Cockfield United

Cockfield United

A hard weekend for both our Saturday sides this weekend as both fell to narrow defeats in the league.

The 1sts travelled to AFC Yourshirts looking to build on a good start to the season the week before. With just one change to the squad with Garrad away on international duty, Larter came in for his debut to replace him at centre half meaning we lined up with a strong squad. As ever with Yourshirts we knew this would be a case of winning your battles and then trying to play from there. It was a keenly contested game with few chances, with Yourshirts happy to sit behind the ball and any time we did create a promising opportunity we either made a bad decision, lacked a bit of quality or were stopped in our tracks with tactical fouls. Yourshirts offered little in the way of threat in the first half only managing to test Brinkley with long range efforts that were comfortably dealt with. The best chances, and they were really good chances, came our way when we were able to piece moves together through the lively Bowyer. First he navigated his way around the outside of the Yourshirts defence outpacing them before producing an excellent cross along the floor and with the goal gaping 2 yards out the ball managed to go through the legs of both the arriving Williams and Spivey when it seemed easier to score than miss! Bowyer was unperturbed and another jinking run saw him through on goal, rounding the keeper but being forced wide the Yourshirts defence were able to recover and clear his goalbound effort off the line. A tight first half finished 0-0.

A change in formation from Yourshirts at half time saw them match us up and initially this paid dividends for them as they had their best spell of the game having some good efforts from the edge of the box, none of which troubled Brinkley unduly. We grew into the half but too many times our final ball, decision making and movement was lacking. Incredibly, Yourshirts kept 11 on the pitch when a through ball was picked up by the Yourshirts goalkeeper 2 to 3 yards outside the box when under pressure from our player. The referee seeing this gave the free kick but failed to give even a yellow for blatant handball which considering our player probably would have got the ball had he not used his hands was surely denying a goalscoring opportunity and was deliberate handball?! On an afternoon where nothing seemed to go our way, a good ball into the box saw Banks arriving beyond the Yourshirts defence but unable to sufficiently control his effort which flew harmlessly wide. Soon after Spivey broke clear and as the keeper rushed out opted to square for Bowyer but could only find the retreating Yourshirts defender who cleared with the goal gaping. More good play from the ever-dangerous Bowyer saw him race passed his marker down the left and his teasing cross was just diverted wide by the outstretched leg of the Yourshirts defender as we went close again. On 85 minutes, the sucker punch arrived as we threw the game away when a corner was comfortably collected by the lucky Yourshirts keeper and his long punt downfield was missed by Cox, completely misjudging it, and last man Gladwell tried in vain to win a 50/50 rather than hold him up and was beaten allowing the Yourshirts man to stride clear and finish well for what would be the winner.

A real sucker punch of a loss! To be perfectly honest we didn’t play that well with too many people having an off day and our passing game stifled by a well organised Yourshirts side who got bodies behind the ball and worked hard. Having said that we never really looked in trouble against a side we expect to be near the top come the end of the season, their only clear-cut chance coming at the end from a mistake of our own doing. Had we taken our chances we wouldn’t have been so heavily punished by that late mistake. Whilst it’s disappointing to have lost its encouraging that without hitting our straps we were the better side, created chances and gave up very little defensively. We will learn from that mistake and hopefully as the season progresses we will learn to find ways to win when our game isn’t working as we hope. Individually I thought Brinkley was solid in goal, distributing well and looking comfortable with the few efforts he had to deal with. Larter on debut was imperious at the back barely missing a ball and passing with calmness and precision. MOM though went to Bowyer whose trickery and pace put Yourshirts on the backfoot on a number of occasions and was desperately unlucky not to come away with a goal or an assist for his efforts!
The reserves looked to get back to winning ways this week as they welcomed last years league winners Trimley Red Devil’s to the green.

The game started much like our two previous fixtures with Cockfield starting the game much the better side. Everything spoken about in the changing rooms was evident in our play as we played the ball out from the back to advance up the pitch at every opportunity. Hughes and Graham in central midfield were key in taking the ball from the defence and moving us up the pitch. Similar to last week we took our foot off the pedal after 25 mins and allowed TRD into the game. They focused their efforts on the long ball from deep in their half and relied on the pace of their striker to get in behind. It soon paid off when their number 9 brought a long punt down and despite the best effort of Simms to dispossess him, the deflected strike evaded Harrod in goal to make it 1-0. For all of our slick passing and calmness in possession we were limited to only a couple of shots at the TRD goal throughout the first half, and neither gave the keeper anything to worry about meaning we went in 1 down at the half.

After a lengthy regrouping in the changing rooms, we came out the better team and it wasn’t long before we were rewarded with a goal. A lovely bit of football involving 3 blue and white shirts culminated with Hughes using the outside of his boot to slide a ball to the feet of D. Allen on the edge of the area with his back to goal. His first touch was lovely and with his second he rolled his marker and whipped a left footed strike across the keeper into the far corner. Just what we needed we thought, an early goal and much needed confidence booster. Trimley were again struggling to break us down through the middle and were heavily reliant on long balls trying to expose our high line. On 70 mins, it paid off for them when their pacey forward managed to win a header, sucking in his marker which opened up space in behind and after the second ball was won by the TRD midfield and flicked over our defence, all the striker had to do was set himself and whip the ball into the far corner. An unfortunate goal to concede and one our centre back pairing of Brinkley and Simms will be unhappy with as they both had gone about their tasks admirably throughout the game, winning everything up until that point. Frustration began to set in now amongst ourselves and our performance dipped. For all our possession we still struggled to test the TRD goalkeeper. The game petering out to a 2-1 defeat.

Another disappointing result to take as even though we were far from our best and a way off our two previous performances, we still believe we were the better side collectively we simply succumbed to two lapses in concentration at the back. We will look to improve next week. MOM this week went to Freddie Hughes who put in an industrious performance using his physicality and determination to drive his teammates on. Claiming a lovely assist for our goal.

Both teams look to bounce back this weekend as the 1sts turn to Morrison Freight Cup action against Somersham, who have had a tough start whilst the Reserves have their 3rd home game on the bounce and will look to pick up the points as they host Haughley United Reserves.

Up The Cocks!

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Posted: Thursday, September 12 2019 by Tom O'Leary

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

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