Cougars travelled to Bedfordshire to face a formidable Shefford Saints team, and to their credit the visitors put in a determined performance from the first whistle to the last. A changed line up saw the introduction of the lively James Willis who worked tirelessly on the left wing and capped an excellent outfield performance with an imperious long rage free kick that gave the Saints’ keeper no chance.
At the other end Cougars’ keeper Johnny Nicholas was kept busy, making notable saves when he tipped a shot over the bar and repeatedly dashed off his line to close down onrushing strikers. Finlay Tanner held the line at the back in the position that he has made his own while up front Noah Benton kept the Saints’ defenders on their toes with his pace and persistence. Jack Nicholas, Ronnie Hennessy & Sam Dawson worked hard in midfield and all three were also called upon to defend and attack as the game swung from end to end.
In the second half Willis donned the keepers gloves and pulled off a string of saves to match the quality of his first half goal. Meanwhile Benton, both Nicholas brothers and Hennessy all came close to scoring but just couldn’t convert. Instead it was Dawson, who could have had a hat trick last week, who somehow found the net from an impossibly tight angle, having been set on his way after a through ball from Tanner. Coach Rod Tanner afterwards told the ITV’s Gabby Roslyn “All in all this was a tough match and the boys did themselves proud.”
Cougars under 8s Stripes looked enthusiastic in their first home game of the season hosting neighbours Hares Youth.
Jake Cole stood strong in goal and made some impressive saves and Rubi Pryke stepped up to the challenge and defended well. At the other end the home side had a few chances early on, Henry McAllister made a strong run but the Hares defense denied him a shot, similarly Kyson Man was denied a goal.
Kieran Bliss had a couple of chances, which sadly didn’t hit the target. The same player also paired up with Henry McAllister and created some great opportunities but could not break down a resolute Hares defence.
During the second half, William Brown really stood out. Eventually the chance came for him when he ran from the right wing into the middle to score the Stripes first home goal of the season.
The Stripes found more confidence and Henry McAllister almost scored a second for the Stripes following a long run but he could not finish with a goal.
After the encounter in his packed press conference Cougars Manager On Man told the media “Everyone enjoys a local derby and this was no different. Well done to both sets of players who worked really hard.”
Cougars Under 9s Boss Tom Curtis was pleased as Cougars Under9s Whites followed their goalless draw with a goal fest at The Bury. Some great work in-between the sticks by Alfie Vottariello, and solid work from Miles Arnold, Aiden broci and Luke Ross made for a great defensive display and at the other end Beau Quinn opened the scoring following some great passes between William brown, TJ Curtis and Henry Dowsett.
Soon after Ross made a great run from defence to score his first of the season and then Quinn netted twice from two set pieces, putting both in the top corner from outside the box. Next it was William Brown’s turn to score an awesome solo goal, with Ronaldo like quick feet running through 4 players and the keeper to seal the deal.
Cougars Under9’s Guv’nor Tom Curtis told TalkSport after the match “It was such an outstanding performance from all the boys. Considering it’s only their third seven a side match they did really well. Beau Quinn had one of the best games I have ever seen him play as he didn’t put a foot wrong so he deserved his man of the match accolade.”
Cougars hosted Hemel Athletic in the Herts County Cup and had to deal with a lively start from their opponents. It was thanks to Samuel Miles’ solid tackle that prevented the hosts from taking an early lead. Following the early scare, apart from one fantastic save by keeper Ethan Vater Cougars had most of the possession with the defence of Sam Maley, Jack Hedge and Freddie Bentley staying solid. Further up the pitch Ben Maley, Rocco Douglas and Dexter Cumberland were creating some good play. Hemel’s keeper was also having a blinder as his saves or the woodwork denied Cougars. Buntingford’s determination and skill told though as they ran out deserved five – one winners following goals from Ollie Baker (2), Stan Wennington (2) and Jude Shanks (1). In the Sky Sports studio after the game a happy Richard Bentley told Thierry Henry “We deserved the win, the side played really well.”
Cougars Under10s Whites travelled to Stevenage to face Symonds Green and after confusion on the venue resulting in players getting lost Cougars conceded in the early stages. Unlike last season the team did not let their heads drop and with the missing members of the squad finding the venue Buntingford found ourselves kicking off for the second time in 5 mins. The coaches had now made the necessary changes and it was clear to see everyone was more confident playing in their normal positions.
Cougars were now in control and worked space for Magnus Coates to find himself one on one with the goalkeeper who saved well. The resulting corner taken by Bear Wennington was drilled across the box for Jake Garner to tap in from close range. With half time approaching Cougars continued to play well and quick footwork from Wennington drew a foul in the opposition half. Wennington put the free kick onto the foot of Coates who scored for Cougars to take the lead just before half time.
The second half kicked with Cougars creating chances one after the other with both posts and the cross bar hit many times. The visitors had to wait until the last minute to get the goal which came after Wennington was fouled in the box, he stepped up and got his deserved goal by calmly putting the penalty to the goal keepers left. After the game Cougars Coach Greg Garner told the BBCs Gary Linekar “Every player did so well today but Oliver Heather was awarded man of the match for a solid performance in defence.”
