Monday, 22 January 2018

Hambleden have no answer to Cookham as they crash out of cup

HAMBLEDEN suffered Maidenhead and Norfolkian Cup heartache as they crashed out of the competition at the semi-final stage at Cookham

HAMBLEDEN suffered Maidenhead and Norfolkian Cup heartache as they crashed out of the competition at the semi-final stage at Cookham Dean on Saturday.

Hambleden fielded an almost unchanged side from the team that beat Stokenchurch the previous weekend with only Chris Brunning replacing the absent Ryan Irving at fullback.

Battling performances from both teams limited any clear opening exchanges where the difficult surface made it hard to play neat football.

On 15 minutes the hosts took the lead when Hambleden goalkeeper Ross Hathaway saw a tame shot squirm between his legs and roll agonisingly into the net.

Clearly frustrated, Hambleden pushed with striker Paul Reading finding space on the edge of the Cookham box before firing in a shot that was turned round the post by Cookham keeper Mike Rogers.

Rogers then turned away another ferocious shot from Hambleden’s Lakovic after he caught Adam North’s corner on the volley.

Almost immediately Lakovic, returning to his defensive position, cleared off his own goal line after a run and tight-angled shot by Cookham’s Ben Keene.

On 29 minutes, pushing to get back in the game, Hambleden’s midfielder Christopher Sanga conceded possession high up the field. A Cookham through ball caught Hambleden right back Dawson offguard and Ross Hathaway could only look on as Cookham’s Dawson ran in from the left to stroke the ball home from inside the area. Ross Hathaway foiled another Dawson effort when close in and had strong hands to foil a shot from distance. Lakovic then denied Cookham’s Keene with a challenge inside his own six-yard box.

Hambleden struggled to find a way to break down the Cookham defence and looked in need of the half-time whistle, but were effectively undone and left with a mountain to climb when Andy Shed relinquished the ball cheaply in the Cookham half. With the midfield open and the defence split with a well-timed pass, Cookham’s Keene raced on to the through ball and all but sealed the victory with a shot past the Hambleden keeper.

Shortly after half-time Reading was replaced by Simon Hathaway. Markwell replaced injured captain Matt Cook with 28 minutes remaining and added a forward impetus. Markwell exchanged passes with Sanga and found Brown behind the Cookham back line, Andy Shed’s shot flashing just wide of the mark. Hambleden’s Brian was then adjudged to have fouled a Cookham striker outside the Hambleden box but the free kick sailed wide of the mark.

Oz Dawson went into the book for a strong challenge in retaliation to a previous encounter which had left the Hambleden right back bloodied.

Aaron Lopez replaced Lakovic with 15 minutes to go as Hambleden threw caution to the wind.

Lopez was felled when cutting in from his left-hand berth after Markwell, Sanga and North contrived to send the youngster through. Cookham’s Berringer was subsequently booked. From the resultant free kick Markwell caused enough mayhem to allow the ball to fall to Shed who from 12 yards out saw his shot ricochet off the back of a Cookham defender and glide to safety.

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