The finishing still needs work, but it was much-improved Cogenhoe today as they overcame a potential banana skin in the improving Raunds Town.
Saturday 4th September 2022
ISUZU F.A VASE – 2ND ROUND QUALIFYING
COGENHOE UNITED (1) 2 RAUNDS TOWN (0) 0
Anderson 76 (pen)
For the first time this season there was a whiff of Autumn in the air as the breeze brought a distinct chill to Compton Park as we hosted Spartan South Midlands League Division one side Raunds Town in the F.A Vase. Scott Carlin was forced into one change as skipper Ben Gough picked up an injury playing for his college team in midweek, so Luca Purse came in for his first start since suffering from shin-splints and Mitch White took over the captain’s armband. Josh Adams returned from injury in place of Kodi Briggs who had picked up a knock last week and Jessi Obeng returned up front after being away last Saturday. Briggs was named amongst the subs, but Luke Andrews dropped down to the reserves today. Raunds Town had Ed Bates on the bench today, brother of our very own Will with the family in attendance wondering which team to support today.
The Cooks were very quickly into their stride and Adams had the first shot of the game within 20-seconds as his low strike from just outside the box was gathered safely by George Anthony just inside his right-hand post. Pharrell Anderson broke down the right and sent over a low cross that Rio Henry cut out for a corner, then Bates won another corner after beating his man on the same side of the field. Adams whipped the corner in and Purse tried to steer it home on the volley at the near post, but put his effort went the wrong side of the post. White battled hard for the ball just outside the box with Adams running on to the ball and hitting a first time shot from the left corner of the box that Anthony got down to save. Barrett made a good run down the right before winning another corner off Kurt Randall. Adams corner wasn’t successfully cleared and it came to White just inside the box and he struck it well, but couldn’t get it through the crowd and when the ball came to Barrett on the edge of the box, he sliced his shot over the bar.
Good running from Obeng opened up the defence a little and Alex Parkes tried to play him clear, but the keeper came off the line to dive at his feet with the Cooks only winning a corner. Adams sent over another good one and this time Will Bates got ahead of his man and rose the send an unstoppable header past the keeper and the Cooks had broken the deadlock with 13 minutes played. The Cooks had dominated to the opening minutes of this game and the goal really did come at a vital time as the Raunds defence had shown signs that they were going to continually frustrate us.
A decent ball from Rich Boah saw Brad Marshall get an important touch to in the box and Adams nipped in behind him to take the ball away from Tyrone Konde. Ashley Henry-Brown ran on to the loose ball about 20-yards from goal and he hit a first time shot that appeared to go wide, but as referee Scott Hanna pointed to the corner flag, it must have either taken a deflection along the way, or Regan Saunt had got his fingertips to it. It didn’t really matter as such though as the corner kick was put straight behind and was more of a threat to those standing on the covered terrace than it was to the Cogenhoe goal. Another corner to the visitors, this time on the left, saw the ball come to an unmarked Randall level with the far post and his controlled volley was well-placed, but so was Adams who headed it off the line. Adams was next in action in the other half as he did really well to keep the ball in and get it under control before sending Anderson down the flank and he sent over a looping cross that Anthony took cleanly above his head.
Bates was penalised for the challenge just outside the box in fairly central position and I had the perfect angle as he struck it wide of the wall with Regan Saunt nowhere to be seen and the keeper was fortunate that the shot hit the outside of the post and went behind for a goal-kick. Saunt and Mihail Baduleanu collided shortly afterwards and both required some lengthy treatment with the Raunds forward coming off worse and although he tried to continue, he was soon replaced by Corey Beattie. A great run by Obeng saw him get away from a number of defenders to work his way into the box, but his shot was over the bar, then Adams won the ball and found Anderson who gave it Obeng, but when he tried to cut inside, he was dispossessed before he could get into a shooting position.
Boah chased a long ball over the top, but Saunt came off his line quickly and headed the ball away just outside his box, then back down the village end more great play from Adams gave Obeng the chance to cross. His effort was blocked by Dean McBride at the near post, with the ball flying across the box and White launched himself at it with a diving header that forced Anthony to throw himself to his right and make a great one-handed save. Adams ensuing corner was met first by the head of a defender, but it fell to White a couple of yards inside the box and he volleyed over the bar. Good work by Anderson led to a lovely Barrett cross that White headed over, whilst down the other end Marshall had to head behind Konde’s cross at the expense of a corner to the visitors. A great move involving Adams, Obeng and Luke McDonald saw the latter play in Barrett inside the box on the right, but he chose to go for the shot and blazed it wide from an ever-tightening angle when he had three players waiting for the ball in the middle. Cameron Harris became the first player to be shown the yellow card after bringing down Bates near the right corner-flag and with the game already deep into stoppage time, that proved to be the last incident of note in the first half.
It had been a dominant 45-minutes from the Cooks and in truth they could have wrapped this one up already, but those chances need to be put away.
Half-time; Cooks 1 Raunds 0
Just as they had done in the first-half, the Cooks were pressing straight away and a lovely ball in by Adams from the left saw Anderson flick it goalward on the volley with the ball clipping the top of the bar as it went over. Konde had a chance to get the ball into the danger-zone from inside the box on the right, but he sliced it straight behind for a goal-kick. Barrett and Bates combined well and created a crossing chance for McDonald, but his effort was cut out and ran to White, whose first-time shot couldn’t pierce the red and black barricades between him and the target. Parkes hit a decent shot from 25-yards that Anthony caught at head height, then White’s low drive from a similar distance was taken low down by the Raunds keeper.
