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Saturday 17th February 2024



Toojays Stadium,

Leading Drove,




KO 3pm

After the recent rain meant the games at Eynesbury and at home to Aylestone Park had to be postponed, the Cooks will have no such problems on Saturday when they head to Yaxley’s Toojays Stadium and it’s 3G pitch. It will be our first trip to the Cambridgeshire village since January 2018 when the eventual champions edged past Jake Stone’s team 2-0, but it wasn’t over until Tom Waulmsley grabbed the Cuckoos second goal two minutes into stoppage time. Kyle Nolan had given the home side the lead on 18 minutes, but they were pushed all the way by the Cooks. That season the Cuckoos won the title on the final day without actually playing as their rivals Wisbech Town needed to beat mid-table Daventry at home, but the Northants team that included a number of former Cooks players held them to a 1-1 draw, meaning Yaxley clinched the title on goal-difference.

Six years on, the Cuckoos were relegated back to Step-5 at the end of the last season and they appointed Simon Roberts into the hot-seat and he brought in Wilkins Makate to assist him. I have to admit I thought they would struggle in their return to the UCL, but they quickly proved me wrong and were battling for top-spot early in the season, although they have slipped away somewhat and now occupy 8th place. They are 11 points above the Cooks going into the game, although they have played two more games than us, with recent form matching their early season results as they have won their last three games. Last time out they dispatched Rugby Borough 3-0 at home with second half goals from Oleksandr Muzychuk, Efraim Ramanos and substitute Kellan Hickinson. This followed on from a 2-1 victory at Coventry United and a 3-1 success over Easington Sports at Leading Drove.

This will be just the third game of the year for the Cooks and their first away trip having beat Rugby, drawn with Desborough and most recently lost 0-1 at home to St Neots. While I don’t have any squad details today, Scott Carlin has brought one new face in this week with left-back Takula Chijota signing from Daventry Town so he may well be included tomorrow. He started out as part of Dunstable Town’s U18 before progressing into senior football with Biggleswade FC, Potton United, The 61FC (Luton) before starting off this season at Godmanchester Rovers where he played alongside Brad Ilunga, before being snapped up by Daventry where he featured as a sub in the 3-3 draw against us earlier in the season. Ilunga definitely won’t feature tomorrow as he sits out his one-match ban, albeit at the third attempt.

I have seen gamers at Leading Drove a number of times now, but my first visit was rather surreal when they entertained Wellingborough 2000 in the newly formed and short lived West Anglian League under the newly installed floodlights. The home side and officials were all on the pitch ready for a 7-45 kick-off, but at 7-55 a convoy of five cars was spotted in the dark coming the wrong way up Leading Drove before turning into the car park. We were originally standing next to the away dug-out, but the smoke billowing out of it left all of us longing for a mars bar or other such nibbles, so we moved away to enjoy Yaxley storm to a 8-1 victory. I had visited their former ground once for an Eastern Counties League game where the then named Coalite Yaxley were rather more modest 2-0 winners on the day. Leading Drove has also seen one of the more memorable games that I have reported on when they drew 4-4 with Northampton Spencer. The Cuckoos were 4-0 up at the break, but The Millers, despite having two men sent off, came back to earn a point with future Cogenhoe players Ryan Dove (with a stunning free-kick) and sub Luke Bartley (bursting through the middle to net with a cool finish late on) with the pick of the goals.



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