Steve Carroll’s took his tally to 34 for the season, while Hanger and Curry grabbed their first as the Vets completed the double over Clean Slate.
Sunday 5th March 2023
MILTON KEYNES VETERANS LEAGUE – DIVISION THREE
CLEAN SLATE VETS (0) 1 COGENHOE UNITED VETS (3) 5
- Carroll 2, 29, 51
Top of the table Cooks made the trip over to Milton Keynes and the Downs Barn Pavilion, to face Clean Slate who are currently propping up Division Three of the MK Vets league. The main pitch at Downs Barn was once a very good place to play football, but years of neglect by the council now make it very difficult to control the ball or go on a run through the tufted grass and divots if truth be told.
Craig Smith had the game’s first effort on goal when he curled a shot just wide from the edge of the box, but the Cooks still had the lead with just 2 minutes played. Steve Carroll controlled the ball and made himself space to shoot from the left side of the box before placing his shot across the keeper and into the far corner of the net. Carroll went close again moments later when his 25-yard free-kick wasn’t too far over the top after Ricky Smith had been fouled, then he stepped inside his man to hit another goal-bound effort, but this one hit a defender. Ryan Parsons ran on to a very good through ball on the right and forced a good save out of Stuart Schofield, then down the other end Colin Thompson made a real hash of an intended clearance as he sliced the ball so badly it almost went into his own goal.
Schofield was called into action again after Parsons had got past him on the right, but the Cooks keeper gave chase and won the ball back, whilst probably cursing the bad back pass that had put him under pressure in the first place. An excellent corner from Craig Smith was headed just wide at the far post by Doni Reed, but on 26 minutes another corner, this time delivered by Steve Carroll, went just over the head of everyone in the centre to reach Dan Hanger beyond the far post and his first time shot pinged across the box and past the keeper to double the lead.
A very good cross from the right was volleyed over at the far post by Craig Reynolds as the home side threatened again, but it was the Cooks who were celebrating again on 29 minutes when Haines cross was controlled beautifully by Steve Carroll on the edge of the box and he calmly rolled it into the keeper’s right hand corner with his second touch for a quality goal. Mark Dent headed wide from a Steve Carroll corner, then Haines delivered a free-kick in from the left that Reed headed just wide and then both Steve Carroll and Dent showed good footwork in the box, but we couldn’t get the space for a shot. Haines wasn’t too far over with a 25-yard effort, while some great defending by Gary Duggan denied Slate a shooting chance at the end of the half.
Half-time ; Clean Slate 0 Cogenhoe United 3
The Cooks made three changes at the break with Sam Duggan, Paul Carroll and Lewis Hill all coming on, but it was the home side who scored next after a poor clearance. Schofield actually made a very good save, but Ryan Parsons followed up to slot home the rebound from point-blank range, although there was more than a hint of offside against the scorer. 1-3 it was though and it was perhaps what the game needed as it would keep the Cooks focussed with the points not necessarily won just yet. The Cooks started to play their usual brand of passing football again and a neat move saw Haines whip over a cross that Hill met with a header that looped just over the bar, then after a defender had trapped the ball between his legs a yard inside his own box, we had a rare indirect free-kick that Haines touched to Steve Carroll and he simply stroked the ball low into the far corner after spotting a gap. Carroll’s 34th goal of the season and the fourth time he has netted three or more in a game. 4-1 to the Cooks with 51 minutes played.
Hill nipped in after a mix-up at the back from the home side, but the combination of a bobble and leaning back saw him scoop his shot well over the bar, but on 56 minutes the Cooks grabbed their fifth when an inch perfect cross from Haines was met by Rob Curry who buried his header into the top corner. Steve Carroll almost added another when he worked the edge of the box before curling an effort that was heading for the back of the net, but Hill tried to deflect it home with his head, but actually diverted the ball the wrong side of the post. Dan Worby had a chance for Slate, but put his header from a corner too close to Schofield, then Hill set-up Curry in the centre of the box, but he pulled his shot wide of the far post. Paul Carroll hit a thunderous shot from the edge of the box that must have stung the defender’s thigh before the Cooks brought back the players subbed off at the break, but with the points in the bag, the game was turning rather flat.
Craig Smith almost got his foot to a corner at the back post, the Slate keeper made a good save to deny Steve Carroll at the near post, Paul Carroll middled a shot from 25-yards, but didn’t get over it enough and then Craig Smith put the ball over from close range after Slate had struggled with Steve Carroll’s corner kick. Steve Carroll set himself up inside the box and his shot was heading for the top corner when the keeper threw himself across to make a great save, then a great cross from Sam Duggan saw Hanger’s header touched onto the bar by the keeper who was having an inspired second half and keeping the score down. Paul Carroll set up Reed on the edge of the box but he fired over the bar and the Cooks had to settle for a 5-1 win, despite it almost becoming a shooting practice for the final ten minutes of the game.
Well done to Clean Slate who worked tirelessly to make it difficult for the Cooks and tried to hit us on the break when they could. Next up for the Cooks is a home game against Tattenhoe Rovers as they look to complete another league double after beating them 9-0 at their place earlier in the season.
Cooks; 1. Stuart Schofield 2. Lee Haines © 3. Craig Smith 4. Mark Dent 5. Dan Duggan 6. Steve Carroll 7. Ricky Smith 9. Donovan Reed 12. Gary Duggan 14. Rob Curry 15. Cormac Hamill. Subs (all used) 8. Sam Duggan 10. Lewis Hill 16. Dan Hanger 17. Paul Carroll.
Photos supplied by Finbarr Carroll.