After this flurry of action, the game started to get rather scrappy for a time, although the Shopmates were now having more and more possession in their opponents half without really troubling the Cooks defence. Anderson did really well to beat his man and get deep into the box before cutting the ball back to White just inside the box. He struck it nicely but his shot was blocked, as was Adams’ first-time effort as he pounced on the loose ball on the edge of the box. Adams sent over a cross that was sliced wide by a defender and McDonald sent in a high, in-swinging corner that was over the reach of the keeper and drifted just wide of the far post as it dropped. Parkes played the ball up to Obeng who steered it to his right for Barrett and he pulled it back to McDonald who hit the sweetest of low shots that flew inches wide of the far post with the keeper totally beaten.
A great ball from Parkes saw Anderson touch it right to Obeng and he dinked over a cross that went right over the 6-yard box without anybody able to get a touch. Adams bust a gut to keep the ball in play and laid it back to Purse, but his cross was won by a defender and cleared up the field. Raunds made a second change as Jordan Johnson came on with 67 minutes played and it was the visitors who showed next on the break when Beattie played a good ball through to Boah, but he looked a little startled to find himself in this position and hurriedly scuffed his shot wide of the near post, but Raunds we now pushing for an equaliser, spurred on by the Cooks not taking their chances down the other end.
The impressive Parkes made way for Josh Jones on 71 minutes in an attacking move as Carlin tried to finally kill this game off and four minutes later, they had the chance to do just that. Barrett played the ball in low from the right and Anderson got there first in front of Dean McBride and with the Shopmates’ skipper already committed to the challenge, he caught Anderson late and Mr Hanna had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Pharrell is the man on the spot these days and he stepped up to hit a very well-struck low penalty to the keeper’s left and although Anthony dived the right way, he had no chance of getting his hand to it and the Cooks had finally doubled their lead with 76 minutes gone.
Anderson was checked by McBride as he broke through a minute after the goal, with the Raunds man picking up a yellow card, then sixty-seconds later both Anderson and Adams were given well deserves rests with Louie Martin and Harley Mallard getting a run-out for the final twelve minutes. Barrett cut inside from the left flank where he was now positioned and White chipped a lovely ball over the flat back four and Obeng sprinted in behind and although he stretched to lift the ball over Anthony’s head, his effort also cleared the crossbar. Bates sent Jones running into the box with his ball over the top, but Anthony took it well after it bounced high in the centre, then McDonald broke inside the box on the right and fired in a low cross-shot that Anthony saved at his near post.
Joe Freeman made way for Zonde Chunga late on in the game’s final change just before Barrett played the ball to Martin who stepped inside and tried to curl one into the far top corner from 20-yards out and his effort wasn’t too far over the top. Anthony was again called into action as he got down at his near post to save Obeng’s shot after the Cooks player had cut through the defence inside the box. White picked up a very unnecessary yellow card late on after bringing down Boah who had got away from him just inside the Cooks half in front of the dug-out, then Martin saw a shot from the right corner of the box deflect wide of the near post for a corner. Martin took it himself and in similar fashion to McDonald’s earlier effort, he very nearly curled it straight in at the far post with the keeper beaten and Purse unable to get a vital touch. Saunt caught a 30-yarder from Jack Cawkill-Robins above his head, then the Cooks keeper did well to hold a free-kick played in by the same player as he jumped amid a crowd of players inside his penalty area. Obeng had the last shot of the game after working the edge of the box, but his effort was just wide and the referee was soon to bring down the curtain on Raunds F.A Vase dreams for another season.
The Cooks go into the draw for the next round which will be held on Monday lunchtime and we will endeavour to bring you the news of who we meet next as soon as we can. It was a much-improved performance on last week’s showing and there is no doubt that we deserved to win today, but I would like to give some praise to Raunds who have improved ten-fold since I saw them hammered at Real Bedford just a couple of weeks ago. In caretaker managers Dean McBride and Luke Aridegbe they have two people who really care about the club and have clearly instilled some pride into their squad and I hope they are given the chance take the club forward.
As for the Cooks, plenty of good performances out there today, but we really need to be a lot more clinical in front of goal and finish teams off. Quite a few calls for man-of-the-match for me today with Alex Parkes, Pharrell Anderson and Will Bates all superb, but my nod has to go to Josh Adams who continued where he had left off before falling ill and was involved in so many of our better moves today, whilst also taking on the defensive side of his wing-back role well too. Just going back to Parkes for a moment, it has been a tough season for him so far having rarely played in the same role two matches running so it is difficult to say what his best position is for the Cooks, but today he really looked the part in midfield and it would be nice to see him pin that role down on a regular basis, but being Mr Versatile may hamper those chances.
Next up is a trip over Banbury next Saturday when we play Easington Sports.
Cooks; 1. Regan Saunt 2. Will Bates 3. Josh Adams (sub 14. Harley Mallard 78) 4. Alex Parkes (sub 17. Josh Jones 71) 5. Brad Marshall 6. Luca Purse 7. Louie Barrett 8. Luke McDonald 9. Pharrell Anderson (sub Louie Martin 78) 10. Mitch White © 11. Jessi Obeng. Subs not used; 12. Kodi Briggs 15. Ashraf Masumbuko.
Yellow Card; White (86) Foul.
Raunds ; 1. George Anthony 2. Rio Henry 3. Jack Cawkill-Robins 4. Dean McBride © 5. Kurt Randall 6. Cameron Harris 7. Rich Boah 8. Ashley Henry-Brown (sub 14. Zonde Chunga 82) 9. Joe Freeman 10. Mihail Baduleanu (sub 17. Corey Beattie 34) 11. Tyrone Konde (sub 12. Jordan Johnson 67). Subs not used; 15. Benn Kirkham 16. Bradley Alexander 18. Ed Bates.
Yellow cards; Harris (45+3) Foul. McBride (77) Foul.
Referee; Scott Hanna
Assts; Ian Mitchell & George Sewell