Wednesday 18th July 2018 [b]PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY
KETTERING F.C (0) 1 v COGENHOE UNITED Reserves (1) 2
Cooks; Ash Hewitt 12, Tom Iaciofano 67
The Cooks made their first ever trip to the Sir John Lowther Ground in Kettering to face a team taking their first steps into adult football and were given a good test on a humid evening. The pitch has really suffered from the hot, dry weather and there wasn’t a single patch of green on the rock hard playing surface and this was going to make it difficult for both sides to play football, but they put on a decent evening’s entertainment for those who came along to watch.
Kettering went close early on when a decent lob had Cooks keeper Joe Evans back-peddling and he did well to tip the ball over. Cogenhoe took the lead on 12 minutes though after a good spell of possession. Ash Hewitt breaking the deadlock with a beautiful dipping shot over the keeper from just outside the box that found the net high in the far corner.
Evans saved with his feet from a header, while Ali Duncan saw his shot saved down the other end. Hewitt broke into the box but his shot was blocked at close range and then Duncan ran through the middle and lobbed the keeper, but it came down too late, falling beyond the target. Duncan then turned and looped over a good cross to the far post but Connor Bailey was a bit slow to react and didn’t get on the end of it. Duncan incidentally was looking slightly the worse for wear after a nasty clash of heads with Jonny Shakespeare but carried on after a couple of minute’s treatment. Evans wasn’t able to do anything about a cracking thirty-yard shot but was relieved to see it hit the top of the bar and go over for a goal-kick. Tom Iaciofano played Shakespeare into a good position but his shot was saved and he went into the break one-nil to the good.
Kettering went close when a good move ended with an angled volley that flew over the near post, while Joe Shanley showed glimpses of what we know he can do when he burst into the box before being crowded out. On 67 minutes Craig Hayward’s team doubled their lead with a superb solo effort from Tom Iaciofano. The youngster took up possession down the right flank just in front of the dug outs and cruised past a couple of defenders at pace before cutting inside the box and beating another opponent before firing a shot across the keeper’s reach and into the far corner.
The lead was halved three minutes later though with a great piece of work inside our box culminating a low shot that beat Evans and found the far corner. Evans then came out quickly to the corner of his box and stretched to get a hand to a lobbed effort. Some great keeping down the other end somehow stopped the Cooks from adding a third as he made two great saves to deny Patrik Cichosz and then Shanley from the rebound, before Cichosz’s stopping follow up and third effort before his header was blocked on the line. The last effort of note came from a corner, but Shanley couldn’t keep his header below bar height.
The young Cooks were given a good work out from a decent Kettering FC outfit who played as a team and have some talented players in their squad. I’m not sure if they will be competing competitively this year or not, but I wish then success and hope they stick together as a unit. For the Cooks it was a second win and some very encouraging performances as they look to gel in pre-season. Jak Riley looked really composed at centre-back, Tom Iaciofano impressed in midfield, as did Ash Hewitt out wide, while Ali Duncan wore the armband with pride and worked extremely hard in an impressive performance. Ty Wilson grew into the game as his confidence picked up and Patrik Cichosz looks a very decent addition to the squad.