Mistake costs Cooks dear.
A late Jordan Nuttell goal gave The Knights all three points in a tight encounter at Compton Park.
Saturday 1st September 2018
FUTURE LIONS UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE-PREMIER DIVISION
COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0 v PINCHBECK UNITED (0) 1
There were a few changes from Jake Stone today is we returned to action after a ten-day break. With the team wearing the new blue strip (and rather large yellow goalkeepers kit), Stuart Lutter returned in goal, Liam Tuck at left-back, Alex Lowery played his first first-team game for well over a year in an unfamiliar role alongside Harry Chipchase in central-midfield, meaning Ryan Ansell moved back out wide left.
It may well be considered the first day of Autumn by some, but a beautiful, warm sunny day greeted us at Compton Park, with the gentle breeze blowing down the pitch from the clubhouse end. Pinchbeck United, making their first trip to the village, had the breeze to their backs for the first half, although I have to say it wasn’t of the force we are used to on the top of the hill. Cogenhoe started the brighter of the two and had a fair amount of ball inside the Knights half. Matt Long was fouled wide on the right giving a Tuck an early chance to deliver a set-piece, but he failed to get enough height and it was easily dealt with by the first defender. Barnell won possession and found Ryan Dove who took a touch and turned to steer the ball through for Long, but it had just too much on it and Ricky Lovelace was able to gather the ball as it came into his penalty area. Séan McBride dinked a ball over the top for Ansell to chase, but again Lovelace was able to come to the edge of his box and take the ball.
An Ash Murrell throw-in made its way right across the box to where Andrew Tidswell turned and crossed back to just beyond the far post where Tuck and Knights player-manager Ian Dunn both jumped for the header, but the veteran striker had been judged to be offside. A good run down the left flank saw Josh Smith deliver a dangerous low cross, but Dan Stevenson stretched to intercept. The ball was worked back to Smith, but this time his attempted cross went straight out behind the goal.
Lowery won the ball just inside his own half and laid it wide to Josh Melling who played it inside to Dove. The Cooks skipper cleverly steered into Long’s path down the right and he went past his man before delivering a great ball into the centre, but only Ansell was there and up against four red shirts he couldn’t get near the ball. A great ball from Smith saw Dunn get in front of Tuck at the far post and steer his volley over Lutter’s head, but the ball hit the top of the bar and went over for a goal-kick.
Down the other end a Tuck corner saw Lowery jump with two defenders and get his head on to the ball, but it wasn’t clean and it skimmed off him and behind. Smith caught hold of a volley around the corner of the box, but Melling threw his body across and blocked for a corner. The best chance of the game so far followed when Ansell made a great run from his own half to the edge of the area before weighting a superb pass into the path of Tuck as he ran into the box, but he scuffed his shot and Lovelace was able to get down and save comfortably. In a game of few chances, these are the ones you really have to bury.
Ansell made a good run down the left and won a corner off Murrell that he took himself. It came at an awkward height for McBride and bounced up in the air where Dove used his upper-body strength to head it back in to the mix but Pinchbeck cleared. The ball found its way to Tidswell with a few yards to run into, but he shot early and didn’t really connect and sent the ball bouncing harmlessly wide from around thirty-yards out.
Melling delivered a cross that saw Dove rise and get his head to. But he couldn’t keep it on target, then Dove got well up to head down a Barnell free-kick in a move that saw both Chipchase and Lowery have shots blocked. A break through the middle saw Smith look to get into a dangerous position, but superb defending from Barnell stopped him in his tracks. Melling made a good interception and went for goal only for Jason Field to block his effort, then we gave away a silly free-kick a few yards outside our box, but Tidswell’s effort was easy for Lutter to take at head height.
A blow for Cogenhoe a minute before the break as Chipchase stayed down after a tackle and was forced to limp off and be replaced by Jacob Cox. Great feet from Ansell saw him dance through a couple of challenges in a central position to get into the box, but the ball was just taken off his toes before he could get a shooting opportunity.
A tight first half with not too much in the way of chances at either end.
Half-time; Cogenhoe United 0 Pinchbeck United 0.
A slow start to the second half with most of the play being centred around the midfield. Ansell tried to play Long free on the right, but it was just too strong and the wide-man couldn’t keep it in despite a real effort to do so. A nice hanging cross saw Long get up well to win the header and his effort wasn’t too far wide with the keeper looking beaten. Smith played a good ball into the box that caught us out on the right and Lutter made a very good save to deny Oli Maltby deep inside the box. The corner was only partially cleared giving Tidswell space to shoot just outside the box, but although he put it on target, it was bread and butter for the experienced Cogenhoe keeper.
Pinchbeck made their first change on the hour when Ian Dunn made way for the much younger Jordan Nuttell up front. Ansell delivered a good cross into the box where Dove took it down well and tried to set Cox up on the edge of the box, but Field reacted quickly and just managed to get there before the young Cooks sub. A lovely ping from Lowery changed the play and allowed Long to cut inside and get a shot on target, but it was blocked inside the six-yard box, then Ansell pounced on the rebound, but his shot didn’t get past the man on the line either. This had been a very good spell from Cogenhoe as they put some sustained pressure on the visitors back four for the first time in the game, but they just didn’t have the edge they needed to make this count.
Good control and distribution from Nuttell put Smith into a good position, but Melling came across well to make a timely tackle. Melling then played a good free-kick up into the Pinchbeck box where Dove won the header, but his effort went narrowly the wrong side of the post. In an attempt to turn this good spell into something more tangible, the Stone brothers pushed Long into a central forward role alongside Dove and moved Cox out to the right.
