Honours even at Carters Park.
Four goals, two penalties and red card. It's ever dull in Holbeach.
Saturday 15th September 2018
FUTURE LIONS UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION
HOLBEACH UNITED (0) 2 v COGENHOE UNITED (1) 2
Tigers; Ford 73 (pen) Rogers 80
Cooks; Iaciofano 43 Dove 60 (pen)
Jake Stone made three changes to his starting line-up from Tuesday with Callum Patching, Jamie Inwood and Tom Iaciofano coming in for Stuart Lutter, Liam Tuck and Ryan Ansell respectively for what is traditionally one of toughest trips of the season.
The game started quite slowly as you might expect with two sides who are struggling for results over the last few games. Good work from Alex Lowery gave Montel Dore the chance to whip in an early cross, but as Matt Long tried to get airborne in the box, Tigers keeper Ricky Drury came and missed, but bumped into the Cooks man making sure he didn’t get a touch either, although whether that was intentional or not I wouldn’t like to say. Lowery lifted the ball over a couple of defenders and up to Ryan Dove on the edge of the box but a solid challenge from Joe Braithwaite sent the ball out of play. Great control from Dore saw him turn and play the ball on for the overlapping Inwood down the flank, but his cross was cut out on the edge of the six-yard box and then an Iaciofano cross was taken comfortably by Drury. Holbeach had an equal amount of possession during the opening spell but hadn’t really got the ball into the Cooks box as our midfield closed them down and didn’t give them much time on the ball, while they also pumped it in the air a bit too much and Dan Stevenson wasn’t particularly troubled by this.
Alex Lowery was only given a lecture for his foul on Will Bird on the half-way line so when Stacy Cartwright went into the book for a foul on Long after sixteen minutes, the home fans were less than pleased when referee David Avison brandished the afternoon’s first yellow card to the Tigers full-back. A Josh Melling free-kick was just behind Dore, but the Cooks wide-man gave chase and did really well to keep the ball in before cutting back and crossing to find Dove at the back post, but the Cooks skipper had strayed offside.
A nice cross from Lewis Harker was met by the head of Josh Ford and Cogenhoe were lucky his effort went just over the bar in the closest we had seen to a goal at this point, but they went even closer minutes later when Declan Rogers played Ford free in the box with a lovely pass and the former Wisbech striker struck his shot well, but Patching got down to make a good save at the near post.
Slick play from Lowery, Séan McBride and Dove gave Dore a run down the left, but the ball bobbled on him and his cross was a disappointing one. Rogers sent a thumping drive just wide from twenty-yards as the game opened-up, while Cogenhoe were given a chance when Iaciofano was brought down as he made a run. Dove seized the chance of a pop at goal, but although he got it over the wall and on target, Drury had no problem getting the ball just under bar height to his left. Rogers and Bird battled for possession on the edge of the box before the ball was rolled back to Adam Jackson outside the box and he went for goal with a first time shot that drifted over the bar.
An Iaciofano free-kick was met by a Tigers defender’s head and fell to Stevenson just inside the left-side corner of the box, but his volley was very much that of a centre-half and it sailed into the abyss. A good deep cross from Cartwright was met a full stretch by Bird who couldn’t get over it enough and it went over the top, while down the other end another Dove twenty-five yard free-kick was taken very easily by Drury.
Cartwright again sent a deep cross towards Bird just beyond the far post, but although the striker managed to get his foot to the ball, the angle was impossible and he could only steer it into the side netting. With two minutes remaining to half-time, Cogenhoe grabbed the lead in a match for the first time since the win over Harborough Town in the second game of the season. Lowery flicked the ball on beautifully to put Tom Iaciofano clear and the seventeen-year-old had the coolest head on the park as he placed a low shot wide of Drury and into the net and give his side the half-time lead.
Holbeach United 2 Cogenhoe United 2.
McBride slipped in Dove on the right side of the box and although he placed a low shot across Drury, it lacked the power he wanted and Drury got down to make the save. Rogers side-stepped his man on the edge of the box and curled in a decent shot but Patching dived to his right to make an airborne catch. The game swung even more in Cogenhoe’s favour on the hour when Dove got goal-side of Braithwaite deep inside the home box and the Holbeach centre-back hauled him back. A definite penalty, but I peronally felt the red card shown to Braithwaite was very harsh. Jackson did everything he could to put Dove off before he could place the ball for the penalty and the referee ignored this, but thankfully so did the Cooks skipper who calmly doubled the lead with a well-struck low spot kick into the corner.
Melling tidied up at the expense of a corner after Patching hadn’t managed to hold on to a high ball dropping in the box, while down the other end Dore delivered a superb cross that was met by Dove’s diving header with three-nil written all over it, but Drury produced a fantastic save to tip the ball over the bar. Stevenson got his head to Iaciofano’s corner, but it hit a defender and went out on the other side. McBride went for goal from outside the box but only found the keeper as we saw the first changes of the afternoon. Billy Smith gave way for Danny Barker for the home side, while the impressive Iaciofano was replaced by Jacob Cox for the Cooks.
