read the danger and came out to the edge of his box to save the ensuing shot with his legs as he spread himself well. The Cooks had the ball in the net when Mason fired home from Obeng’s pass, but the flag was up for offside and it didn’t count. Walpole won the ball with a well-timed tackle just inside his own half and played the ball through for Mason to break into the box on the left, but a very strong and perfectly timed challenge by Angelo Moscaritolo stopped him in his tracks, with the Kempston skipper quickly back on his feet to deny Fletcher a chance of putting the loose ball back into the box. Davey put a shot across the face of the goal and wide from the left, whilst down the other end Walpole played a long ball wide to Vaughan on the right and he did well to hold it up and cut inside to run into the box where he went down under the challenge from Ali, but referee Paul Speakman waved play on as Kemspton now broke quickly down the left, but Westwood was again quick to come off his line to make things difficult before he saved Davey’s shot.
Davey saw a low strike from outside the box easily gathered by the keeper then a good strike from Quigley was saved well by Westwood, with the young keeper recovering quickly to dive to his right to save a low shot from Claudio Aca that was heading just inside the post. Walpole put his body on the line to block a powerful strike from Quigley, the same Rovers player then forced a save out of Westwood from the rebound and finally Aca put the ball back across the face of the goal from the left, only for it to go beyond the far post for a goal-kick. The half-time whistle blew with an entertaining game still goalless as the Cooks had enjoyed the better of the early play, but Kemspton had been the better side for much of the rest of the half, but hadn’t managed to break through against a solid Cooks defence.
Half-time; Cooks 0 Kempston 0
Kempston made one change at the break, but the Cooks were as you were as the fog thankfully stayed on the hills leaving us with just the Billing Mist to watch the game through. Cogenhoe again started the half well and Fletcher forced Bozward to turn the ball around the post for a corner as he went for goal from a tight angle following a good run into the box on the left. Logongo played a lovely free-kick into the box that Mason couldn’t control as it came off his shin as he attempted to pounce, but on 53 minutes the Cooks drew first blood. Cogenhoe had broken quickly with a good ball out of defence that saw Fletcher go past his man and play a superb angled ball across the box that Mason left for Logongo behind him, and he planted his shot first time past the keeper and into the back of the net from 8-yards out. The perfect breakaway goal really as we quickly turned defence into attack with some lovely passes and capped it off with a confident finish.
Westwood was again brave as he came out to the edge of his box to dive at the feet of Davey, but the Kemspton striker had another chance a couple of minutes later, but slipped as he shot with the ball flying over the bar from a good position. Davey picked out an unmarked Bulley inside the box on the right and he perhaps should have done more with the ball which allowed Walpole to get across and block his shot. A great run from Vaughan saw him go past at least two opponents at pace to break into the box on the right and he clipped the ball across the face of goal (I believe looking for the far corner of the goal), but it was just off target and a little too far ahead of Mason who would have had a simple header had it been a couple of feet the other way. A good run down the left by Fletcher ended with his cross being cut out, then Short won the ball in the centre and fed Obeng to his right who played the ball inside to Mason on the edge of the box. The striker turned, but with the ball at an awkward height, he couldn’t get round his shot enough and it was a yard-or-so off target.
Westwood was again called into action to frustrate Davey on the edge of the box with the game now fast-and-furious as it went from end-to-end. A double change for the Cooks on 66 minutes saw Sam Russell and Luca Iaciofano replacing Walpole and Obeng respectively, with the latter making an instant impact on the game. Mason slipped a great ball through to Iaciofano who had timed his run into the box to perfection and with his very first touch of the ball, he steered it past the keeper and inside the far post. Another excellent goal from the Cooks respective with the defence split by the pass and the finish as cool as you can get, putting the Cooks 2-0 up with 67 minutes played.
The Cooks were now managing the game well with Kempston looking a little shell-shocked and on 75 minutes the score became 3-0 with an absolute beauty of a goal. Short’s battling had originally won possession for the Cooks and went it came back to him in space 30-yards out, he hit the perfect dipping shot that flew over the keeper’s head and dropped under the bar before crashing into the back of the net. The keeper wasn’t too far off his line and it was struck with precision, but Short needs to work on his goal celebration I think as highly-subdued would possibly be the best description as he walked back towards his own half.
Mason had put in a real shift and was starting to cramp up a little, so Obeng returned up front for the final quarter-of-an-hour and he was soon joined in the dug-out by Short who was also showing signs of fatigue as Isaac Appiah took his place in central midfield. Kempston sub Ben Cherry hit a decent effort from just beyond the right angle of the penalty area, but Westwood got down to hold on to it without looking unduly troubled. Caleb Jones came on for Solollari for the final few minutes, but the game was over by now as Cogenhoe saw things out for a very impressive 3-0 win.
Obviously I don’t get to see the reserves very often as first team duties take priority, but I have to say I was very impressed by this performance and they way everybody gave their all against a very good Kempston side. When you consider a lot of these players hadn’t been in action for almost a month due to the Christmas break and the postponement of last week’s game, a number of players were really fighting hard against aching muscles as the game went on, but they pushed through the pain barrier to see the job through. Ben Westwood looks an excellent signing in goal, whilst Matt Fletcher must be given a mention for his sheer effort today as he gave his all, despite playing most of the game for the U18s less than 48 hours previous as we were taken to task by the professionals of Northampton Town. It was good to see Ceepy Logongo come through his first 90 minutes after a year out through injury and once fully fit he will be a real boost to the first team squad, whilst Alex Vaughan impressed as he completed the game after spending the last few matches on the bench for the first team. The whole team today can take real pride in their performance, especially the defence and midfield in the first half when we were being pushed back by Kempston and a big part of winning this game was not conceding during the first half, whilst the lads up front took over after the break as we scored three totally different, but all very good goals. I was impressed by the Kempston dug-out who were always trying to encourage their team to play football and even though they must have been frustrated at losing 3-0 after their performance, were gracious in defeat too. I wish them luck for the rest of the season.
The next match for the club sees the U18s at home again on Thursday night with Kempston Rovers yet again our guests as we meet again in the Northants Senior Youth League.
Cooks; 1. Ben Westwood 2. Alex Vaughan 3. Lorenco Soulollori (sub 14. Caleb Jones 86) 4. Ben Short (sub 12. Isaac Appiah 74) 5. Nat Allam 6. Jake Walpole © (sub 17. Sam Russell 67) 7. Matt Fletcher 8. Nick Fleming 9. Jessi Obeng (sub 16. Luca Iaciofano 66) 10. Ceepy Logongo 11. Ben Mason (sub 9. Obeng ret. 76).
Yellow cards; Logongo (19) Foul. Short (23) Foul.
Kempston; 1. Alfie Bozward 2. Corey Bulley 3. Max Marsh (sub 12. Shane Wright 79) 4. Claudio Aca 5. Angelo Moscaritolo © 6. Tarik Dallas 7. Arsh Ali 8. Jack Quigley (sub 15. Ben Cherry 79) 9. Josh Davey (sub 14. Jesse Sidhu 67) 10. Angus McGuiness 11. William Mensah (sub 16. Jordan Brown ht). Sun not used 17. Giovanni Moscaritolo.
Referee; Paul Speakman.