Superb second half nearly as Cooks almost snatch it.
Cogenhoe continued their fine form and were a bit unlucky not to take more than a point.
Saturday 15th April 2017
CHROMASPORT & TROPHIES UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION
NEWPORT PAGNELL TOWN (1) 1 v COGENHOE UNITED (0) 1
Swans; Sandy 15
Cooks; Stone 69 (pen)
A nice and easy trip for your reporter today as I live just three minutes drive from the ground on a sunny spring Easter Saturday afternoon. No Dan Smith today and with Josh Melling suspended, the big changes were at full-back. Liam Tuck returned from injury to take over on the left, while Munya Matiyenga dropped back on the right, with his wide midfield role going to Ashley Clamp. Jacob Gartland and Nathan Burrows joined Tom Carroll on the bench. Séan McBride lined up against a former club, while Newport’s Oli Wilkinson, skipper Stuart Smeathers and Elliot Sandy have all played for the Cooks in the past.
The Swans had the first effort at goal after Sandy had found Sam O’Neill when he headed on Mark Osborne’s big kick, but the wideman’s shot was straight at Stuart Lutter. Tuck played a good ball out of defence for Clamp to build up speed, but he went down under pressure from Adam Pryke and despite his protests, referee Ben Weldon saw nothing amiss. Dove played the ball up to his strike partner Long and he held it up well before laying it back to Dove, but he couldn’t keep his shot down. Alex Lowery got his head to a Liam Smyth free-kick and Matiyenga did well to stop Newport getting the ball back into the box at the expense of the game’s first corner. Smyth played a good ball to Sandy, but Jake Cayton came across well to alleviate the danger with a timely interception, before Lowery showed some calm defending as Dom Lawless pressed in the box. A nice move from Newport saw Wilkinson deliver a decent cross, but Matiyenga was on-hand to tidy up at the far post by nodding the ball back to Lutter. We are still giving away silly fouls and Matiyenga did just that on the halfway line on our right. This gave The Swans a chance to get the big men up into our box and Greg Ling headed the free-kick on, Lawless steered it into Sandy and he fired a first time shot past Lutter form deep inside the box, to give the home side the lead after 15 minutes.
Long did well on the right and cut into the box, but he lost his footing before he could pull the ball back across the area. Keith Williams played the ball up to Sandy on the edge of the box, but Cayton defended well before Cooks pressed again. Lutter’s kick was headed on by Dove and Clamp tried to cut inside, but found his path blocked by a couple of defenders. Tuck picked up on it and delivered a great cross that was headed back by Dove and Luke Stone met it on the volley just inside the box, but he didn’t get the sweetest of connections and it sailed a yard over the top. Great move all the same from the Cooks. Oli Wilkinson, who had felt the full force of a Ryan Dove challenge minutes earlier, was forced off with just 20 minutes gone and Scott Mulkearn took over his role at right-back. Matiyenga tried to play in Long on the right, but he sent him too wide and the striker did really well to win a corner from the situation. Tuck swung it in, but Osborne was strong and punched the ball clear over the head of the jumping Dove. Smyth got the better of McBride in the centre and played a great ball out to O’Neill, but Cayton was first to his cross, putting it behind for a corner with a good intercepting header. Sandy turned well in the box and tried a first time shot, but the curl he was looking for didn’t come off and it went across Lutter’s goal without troubling the keeper.
McBride won the ball in the middle and held off a challenge to feed Stone. He turned the ball wide to Ansell but his cross was too close to the keeper. Clamp did well on the left before cutting inside and trying to find Long in the centre with a low ball, but Dave Baker came across well to put it behind before the striker could get a touch. Ansell’s corner was lost by Osborne, but O’Neill calmly cleared things up from the edge of box. Sandy got the wrong side of Lowery in a dangerous position, but Cayton was again on hand to cover. Once again Long hassled the defence and won a corner out of nothing on the right, but Baker rose highest to head Tuck’s effort away. Clamp found Long on the left and he turned well before delivering a cross, but again Baker was first to the ball as Dove looked to get on the end of it. Ansell put over a great cross that Dove was about to get his head on, had Osborne not made a great take at the far post. Sandy had the half’s last chance when he turned and fired in a shot from the edge of the box, but it flew just over the top with Lutter having it covered.
Half-time; Newport Pagnell Tn 1 Cogenhoe Utd 0.