Good work from Rogers saw him make space and deliver a cross from the left, but George Barnell matched it with his defensive header. A big turning point came on 73 minutes when Rogers swung in a corner that hit Inwood’s arm as he jumped amongst the crowd and the referee pointed to the spot. Difficult to see with so many bodies jumping, but I thought it was more a case of ball to hand rather than the other way around, but Mr Avison gave the penalty and Josh Ford sent Patching the wrong way to give his side a life-line. Very harsh on the Cooks at this point.
More subs followed with Cartwright coming off to be replaced by Tom Smith and Bird making way for Jack Smith as Holbeach looked to shake things up for the final push.
The Tigers were finally roaring now and piling on the pressure in search of an equaliser and not for the first time this season Barnell was left trying to cover two men. A first-time ball meant Ford was able to get clear with Barnell chasing him but the striker managed to drill a low shot across the box. Melling got his foot to the ball deep inside his own six-yard box and the ball ended up safely in Patching’s clutches. No such luck in the 80th minute though as we were opened-up through the middle with one pass and as Patching came off his line to try and narrow the angles, Declan Rogers got there first to get a touch and lift the ball past the keeper and into the net and make it 2-2. Unfortunate for young Patching as he had played well and had been left stranded by his defence on this occasion.
A great touch from Ford totally opened us up down the left again with Barnell trying to split two Holbeach players, but fortunately Jack Smith’s teasing low ball across the box made it through to the other side untouched. We had a massive slice of good fortune after Long had given away possession deep inside his own half and Jack Smith lifted the ball int the box where Ford met it with a header that hit the inside of the post. I think the ball bounced out off the diving Patching and back into the box where Rogers of all people failed to put his shot on target with the net bracing itself for the impact. A big let off for the Cooks.
Matt Johnson came on for the final six minutes in place of Lowery, a surprise move as Stevenson was really struggling to run by this point. Johnson was straight into the action and threaded a nice ball through for Dore inside the box, but Jonny Clay reacted quickly and got his boot in there first to clear for a corner. A nice piece of football saw Dore and Dove link-up with the latter lifting the ball over the top for Dore to get into the box, but Drury was alert to the danger and came off his line to dive on the ball at the Cogenhoe man’s feet. A great (and rare) run through the centre from Barnell saw him release Long on the left and he cut inside before trying a shot, but the defender stood his ground well and blocked it at source. Cogenhoe could so easily have stolen the win right at the death as Johnson got himself clear to get into the box on the left-hand side before side-footing a shot across Drury, but the Holbeach keeper had narrowed the angle and got down to make a good save and ensure a point for his side.
Games I have seen at Holbeach are seldom dull and usually have a number of talking points after the final whistle and this one was no exception. For the Cooks it is a bitter pill to swallow after being 2-0 up against ten men with half-an-hour to go as well as seeing a great chance not taken at the death, but if we are honest I think most of us would have been OK with a point and ending the losing streak before we kicked off. Very much a double edge sword for us today. Drury made two great saves, the first from Dove that stopped us going three-up and the last with the final action of the afternoon. Not sure if the Tigers have a man-of-the-match, but if they do it will surely have gone to their custodian of the net. Massive talking points with the red card for Braithwaite and the penalty decision down the other end and these will probably be discussed a number of times before being forgotten by both clubs when the next set of controversial incidents brush them aside, although they will probably be dragged out next time we meet.
Disappointing in some ways for Cogenhoe, but a lot of positives from this performance after recent results. Tom Iaciofano gave a great performance on his full debut and went close to getting my man-of-the-match today, but that has to go to Séan McBride for me this afternoon. My personal view is we were unlucky not to get the three points today when you think about the whole ninety-minute as the lads all put in a good reaction to our heavy defeat in midweek and hopefully our heads will be high again as we head for Kettering Town on Tuesday night in the county cup. On the other side of the coin though you have to praise Holbeach for their fight back after the sending-off so maybe the draw is the fairest conclusion at the end of the day.
Holbeach United; 1. Ricky Drury 2. Lewis Harker 3. Stacy Cartwright (sub15. Tom Smith 73) 4. Joe Braithwaite (Sent-Off 60) 5. Jonny Clay 6. Adam Jackson 7. Declan Rogers 8. Spencer Tinkler © 9. Josh Ford 10. Will Bird (16. Jack Smith 75) 11. Billy Smith (sub 14. Danny Barker 75). Subs not used; 12. Luke Avis 17. Jay Whyatt.
Cogenhoe United; 1. Callum Patching 2. Josh Melling 3. Jamie Inwood 4. Alex Lowery (sub 15. Matt Johnson 84) 5. George Barnell 6. Dan Stevenson 7. Tom Iaciofano (sub 14. Jacob Cox 70) 8. Séan McBride 9. Matt Long 10. Ryan Dove © 11. Montel Dore. Subs not used; 12. Dan Smith 16. Luke Stone 17. Luke Bartley.
Referee; David Avison.