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Despite a decent first half, the Cooks can’t find a way back as AFC put four past them in Barwell.

Saturday 22nd October 2022





Purse (og) 3

Collins 29

Pegg 45+1

Rankin 62


McDonald 16


Att; 207


The Cooks travelled to Barwell to take on Midland League Division One side Hinckley AFC with our hosts having won all eight of their home games on the 3G surface so far, so a tricky afternoon looked in store. Scott Carlin put Ben Gough straight back into the starting line-up after missing the last five games and he partnered Luca Purse and Konnor Dixon in the centre of the defence, allowing Will Bates to move into a midfield role. Louie Barrett swapped wings to play down the left leaving Alex Parkes, Luke McDonald and Luke Andrews remaining in their midfield roles, with Pharrell Anderson and Jessi Obeng the two up-top. Regan Saunt returned in goal as Ash Bodycote is ineligible to play in the F.A Vase, whilst Jamie Hall had to make do with a place on the bench after missing the previous three games. He was joined by Craig Adams who has been suffering with a back injury this week, Lewis Green, Harley Mallard, Callum Farmer and keeper Ciaran Wells. Hinckley were skippered by former Rugby Town favourite Lewis Rankin and included leading scorer Chandler Pegg up front.

Cogenhoe had an early opportunity when Ben Birch was caught out by Obeng inside the box on the left and the Cooks striker cut inside him, but he curled his shot wide of the far post with just Brandon Bache between him and a first minute lead. It was the home side who were to take the lead though with just three minutes played as Matthew Dawson got past two half-hearted looking challenges inside the box on the right before firing the ball across the area and Purse stuck out a foot and diverted it into his own net with Collins just behind him waiting to pounce. The Cooks responded well to the set-back with Bates making a good run with the ball before exchanging passes with Anderson and having his legs taken from under him. The free-kick was 25-yards from goal and McDonald spotted an opening as he put the ball to the right of the wall and was unlucky to see it smack the base of the post with the keeper well beaten. The ball was half-cleared and Bates hit a powerful volley from 20-yards that hit a defender in the middle of the box. McDonald swung in the corner and Gough got his head to it first and Anderson, with his back to goal, laid it back to Gough who dinked over a cross that Luke Wilson headed out.

A very good cross from Dawson was headed across the face of goal by Pegg with Rankin unable to make it pay, then Saunt saved a Birch header from a corner and Purse cleared off the line when the ball was fired back in. Lewis Collins fed Jerome Agholar deep inside the box on the left and rather than play it across the danger area, he went for goal from a very tight angle and put it over the bar. The Cooks pulled themselves level with a lovely goal on 16 minutes as Anderson beat his man on the by-line before cutting back and sending over a superb cross that Luke McDonald rose to steer beyond the reach of the keeper with a deft header on the edge of the 6-yard box.

A penetrating run by Rankin ended when he appeared to take a dive on the edge of the box, then Bates won a header he had no right to get too and Anderson played in a good low cross that Wilson got too first and cleared up field. Purse defended well under pressure from Jack Edwards inside his own box just before Bates made a run that took him past two red shirts, but not Harry Walker-Donovan who stopped him with a good challenge. The ball ran to Andrews and his shot was blocked leaving Hinckley to break quickly through Collins, but he went for goal early from a long way out, assumedly trying to lift the ball over Saunt, but it didn’t get off the ground and was an easy save for the Cooks keeper. Barrett cut inside but placed a low shot wide of the target, then McDonald delivered a free-kick from in front of the home dug-out that Purse rose to win in the air before colliding with the keeper and even though Andrews rolled it into the net, the whistle had gone for a foul on Bache.

Having almost taken the lead a minute earlier, we trailed again on 29 minutes. Dixon had brought the ball away from his goal on the right flank and tried to play it up to Bates, but it was an easy header for Agholor who put It over Dixon into the wide-open space now behind him and Pegg took it into the box before picking out Lewis Collins at the far post who simply side-footed his team back in front. A great turn and shot by Anderson 20-yards out forced Bache to make a save and Obeng was first to the loose ball, but again the keeper did well to save his shot too. Jessi will know he should really have levelled the scores, but well done to the keeper for his quick recovery and the double save. McDonald sent over a good corner and Bates effort flicked a defender to loop over the bar, but referee and assistant can’t have seen this as a goal-kick was awarded.

