Late Dove header gives Cooks that winning feeling.
A scrappy affair in awful conditions decided by the single goal.
Saturday 13th December 2018
[b]FUTURE LIONS UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION
COGENHOE UNITED (0) 1 v DESBOROUGH TOWN (0) 0[b]
After a couple of disappointing defeats, Jake Stone bolstered his squad in midweek by bringing in a couple of youngsters to add some competition for places. Centre-half Jack O’Connor signed on loan from Kettering Town and went straight into the starting line-up alongside Dan Stevenson while Joe O’Neill, on work-experience from Mansfield Town, had to settle for a place on the bench. The manager shook up his starting line-up with Stuart Lutter returning in goal after his holiday, George Barnell moved across to right-back and Jamie Inwood return from his leg injury at left-back in a totally changed defence today. The influential Luke Stone returned in the middle while Ryan Dove played up top on his own with Matt Long and Montel Dore playing down the wings, with Séan McBride and Liam Tuck alongside Stone in the middle. Ryan Ansell, Partryk Cichosz and Josh Melling dropped down to the bench.
This was never going to be a classic with the wind almost gale force blowing straight down the pitch from the car park towards the village and the pitch drying out too quickly from the rain to create a rock-hard surface today. Cogenhoe won the toss and used the wind to their advantage for the first time, although when it is this strong and gusty it isn’t that much of an advantage in reality. For the spectators it was actually a pleasant summerlike day with the temperature in the twenties which was a rather different day to last weekend’s big coats and hats attire in wet and cold Leicester.
Cogenhoe had most of the early play but were struggling to get the ball under control and the visiting keeper spent a lot of his time being a ball-boy as he ambled off to retrieve the ball from somewhere behind his goal. A nice move started by Inwood saw Dove flick the ball inside to Tuck who looked to pick out Long on the right, but Luke Stevens stood his ground and took the ball off him rather easily. Barnell fed Long down the flank and he crossed the ball over, but Alex Brown took it cleanly at his near post. Barnell lifted the ball up into the box and a high bounce on the edge of the area had Brown frantically back-peddling, but it went over the bar. McBride set up a chance for Inwood to get the ball into the box, but his delivery was just too far ahead of Long and the keeper claimed it comfortably.
A free-kick from in front of the dug-outs from Tuck saw O’Connor stretching but the ball cannoned off his head to go out for a goal-kick. Inwood then played a free-kick into the box and Dove brought it down and turned, but his shot was blocked and as they ball bounced high in the air, Brown got up above Long to claim it. In a rare foray forward down the other end, Lamar Parkes delivered a cross from the left that Will Arnold nodded into the box to find his skipper Jason Turner, but Lutter was off his line quickly and took the ball safely.
A lovely ping in from the left wing by Dore looked dangerous, but Long didn’t quite judge it as it swirled on the wind and it came to nothing. Another Tuck free-kick from in front of the dug-outs saw Dove desperately try and get his head on it, but O’Connor was just behind him and although he did get his header at goal, he could only find the side-netting. A superb tackle from Tuck stopped Arnold as he tried to break through just inside the Cooks half and then O’Connor got up above Turner as Cooper played the ball up towards his skipper. A superbly controlled cross from Inwood was headed out and Stone was felled on the edge of the box as he seized the loose ball. Dove went for goal and although he hit it well, it was blocked by the wall. A lovely ball from Stone gave Dore a chance to run but he was tripped by Aiden Bradshaw with the ref having very little choice but to reach into his pocket for the game’s first yellow card. Stone played the free-kick up into the box and Brown got up again to punch it clear in the last action of the first half.
Half-time; Cogenhoe United 0 Desborough Town 0.
