Cockfield United

Cockfield United

Both Saturday sides returned to action after the Christmas break looking a little bit fuller and definitely not fitter but produced two promising performances to start the year. The 1sts made the difficult trip to Somersham and the challenges inherent with their infamous slope. On Thursday we possessed a strong looking squad of 14 which by Friday night was reduced to 12 when Francis and Ennis both pulled out ill, this meant a call up for Bullett who was back from uni for the Christmas period.

We started the game going down the slope, but it was Somersham who settled better in the first 10 minutes as we were slow to shrug off the Christmas exertions. Fortunately for us Somersham only mustered one meaningful attempt as a clearance to the edge of the box was volleyed at goal for keeper Brinkley to gather comfortably. Slowly but surely, we grew into the game and began to dominate proceedings as Somersham struggled to get out of their half and we began to master their high line. On 3 occasions Spivey managed to break the offside trap; twice shooting wide when well-placed and also flashing the ball across goal with no one there to finish. Our pressure told when a good move released Hughes down the left to drive passed his marker and cut back a ball 14 yards out for the onrushing Snape to smash home high into the net for 1-0 on the half hour. It was all ourselves now as we pressed to increase our advantage further and we went close when Snapes 25 yard drive was tipped onto the post with a good save by the home keeper. Somersham were fortunate to keep 11 on the pitch when Spivey robbed the Somersham last man after some indecision at the back left him through on goal only to be hauled down with what can only be described as an excellent rugby tackle wrapping the legs. Despite being clean through on the edge of the box and there not being another Somersham defender within 15 yards the referee somehow deemed the offence only worthy of a yellow. Quite the let off for the home side! The home keeper excelled himself further when Spivey broke through once more and spread himself brilliantly to smother Spiveys goalbound effort, the rebound fell to Snape who swivelled and beat the despairing dive of the keeper only to see his effort somehow headed off the line and behind meaning that for all our chances and dominance we only came in 1 up at the break.

Second half it was our turn to attack up the slope and again it was Somersham who came out the strongest as they pinned us back in the early stages of the second half forcing a good save from Brinkley. Ten minutes in and they were level as we reacted slowly to a recycled ball into the far post which was flicked home with great composure by the diminutive Somersham winger for 1-1. At this point I feared the worst as we’d struggled to get out of our half up to this point and with 35 minutes left a long slog awaited us. However we responded well and gradually took control of the game once more making light work of the pitch. Spivey was denied a clear penalty when he wriggled clear inside the box only to have his legs taken from underneath him and Hughes went close when from a set piece his goal-bound effort was blocked by the face of the keeper. We eventually regained the lead when a miscued clearance in the Somersham back line was pounced upon by Banks who raced clear from halfway to keep his composure and slot home nicely into the corner for 2-1 on 65 minutes. We could have extended our lead further on a few occasions; most notably when Glasswell broke free and through on goal but was perhaps too generous in not taking the shot himself, squaring for Spivey whose effort was again superbly saved by the home keeper and his second effort eventually blocked away off the line. Into the last 10 Somersham brought on their ‘big man’ and started to throw balls forward but Garrad was in uncompromising mood winning every header that came his way. We should have had another penalty when we broke up the pitch and Spivey beat the defender to the ball to again be wiped out, only for the referee to again wave it away much to the mirth of the opposition benches players who agreed it was an obvious penalty. This was almost punished in the dying stages as a long ball into the box broke to a Somersham player but his effort sailed wide of the post thankfully for us meaning it ended in a deserved 2-1 win to start 2019.

A solid performance for our first game in 3 weeks as we grew into the game in each half to dominate proceedings. The 2-1 scoreline wasn’t indicative of our dominance as the Somersham keeper made 5 or 6 excellent saves in a superb performance and we also flashed wide a number of opportunities. We were also hard done by on some big decisions by the referee. At times our football was very good but what was most pleasing was when we got pegged back to 1-1 going up the slope we could have been in for a long afternoon but instead we responded and wrestled back the initiative and gave very little away. In the centre of park it was good to see the response to the equaliser from Nicholson who drove us up the pitch with his endeavour and silky skills to help us dominate the centre of the park – a real dynamo of a performance. At left back, Bullett on his break from uni was classy as ever with good decision making defensively and then quality going forward. Up front Spivey was a constant threat and it’s only a matter of time before his luck turns and the goals start flowing once more. The big mention though goes to Crowe and Garrad at centre half who were playing there together for the first time and looked assured throughout. Garrad in particular stood out for his no nonsense approach winning headers and tackles constantly meaning we gave away very little in the way of chances and was deserving of his MOM.

Back at the Green the Reserves welcomed table topping Claydon Reserves who had won every one of their league games to date so a tough encounter was expected and so it proved to be. Claydon got off to the perfect start as their striker was allowed to weave through the Cockfield tackles beating 4 men to finish well into the corner after 4 minutes. We soon restored parity 10 minutes later when Mannell nipped into pinch the ball off the Claydon centre half only to be hauled down just outside the box. The resultant free kick was sublimely finished when Brinkley curled a free kick with the outside of his foot in off the bar for 1-1. This gave us the confidence to push on and the game became more even. With Aldous off the pitch receiving treatment for a shoulder injury Claydon took full advantage when a dangerous ball was whipped in only to be turned into his own net by Brinkley who went from sublime to unfortunate meaning we came in 2-1 down at half time.

The second half began with Claydon largely on top and this was converted into a goal when a Nicholson gave away a sloppy penalty which was converted for 3-1. Whight was soon brought on for his first Saturday appearance in a while and this gave us a bit more solidity as his experience showed. We proceeded to have a good spell but failed to convert any of the chances that came our way until an excellent team goal resulted in Mannell tucking the ball away for 3-2 and a sniff at a valuable point. Sadly for us it wasn’t to be as a defensive mistake left the Claydon striker all alone in the box to smash home for 4-2 with minutes remaining and that was how it finished. Overall the result wasn’t great but the performance and effort was first class against a team that seems destined to win the title this season. MOM on the day was Connor Harrod for pulling off a number of top draw saves to keep us in the game.

This Saturday sees just the 1sts in action in the league against Bramford Road Old Boys at the Green in a 14:00 kick off. All support is extremely welcome!

Up the Cocks!

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Posted: Wednesday, January 9 2019 by Tom O'Leary

The views expressed in club/league notes are not necessarily those of Archant Suffolk

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