Cogenhoe were quickly on the attack from the restart and won themselves an early corner. Ansell whipped it in and Lowery was very close to getting his head to it. Long picked it up on the right and played it back into the box, but unfortunately it was just behind Dove. Cayton robbed Lawless and started an attack by finding Stone. He played it on to Ansell who tried to curl it past Osborne from twenty-five yards, but the keeper took it comfortably. Ansell tried to find Long in the box with a low ball, but it was whipped off his toes for another corner. Ansell took it and Lowery battled hard to win possession and passed it to Stone, who played over a dangerous cross, but it was defender who managed to get the header in first. Lovely work from Tuck who, despite being fouled, managed to beat his man and play a great ball up to Long, who held off the challenge of Williams before hitting a dipping shot over the keeper, but unfortunately also over the bar. Newport made the second change with O’Neill, who had hurt himself when fouling Tuck a few minutes before, was forced to limp off and be replaced by George Shrieves. Cayton defended well despite the presence of both Lawless and Sandy and Matiyenga tidied up as we continued to cover each superbly at the back. Tom Chapman made a double change as we searched for an equaliser, with Clamp and Dove being rested and Nathan Burrows and Jacob Gartland coming on. Gartland went to left back with Tuck pushing further up the pitch into Clamp’s role, while Burrows went up top in a straight swap.
Long broke forward through the middle and perhaps had a touch of luck with the bounce off the defender and he raced into the box with just the keeper to beat, but Mulkearn stretched to bring the striker down before he could shoot. Little doubt about the penalty decision and a yellow card for the Swans sub right-back. Luke Stone, just as he did last week at Holbeach, kept his cool and despatched a well-struck penalty to the keeper’s right and Cogenhoe we deservedly leveln with 69 minutes played.
A lovely ball in from Tuck had the Newport back-four unsettled and when Ansell played it back in, Burrows almost got a vital touch. Ansell hit a shot on the turn that wasn’t far wide before both sides made their final changes. Tom Carroll came on for Ansell, while George Shrieves replaced centre-back Adam Pryke, but went up front as Newport looked to get back in to the game and try and find a winner from somewhere. Lawless got onto the end of a through ball and took it past Lutter, but the keeper did enough to send him wide and his angle proved too much. Cayton launched one of his long throws that came off a defender’s head and fell for Stone, but although he hooked it on target, he couldn’t get the power needed to beat Osborne. Long chased down a back pass and managed to get a toe to the keeper’s attempted clearance, but he didn’t get the run of the ball his battling deserved. Cayton did well and played the ball up to Burrows, who chested it down to Tuck, but his first-time shot was off target. Carroll won the ball on the right and played a one-two with Burrows before attacking down the flank, but as he checked, Smyth brought him down. Stone delivered the free kick and Tuck headed it back across goal to find Long in space, but he couldn’t keep his header under bar height and Newport survived what proved to be the last touch of the game. Long was clearly gutted by his miss, but he had worked his socks off for the team again today and sometimes you just have to chalk these down to experience.
A fantastic second half performance from the Cooks today and unlucky not to have taken all three points from Willen Road. As I’ve already mentioned, Long was superb today, but my man-of-the-match goes to a player at the other end, with Jake Cayton putting in a fantastic performance at the back and deserving of my plaudits today. Alex Lowery also deserves a mention and pushed his partner all the way. Again no bad performances, the form of Stuart Lutter and his experience definitely helps the defence. No chance with the goal and fully deserving of the number one jersey in the first team with no question. Liam Tuck, although not fully fit, was solid on the left, while Munya Matiyenga is really growing into the right-back role. Ashley Clamp and Ryan Ansell both worked hard down the flanks, while the Luke Stone/Séan McBride partnership in the centre is turning into one of the best in the league. Dove worked really hard as usual and won so much in the air again and is a very good foil for the pace and work-rate of his partner Matty Long. The subs didn’t get too long today, but Gartland looks to be getting his fitness back after a horrendous season of injuries, while Nathan Burrows worked hard and looks like he could be a real asset to the squad next season. Tom Carroll had even less time but looks at home on the right and it would be good to see him get a start there before the end of the season as he will grow with experience.
So it’s local derby time on Easter Monday afternoon with a trip to inform Wellingborough Town, who saw off Rothwell Corinthians 2-1 away today to make it seven in a row for the Doughboys. Kick-of at the Dog and Duck is 3pm.
Newport Pagnell Town; 1. Mark Osborne 2. Oli Wilkinson (sub 15. Scott Mulkearn 20) 3. Keith Williams 4. Stuart Smeathers © 5. Adam Pryke (sub 12. George Shrieves 77) 6. Dave Baker 7. Greg Ling 8. Liam Smyth 9. Elliot Sandy 10. Dom Lawless 11. Sam O’Neill (sub 14. Gary Brook 60).
Cogenhoe United; 1. Stuart Lutter 2. Munya Matiyenga 3. Liam Tuck 4. Jake Cayton 5. Alex Lowery 6. Séan McBride 7. Ryan Ansell (sub 14. Tom Carroll 77) 8. Luke Stone © 9. Matty Long 10. Ryan Dove (sub 15. Nathan Burrows 67) 11. Ashley Clamp (sub 12. Jacob Gartland 67).
Referee; Ben Weldon.