Ansell went for goal from the edge of the box, but his shot deflected into the air and dropped kindly for the keeper to take. Cox found Dove who stepped right before delivering a good cross that Ansell got up and headed on target, but he was under pressure from two defenders and he couldn’t get the power needed to beat the experienced Lovelace.
The tide had now started to turn with The Knights able to breathe again and Tidswell found space to shoot from twenty-five yards out, but Lutter didn’t have to move as it went across the box and so far wide it actually hit the floodlight pylon situated in the corner. Ansell played a great ball through that would have put Long clear had he not been tripped by Field just inside the Pinchbeck half. Yellow card for the visiting centre-back from Wayne Bright. Both sides made a change as the game entered the latter stages with Corey Newman replacing Aaran Eyett for the visitors and somewhat surprisingly Matt Long coming off for Cogenhoe, Matt Johnson replacing him, but going out wide right. Good to see Johnson back with the first team after some superb performances in the reserves this season.
With ten minutes remaining though we found the suicide button that haunted us in the league cup ten days previous. We had a couple of chances to clear our lines and failed to do so before the unfortunate McBride opted to try and pass out of his own area but gave it straight to Newman just outside the box. A simple exchange of passes laid the ball into the path of fellow sub Jordan Nuttell deep inside the box and he calmly steered his shot past the helpless Lutter and into the net.
Johnson made a strong run down the right and whipped in a cross that Tyler Wright headed behind for a corner. The final two subs saw Tom Iaciofano and Jack Smith come on for Lowery and Josh Smith respectively. An Ansell cross was touched on by Johnson but the flag was up for offside before a good run by Iaciofano saw him eventually crowded out inside the area before he could deliver his cross. After the goal the visitors closed the game out very well and despite some possession we didn’t really look like we would be able to break them down and 0-1 is how it stayed until the referee blew the final whistle.
We lost to a soft goal in truth (well taken, but soft in the way we failed to clear our lines at the vital time), but we didn’t really trouble Lovelace in the goal and the only real save he made was from Tuck’s somewhat scuffed shot in the first half. That was probably the only clear-cut chance we created in the ninety-minutes against a very well organised and hard-working Pinchbeck side. The visitors probably had less of the ball, but they hit the bar, pulled a great save out of Lutter and of course scored the only goal of the game. Up until the goal I had thought that a draw was probably the fair outcome from this one, but when you read the above it does make you feel that perhaps Pinchbeck played this one perfectly and you certainly can’t begrudge them the three points tonight.
We were so much better than that horrible night in Rushden, but we all knew we would be. We defended well on the whole but were punished when we made that mistake and in many ways that is what Pinchbeck were waiting for. Going forward we created very little which is more worrying at the moment. Dove worked hard as he always does and won a couple of headers under pressure, but there was no killer ball from anyone. You need an edge to win games like this and it was missing today. Ansell and Long didn’t see enough of the ball out wide and when they did deliver, skipper Dove always had to jump with the two centre-backs. The midfield never really controlled the game today although I have to say I was very impressed with Alex Lowery in a role I’ve never seen him play before and he won a lot of first balls for us in front of our back four. Harry Chipchase was having a decent game until he was injured and Jacob Cox came on and played well too. Séan McBride did his job as he usually does apart from the slip for the goal, but we lacked the pass to our frontline today and we need someone in there to open up defences. Dove had to come too deep too often for the lone centre-forward and even though he often wins and holds the ball up, we then lack the person up top who is going to really harm defences where it counts in the box. The defence did look good on the whole today and having the reliable Mr Lutter shouting at them for ninety-minutes helps a lot on that score and you can see we have the basis of a very good team here still, we just need to find the way of creating chances again because in Dove, Long, Ansell and the missing Dore we have real quality at the business end of the pitch. Cameos for both Matt Johnson and Tom Iaciofano were both impressive and I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of these two in the first team this season and I can see the goals flowing again soon, we just need to break this drought and get the confidence back. Man of the match today goes to Alex Lowery, unfamiliar role, won a lot of first balls, an added threat at set-pieces and just great to see him back in the first team squad.
We have another ten day break now as our scheduled opponents for next Saturday Daventry Town have an F.A Cup tie against Grantham Town to concentrate on and after losing 5-0 today they will need to concentrate a lot if they are to get through that one. We will now go there the following Tuesday instead, that is of course assuming they don’t need to replay their cup game that day. In between now and then you can watch our two other teams with the Under 18s travelling to Rothwell Corinthians this Thursday for a F.A Youth Cup tie and then the Reserves are at home to Irchester United Reserves next Saturday. Keep believing.
Cooks; 1. Stuart Lutter 2. Josh Melling 3. Liam Tuck 4. Alex Lowery (sub 12. Tom Iaciofano 80) 5. George Barnell 6, Dan Stevenson 7. Séan McBride 8. Harry Chipchase (sub 14. Jacob Cox 44) 9. Matt Long (sub 15. Matt Johnson 79) 10. Ryan Dove © 11. Ryan Ansell.
Knights; 1. Ricky Lovelace 2. Ash Murrell 3. Tyler Wright 4. Andrew Tidswell © 5. Jason Field 6. Luke Wilson 7. Aaran Eyett (sub 16. Corey Newman 77) 8. Chris Shipley 9. Ian Dunn (sub 15. Jordan Nuttell 60) 10. Oli Maltby 11. Josh Smith (sub 14. Jack Smith 82). Subs not used; 12. Luke Gardner 17. Alex Smith (GK).
Referee; Wayne Bright.