Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Cooks Have the Ingredients of Success

This was taken in case there was a "not much on the bench" joke later.

Hopperational details
Date & Venue
Tuesday 27 December 2011 at Compton Park, Cogenhoe
Cogenhoe United 1 Northampton Spencer 0
United Counties Premier League (Step 5)
#442 on the lifetime list, geographically convenient to visit on my way back to Hertfordshire from the West Midlands.
This match in one sentence
Cogenhoe (aka The Cooks, and sorry about the post title)  managed to score from just one of their many chances.
So what?
Both teams sit just below the midpoint of the table, though Spencer have played six games more.  Unless something dramatic happens in the second part of this season, both teams should be secure enough at step 5.
Something random
Another Scooby-Doo tree for the catalogue…

The drama unfolds
Cogenhoe, with a stiff breeze behind them, took control from the start and pinged the crossbar loudly within the first fifteen minutes.  They used the wind to create defensive havoc from corners and set pieces, as shown in the first clip.  Credit to the Spencer defence for holding firm – tonight’s clips will show that their keeper Quincy Shorunmu was a busy man.  Cogenhoe are in the blue kit.

Cogenhoe hit the post again … Shorunmu made (or may not have made, as a goal kick was given) a great save … Matt Gearing reached the byline and put a goal on a plate for Perry Wells, who missed it … and impressive left midfielder Courtney Herbert shot over.  A goal was overdue.  It eventually arrived just after the half-hour.  A beautiful curling pass from the left fell perfectly into no-man’s land between defence and keeper and Karl Bates sneaked in and did enough to finish despite Shorunmu’s partial block.  1-0

Bates had another half-chance, making a nuisance of himself through the centre and finding a one-on-one position, but Shorunmu again did enough.  With my freezing fingers, I noted, “Will one goal be enough?” as the first half ended.  Spencer had made no real impact as an attacking force but now they would have the easier of the conditions.  1-0 at half-time

I sought shelter for the second half, as the clips will show.  Spencer captain James Allcock got an early yellow for a mistimed challenge, and Bates almost touched in the hard low-driven free kick at the near post.  My second-half clips all follow the pattern of the half.  Spencer gained more territory, and had a few “ooh!” moments, especially from corners and set pieces, but Cogenhoe always looked dangerous themselves.  Bates and Wells were both comfortable as target men with backs to goal, and they were both adept at first-time flicks.  Attacking movement was good and they showed some variation at set plays.  Herbert always looked a threat, but somehow Spencer held on and kept the margin to one goal, helped, it has to be said, by Cogenhoe finishing that did not match up to the approach play.

In the closing minutes, some Spencer players realised they might nick a point and could be heard urging Shorunmu to hurry up with goalkicks and clearances.  They were never out of the game at 1-0, but it is hard to recall a really clear chance.  Dean Love, in the Cogenhoe goal, had to work harder in the second 45, and be alert as to when to come out to clear, but from where I was standing at the other end, they looked comfortable enough in defence for most of the time.  The last clips are from the closing minutes.  Final score 1-0

Tricky choice … Karl Bates decided the destination of the points and was always involved, but he missed a few chances too.  Quincy Shorunmu was a busy man. The Spencer centre-backs deserve some credit too.  However, I’ll nominate Courtney Herbert just because of the ripples of anticipation he caused whenever he got the ball.
A snippet from the programme
No programme today so here is a photograph of a teamsheet.
What Next?
Hmmm … I see there are four fixtures this evening, three of which I could get to.  I’m tempted.

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