Anderson’s pace took him away from his man and Edwards slid in to bring him down, earning the game’s first yellow card with 34 minutes played and we thought we had equalised from McDonald’s free-kick. Played in toward the far post, Purse won the header and the ball hit the angle of post and bar and from where I stood appeared to have gone in, but the assistant referee was in a better position to see than myself and indicated the ball hadn’t crossed the line and play went on. Dixon came off five minutes before half-time with Adams getting an earlier chance than expected as Biff reshuffled his pack. Bates moved to the back, Adams went left and Barrett returned to his usual right-flank. The game was a minute into first-half stoppage time, with the Cooks feeling they were a little unlucky not to be level, when they were dealt a savage blow to their hopes when Hinckley added a third goal on the break. Pegg was played through inside the box on the left by Agholor and appeared to scuff his shot, sending it looping over Saunt’s head and into the net. A massive blow for the Cooks having so nearly equalised and hitting the woodwork twice in the half, but they now had it all to do after the break.


Half-time; Hinckley 3 Cooks 1


The first shot of the second half fell to the home side as they attacked the Indoor Bowling Arena end as Rankin went for a goal direct from a free-kick given for a silly push, but Saunt was behind it all the way and was only mildly troubled. The first change for AFC saw Agholor make way for Adam Barber on 51 minutes and two minutes later Hall came on for Barrett as Cogenhoe went three up top with the latest sub now flanked by the pacy pair of Anderson and Obeng. A Gough free-kick from half-way was held high by Bache, then we were dealt another blow when Bates fell awkwardly following a challenge with the aggressor also landing on him leaving him on the deck. The Cooks man was unable to continue and Green took his place, which also meant we had used all our subs (only three allowed in the Vase) with only 57 minutes played.

An Adams corner and an Anderson cross, both from the right, were dealt with comfortably by the home defence, then on 62 minutes our ever-decreasing chances of getting back into this cup tie were all but ended. Rankin was put clear through the centre and when he shot as he got into the box, Gough managed to get a foot in, only to see the ball loop over Saunt and into the net. Ben Newport replaced Agholor and was soon in the action as he ran onto a good ball inside the box before going down under a challenge from Purse. There were a few shouts for a penalty, but the referee waved them away. The games final change came on 75 minutes when Rankin made way for James Reid in a direct swap. It was very nearly five when the sub got clear inside the box on the right and fired a low shot toward the far post, but Green did really well to get to the ball before it crossed the line and before Pegg’s sniper instincts could add another to his tally.

Anderson’s pace won a corner on the right that Adams sent over, but Purse’s header was just over the bar, then a deep McDonald free-kick was won in the air by Gough, but he couldn’t get behind it enough to get it on target. Adams pinged a ball up to Hall who got inside the box on the left and although he forced a save from Bache, he didn’t really strike the ball that cleanly as he cut inside. A great cross from Anderson saw Hall beaten in the air by Birch and with the last chance of the game, McDonald broke into the box on the left after Obeng had robbed Dawson, but Bache got down well to save his low effort at the near post.

A very entertaining first half for the 207 present, but that third goal in stoppage time had given Hinckley a two goal cushion to look after and they did that extremely well after the break. Both teams had looked dangerous going forward in the first 45 minutes and it looked like we might have another Milton Keynes on our hands, but it wasn’t to be the Cooks day and in the end Hinckley ran out worthy winners. All the best to them in the next round of the Vase and for the rest of the season, very good hosts and an excellent following for their level. A few names were thrown into the mix as we discussed the man-of-the-match late in the second half with McDonald, Purse, Parkes, Andrews and Anderson all mentioned, but the nod this week goes to Luke McDonald.

Don’t forget the Reserves are at home on Tuesday night when they host local rivals O.N Chenecks with a 7-45 kick-off, while the next first team game is also at home when we play West Bridgford in the second round of the league cup next Saturday.


Hinckley AFC; 1. Brandon Bache 2. Matt Dawson 3. Jerome Agholar (sub 17. Ben Newport 67) 4. Ben Birch 5. Luke Wilson 6. Joe McNulty (sub 12. Adam Barber 51) 7. Harry Walker-Donovan 8. Lewis Collins 9 Chandler Pegg 10. Lewis Rankin © (sub 14. James Reid 75) 11. Jack Edwards. Subs not used; 13. Tom Weale 15. Ryan Murphy 16. Fortune Sibanda 18. Lewis Padmore.

Yellow card; Edwards (34) Foul.

Cooks; 1. Regan Saunt 2. Will Bates (sub 12.Lewis Green 57) 3. Konnor Dixon (sub Josh Adams 40) 4. Alex Parkes 5. Luca Purse 6. Ben Gough © 7. Louie Barrett (sub 14. Jamie Hall 53) 8. Luke McDonald 9. Pharrell Anderson 10. Luke Andrews 11. Jessi Obeng. Subs not used. 16. Harley Mallard 17. Callum Farmer 18. Ciaran Wells.


Referee; Ben Woodward

Assts; Julia Kings & Cheryl Folkes.


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