After an encouraging first 45 minutes, the Cooks totally lose their way in the second half as Easington take the points.
Saturday 1st October 2022
UHLSPORT UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE – PREMIER DIVISION SOUTH
EASINGTON SPORTS (0) 2 COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0
It has been a busy couple of days from Scott Carlin with the fruits of his labour being two debutants today. Ash Bodycote has joined on a three-month loan from Rugby Town with the former Long Buckby and Rothwell Corinthians keeper taking over from Regan Saunt, whilst at the other end of the pitch, Jamie Hall started up front after transferring from Bugbrooke St Michaels. Hall taking the place of Jessi Obeng who had to travel to Italy and wasn’t able to make it back in time for the game. Ben Gough and Paddy Cichosz are both still missing, so Mitch White continued to wear the captain’s armband. Easington boss Andy Sharman had a couple of suspensions to contend with so brought in Sam Sherpa-Moore and Charlie Killie into starting line-up from the side that had lost 1-0 at Newport on Tuesday night.
The Cooks made a bright start and went close when Josh Adam’s free-kick was met by the head of Hall, but Adam Doyle was able to block it and when the rebound fell to Will Bates just inside the box, his well-struck volley hit a defender and with most of the pace being taken off the shot, it was bread and butter for Doyle to save. Luca Purse received the ball back from Hall and sent over a dangerous cross that the keeper managed to touch away at the far post, putting it just beyond the reach of the incoming White. Pharrell Anderson won a corner off Killie down the right and Adams whipped the ball into to near post where Hall got up to win the header, but couldn’t get over it enough to keep it on target.
Hall back-heeled Barrett through on the right, but the winger’s touch was too heavy and it ran through to the keeper, then Hall tried to play Anderson clear inside the box with a lob over the top, but Tom Smith read it well and nodded it back to Doyle. Anderson and Alex Parkes battled hard for possession just inside the Sports half and the former broke away down the left before pulling the ball back to the latter on the edge of the box, but he was denied a shot by a timely challenge from Smith. Anderson broke down the left again and this time sent a low ball across the box to Hall, but Killie challenged the striker as he looked like he was about to slot the ball home and referee Harry Price waved away the appeals for a penalty and awarded Sports a goal-kick.
Great play from White down the left saw him beat his man a deliver a cross that had to be put behind by a defender, then Barrett and Bates, who had swapped places on the right, combined with the latter sending in a cross that Smith did well to cut out in the centre. Adams tried to burst through the centre and found himself challenged by Sherpa-Moore and James Watts at the same time and was awarded a free-kick just outside the box. Harsh one this on Easington as their player had taken the ball rather than the man. White lined it up and struck it cleanly, but it was a few inches to high to trouble the keeper. Hall got his head to a Purse throw at the near post and Dan Watkin tried to head it behind him, but fortunately for the Sports defender he missed it as he may well have steered it past his own keeper who had stepped across to claim the ball.
It looked like Hall had put Anderson clear through just inside the Sports half, but a full-stretch and vital interception from Skipper Joe Eyre saved his side, then Adams tried to feed White inside the box, but the Doyle stepped out to dive on the ball. Adams played a good low ball inside to Luke McDonald deep inside the box and he tried to steer it back to Hall, but only found a defender, then we went the closest we had been so far when Barrett stepped inside his man before hitting a low shot from the right edge of the box that was heading for the far corner when Doyle dived across and got his hand to the ball, diverting it round the post. McDonald played the corner in towards the far post and Doyle lost it under the challenge with Hall and although Bates volley was blocked, the referee blew up for a foul on the keeper. A corner on the opposite side was sent in by Adams and Purse rose to meet it with his head, but he directed it the wrong side of the far post.
As we entered the final five minutes of the half, the Cooks finally had to do some defending and Purse had to turn a decent low Eyre cross behind for a corner. Callum Convey played it in and Bodycote punched it out as far as Jack Fountain on the edge of the box and he hit the ball first time as it dropped, but his effort went wide of the far post. Convey had a couple more corners as we reached the end of the half, but Cogenhoe defended them well and went into the break wondering how they hadn’t turned all this pressure into at least one goal.
