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Late winner sinks the Cooks in Bedfordshire.

Monday 11th October 2021





1 (pen), 78, 88


Wootton 51

Iaciofano 55


Gary Fletcher was joined in the dug-out tonight by Damien McGrath as the Under-18s travelled across the border into Bedfordshire to face a so far inconsistent Kempston Rovers who had lost 0-1 to Biggleswade Town last week, the team we had beaten 8-0. There were a few changes to the line-up tonight with Elijah Noel, Charlie McAuley and Freddie Shaw being replaced by Caleb Jones, Andis Vigants and Aiden Hawes in the starting eleven.


It really wasn’t the start we wanted as the Kempston 11 cut in along the bye-line and got past one defender before being upended by the second inside the box to win a first minute penalty. The home no. 8 calmly placed the spot-kick to Sapwell’s right and we trailed very early on, but at least we had another 89 minutes to put things right again. It was so nearly 2-0 shortly afterwards when a really well struck drive from the left side of the box beat the keeper, but hit the base of the far post. The first opening at the other end was carved by Iaciofano who got the better of his man on the left corner of the box and cut inside before curling his shot around Arun Khan, but unfortunately also the far post.

Iaciofano sent over a cross on the run that was just a bit too deep, then he played a low angled ball across the box that was inches ahead of Hawes at the back post who would have had a tap in had he reached it. Asante won the ball in midfield and ran through to the box before playing a one-two with Hawes and forcing a save out of Khan, but the flag had been raised against Asante on the return ball so it wouldn’t have counted anyway. A lovely move from the Cooks saw Iaciofano given the ball inside the box on the left and he beat his man to take the ball to the line before pulling it back across to Vigants inside the 6-yard box. It really needed a first time shot from the striker, but he got the ball stuck between his feet as he tried to control it and the chance was gone.

Sapwell saved at his near post after a quick break from the hosts, then Sljivic broke well down the right before sending a low cross inside that Khan took at his near post. Reza went for goal with a free-kick a good thirty yards from goal, but he didn’t get enough behind it and it went wide after the bounce. Sapwell made another comfortable save at his near post and then the Kempston no. 11 was unlucky with a free-kick from just inside the box that curled narrowly wide.

Asante played a good ball to Iaciofano inside the box on the right and did well with his shot being blocked for a corner, but in truth it hadn’t been a good half for the Cooks and we headed into the break trailing to that first minute penalty.


Half-time; Rovers 1 Cooks 0


No changes for the Cooks at the break, but we started this half well and looked more like the Cogenhoe we have seen over the last few matches and we soon found ourselves back on level terms. Iaciafano was brought down just outside the box on the left leaving Reza the chance to put in the free-kick. The angle wasn’t great, but he probably considered the shot might be on, but instead he delivered a great ball to the far post where Josh Wootton met it with a powerful header that gave the keeper no chance at all. 1-1 after 51 minutes.

Cogenhoe continued to press and a good move started by Vigants saw Hawes find Iaciofano on the left and his lovely dinked cross saw Hawes force a great save out of Khan, diving to his right to get a hand to the ball just inside the post. The pressure paid off again though in the 55th minute when Wootton split the defence with a great pass to Luca Iaciofano inside the box and steered the ball past the outcoming keeper to give the Cooks the lead.

Sapwell was forced into a couple of fairly routine saves, the second of which was actually a great chance for Kempston after a good move. Fletcher started to make the changes with McAuley replacing Vigants on 68 minutes and Reza making way for Tanea Simon six minutes later. The game was now being played out mainly in the midfield with no real chances being created by either side, but on 78 minutes the hosts drew level with a goal somewhat out of the blue. A ball over the top was pursued by Iaciofano, but Khan raced out of his goal to launch the ball downfield and we were caught totally flat as the Kempston no.10 ran clear. Sapwell came off his line but hesitated and left himself stranded allowing the Rovers man to fire home a simple equaliser.

Wootton was shown the yellow card, assumedly for time-wasting as he delayed a Kemspton free-kick. The home no.2 was also cautioned shortly afterwards as he brought down Iaciofano just outside the box just before the Cooks created a decent chance which saw Wootton hit a good low strike as he ran on to the ball just outside the box. Khan saved but spilled the shot leaving McAuley to slide in and hit the ball against the keeper, but as the ball ran loose the referee blew for a foul against the Cooks sub.

The last change saw Ben Hassan Hussein given the last four minutes in place of Hawes. With just a couple of minutes remaining, Kemspton struck an absolute beauty from around 25-yards out that flew past Sapwell and just under the bar as it screamed into the roof of the net. Much jubilation from the home side who piled on to the pitch to celebrate with their match-winning hero. Sapwell made a great challenge on the edge of the box to deny the home side a fourth that would certainly have been harsh on the Cooks, but U18s football is still very much a learning curve as the lads hope to break into senior football for the first time.


We weren’t at our best today and the changes probably didn’t help us settle early in the game, but we had a great spell in the second half which could have seen us get into a winning position. Well done to Kempston who looked a decent side and showed great spirit to come back and win the game at the death.




1 – Will Sapwell

2 – Ollie Sljivic ©

3 – Caleb Jones

4 – Archie Shaw

5 – James McGrath

6 – Josh Wootton

7 – Luca Iaciofano

8 – Manny Asante

9 – Andis Vigants

10 – Shad Reza

11 – Aiden Hawes


12 – Tenea Simon *(74-10)

14 – Elijah Noel

15 – Charlie McAuley *(68-9)

16 – Ben Hassan-Hussein *(84-11)

17 – Nathaniel Allam


Referee; David Froom

Assts; Wyndham Trusler & Ian Brown.

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