It would potentially be a very long next 45 minutes for the Cooks as they battled into the strong wind, but they were first to show with a great ball out from Dove to Long and the wide man cut inside and got past Stevens before firing in a shot that Brown could only parry and Dore got up to head the ball on target, but Cooper was able to block the ball on his goal-line. As Desborough lifted the ball up on the wind towards mainly Turner, O’Connor was absolutely superb and won pretty much everything in the air and it was the Cooks who went close again. Stone’s free-kick from the half-way line held up in the wind and the keeper unwisely came sprinting off his line only to see the ball die and drop. Dove tried a shot that he didn’t middle and Long turned to steer it on target, only for a defender to save his keeper by blocking the ball in the six-yard box. Long then slipped a great ball to give Dore time and space inside the box on the left, but he went for goal with a first time shot and sent it well over the top.
Dan White worked hard to get into the box and held off a challenge to try and poke the ball past Lutter, but the big keeper got down well to save to his left. The first subs followed on 71 minutes as Barnell made way for Josh Melling and Ar Tarn brought on Ty Clark for Arnold. White slipped a ball through for Turner in the box, but O’Connor swept up well then White tried a shot from distance that went a couple of yards the wrong side of the post.
Desborough’s second change saw Craig Maisiri replace Turner up top for the final quarter-of-an-hour, while Liam Boath went for goal from fully thirty-yards, but his effort was several yards wide. A great cut in from Parkes saw him pull the ball back for Clark and the sub was very unlucky to see his first time shot hit the bar and come back into play. The game’s final change saw Ansell replace the hard-working Stone for the final ten minutes and the sub was straight into it, playing a nice ball wide for Dove who tried to pick out Long’s run in the box, but a defender just got their first. Great control from O’Connor then saw him play a good ball out to Dore on the left and he looped the ball high across the box. It looked like it was going to go straight out, but the wind held it up and it dropped in play at the far post and Ryan Dove stooped to steer a header into the net for very close range. 1-0 to the Cooks with 88 minutes played. Ansell was booked in injury time for a dangerous challenge on Boath and with time almost up Dore ended a Cogenhoe move with a curling shot on target from the left side of the box, but Brown took it into his chest. Referee Paul McVey called time on what had been a largely forgettable game on an extremely windy day on top of the hill in Cogenhoe.
Three points after a couple of defeats and in today’s conditions that is even better. Ryan Dove’s fourteenth goal of the season winning the game for the Cooks, but for me the stand-out performance came down the other end through debutant Jack O’Connor. The youngster from Kettering didn’t put a foot wrong and won everything in the air today, found a teammate pretty much every time he won the ball and also helped set-up the winning goal. I Look forward to seeing him again during his loan spell and he worked really well with Dan Stevenson which is exactly what we need. Good to see Stuart Lutter back between the sticks and another clean-sheet for the experienced keeper who marshals his defence so well. It was a day largely for battling and we did just that and I have to give a special mention to Luke Stone as he gave everything out there despite not being anywhere near fully fit yet and his leadership qualities on the field are a massive bonus for the boys in blue. It may have been ugly, but a win is a win and we really needed it as well as the clean-sheet.
We head to Boston Town next weekend with the Poachers slowly improving after losing a lot of their players and their 1-1 draw at high-flyers Eynesbury highlights the fact that their fortunes could well be on the up.
Cogenhoe; 1. Stuart Lutter 2. George Barnell (sub 12. Josh Melling 71) 3. Jamie Inwood 4. Séan McBride 5. Jack O’Connor 6. Dan Stevenson 7. Montel Dore 8. Luke Stone (sub 16. Jamie Inwood 80) 9. Matt Long 10. Ryan Dove © 11. Liam Tuck. Subs not used; 14. Patryk Cichosz 15. Joe O’Neill.
Desborough; 1. Alex Brown 2. Aiden Bradshaw 3. Luke Stevens 4. Dan Cooper 5. Leo Adams 6. Liam Boath 7. Dan White 8. Will Arnold (sub 15. Ty Clark 71) 9. Jason Turner (sub 14. Craig Maisiri 76) 10. Lamar Parkes 11. Jordan Henson. Sub not used; 12. Daniel Law.
Referee; Paul McVey.