Half-time; Easington 0 Cooks 0
No changes at the break in personnel, but the dynamics had certainly swung in favour of the Banbury team as they started the half on top. George Coombes was shown the yellow card two minutes in for a foul on Purse, whilst a good run and cross from Sherpa-Moore saw Bates do well to cut it out. First blood went to the home side, which had looked unlikely at the break, but was very much with the run of play now with 55 minutes gone. A free-kick was played in from the right by Convey and Coombes got ahead of his man and was able to reach out his leg and steer the ball past Bodycote from close range. Cogenhoe needed to respond now and Brad Marshall headed over in the centre from an Adams corner, but on the hour mark the home side doubled their lead. Jack Fountain worked his way in from the left side and along the edge of the box before swivelling to place a low shot beyond the dive of Bodycote and just inside the keeper’s right-hand post. Bates had tried to get across to make a challenge, but he had no help in trying close his man down as a couple of his team-mates watched on as the Sports player doubled the home team’s advantage.
Fountain then made a run through the middle before firing a shot just over as we appeared a little shell-shocked to find ourselves 2-0 down. Barrett was booked for a trip on Ibrahima Gueye and we should have gone even further behind when Convey opened us up with his free-kick on the right, but Killie failed to make contact right in front of goal when he only needed a touch. Carlin brought on Louie Martin on 63 minutes in place of Parkes as he tried to spark some life back into the Cooks and we won a throw in what had become a rare foray into enemy territory. Bates delivered and Marshall headed it across the box where White tried an ambitious overhead kick that went several yards into the air before coming down beyond the perimeter wall and into the car park.
Convey, who had committed a few fouls, saw yellow for a trip on White, but it was the home side who should have extended their lead shortly afterwards when Sherpa-Moore was given a free header just beyond the far post from a cross from the left. His effort looped across the goal and hit the post just below bar height and Coombes couldn’t beat Bodycote from a yard out as he pounced, then with the keeper still recovering, Gueye fired the second rebound over the bar from close range, when he only needed to steer it home in reality. Bates got on to a quickly taken free-kick and headed for the box where he was caught late by Smith who became the third Sports player to be shown the yellow card. The free-kick was central and about 21-yards out and although Martin struck it well, it flew a foot over the bar.
A double change for the Cooks saw Adams and Hall given a breather as Harry Mallard and Josh Jones came on for the final 13 minutes of normal time. Easington also made a change at this point with Gueye making way for Luke Swann. Barrett tried to pick out Bates’ run into the far post from wide on the left, but he put a little too much into his pass for his teammate to reach it, then we went into another flurry of subs late on as Kodi Briggs replaced McDonald for the Cooks and shortly afterwards the home side swapped Fountain and soon afterwards the injured Watkin for Elijah Coe and then Jack Herbert. Watts fired just wide from the edge of the box as timed ticked away and with the last move of the game, Bates and Briggs combined nicely down the left, but Bates shot was blocked and the referee brought proceedings to an end.
A very disappointing result after our first half domination, but it would appear that we are still in the changing rooms from half-time, even as I type this. Fair play to Easington who stepped up their game right from the 46th minute and took two of the chances they created, but where we? They also must be given credit for the way they managed the game after those two quick goals in all fairness.
I liked the look of Jamie Hall who, although looking a little rusty, looked like he will be a threat up top and he offers something we have been lacking in that role. My man-of-the-match this week goes to Mitch White, mainly for his first half performance I’ll admit as we as a team went missing in action after the break. We need to put this defeat behind us quickly though as we prepare for next Saturday’s league cup tie at home to Rainworth Miners Welfare and hopefully the start of another cup run.
Easington; 1. Adam Doyle 2. Sam Sherpa-Moore 3. Joe Eyre © 4. Tom Smith 5. Dan Watkin (sub 15. Jack Herbert 88) 6. Charlie Killie 7. James Watts 8. Callum Convey 9. George Coombes 10. Jack Fountain (sub 12. Elijah Coe 85) 11. Ibrahima Gueye (sub 14. Luke Swann 77). Sub not used; 16. Ollie Rose.
Yellow cards; Coombes (47) Foul. Convey (67) Foul. Smith (75) Foul.
Cooks; 1. Regan Saunt 2. Will Bates 3. Josh Adams (sub 15. Harley Mallard 77) 4. Alex Parkes (sub 16. Louie Martin 63) 5. Brad Marshall 6. Luca Purse 7. Louie Barrett 8. Luke McDonald (sub 14. Kodi Briggs 83) 9. Pharrell Anderson 10. Mitch White © 12. Jamie Hall (sub 17. Josh Jones 77). Sub not used; 13. Regan Saunt.
Yellow card; Barrett (62) Foul.
Referee; Harry Price
Assts; Kevan Atkins & Wyndham Trusler