Buntingford’s Under10’s travelled to Biggleswade United on Sunday and played out an evenly matched game with plenty of action on the pitch with some great goalmouth action at each end.
Lucca Hedge had a blinding game in goal, reading the game well and punching shots away from the top corners. In defence Cougars were on form; Aden Nash, Liam Neill and Mason Pugh stopped the hosts in their tracks on numerous occasions. Midfielders Austin Cook and Blue Salmon fought brilliantly and effectively placed balls ready for strikers James Tungatt and Lal Wennington to take fine shots. Surprisingly at half time it was goalless.
After the interval the Cougars boys dug deep, with their heads held high and with sheer determination, the second half brought some great assertive team work. With five minutes remaining, Tungatt scored a stunning strike and then netted a beauty a couple of minutes later. The hosts enjoyed a goal before the final whistle. Man of the Match for Cougars was Austin Cook.
In the tunnel after the match Cougars Coach Spencer Pugh told BBC’s five live team “It was a good match today and great to see the boys work for each other.”
After last week’s rain Cougars Under7s Blues welcomed a dry warm morning as they hosted Baldock Town Knights at The Bury for their first ever home league match.
Cougars were immediately on the attack and after a good passing movement involving Matthew Murphy and Hadley Anton the ball arrived with Ryan Neill at the back post, who would have scored if it were not for the Baldock Goalkeeper making a great triple saves.
The visitors started playing their way into the game and only a good one on one save from Darcey Fordham and then a goal line clearance from Anton kept the game goalless. After another great pass from Neill it was Ryan Gull’s turn to be denied by a great save from the Baldock guardian. The deadlock was finally broken by the Knights following a good tackle in the middle of the pitch which saw the ball fall kindly to the Baldock striker and with a good first time strike Cougars found themselves one nil down. Not long after the first goal a back pass was intercepted by the Baldock striker who controlled it well and scored doubling their lead. Anthony Gull then became the latest player to be denied again by the in-form Baldock keeper. Before the interval the away side’s keeper made three more saves denying Anton, Gull and Murphy, meaning Cougars went into the break trailing.
After the break Cougars were competitive, a good tackle from Gull set up an early chance for Murphy who struck his shot just wide. After changing goalkeepers at half time it was now the turn of the Cougars goalkeeper to make a string of good saves denying Baldock the chance to extend their lead further. Halfway through the second half the game changed when Fordham, with a good tackle found Neill who in turn located Hadley who knocked a long pass forward to Murphy, he knocked the ball past the last defender and with a first time shot beat the Baldock keeper at his near post for a great team goal. Just a minute later a fantastic long range shot from Anton levelled the score with Cougars now on top. The hosts kept control of the game with some excellent passing and tackling but with time running out a deflected tackle fell to a Baldock player who struck home. Cougars refused to give up and a fantastic corner from Gull nearly produced an equaliser but was not finished off. After the match Cougars Coach Ross Murphy was pleased telling BT Sports Michael Owen “We saw a really good effort from the whole team.”
Buntingford Cougars U13s Whites 4 Paringdon Youth U13s Tigers 3
Cougars Under13s Whites moved started their Mid Herts Rural leagues season hosting Paringdon Tigers at The Bury and Dean Howard’s side found themselves a goal down after just one minute.
An equaliser came though after 15 minutes when Tom Carter’s free kick found the back of the net. An even affair then ensued with Cougars players putting in a shift. At the back Freddy Lee was playing well and further up the pitch Sam Daly, Archie O Connor and Tom Carter started to dictate. Buntingford’s Robin Harpin and Ben Garratt were playing well so it was against the run of play when Harlow based Tigers went ahead again before the interval.
In the second half Cougars levelled again courtesy of Yann Boulter but the hosts again were behind. A third equaliser came again from Carter and then it was the same player again who secured all three points when he bundled a chance over the line.
In goal Kameron Weston made some fine saves towards the end of the match as the home side worked hard to hold on in a tense finish.
Manager Dean Howard told the BBC’s Gary Linekar “I was really pleased everyone worked hard for the win today.”
Cougars Under13’s Blues exited the Herts County Cup with a heavy defeat against a strong Potters Bar Town.
Buntingford Cougars Under7s kicked off their young careers with Cougars Blues travelling to Morden Magpies. In slick conditions perfect for football Cougars were well prepared and started well.
In the early stages Hadley Anton scored the opener for Buntingford before the home side equalised. Cougars midfield worked well and helped Ryan Neill get on the score sheet before two more goals gave Anton his hat trick and another from Neill pleased the travelling away support regardless of the rain. At the other end the away side showed defensive prowess with Ethan Doughty making some great tackles and Oscar Pledger preventing the Magpies from getting back into the game, which pleased the travelling away support in the rain.
The second half started as the first had finished. Neill secured his third before Matthew Murphy playing on the right wing, scored his first goal of the campaign. The hosts worked hard and pulled a goal back and could have had another but for Cougars goalkeeper Darcey Fordham who made a save to be proud of and denied the home team a goal.
Neill scored more goals before Ethan Murphy popped up with a great solo goal. Anton also scored more and then Matthew Murphy scored twice to put a third Cougars player on a hat trick. Cougars stayed strong at the back with Daniel Barr playing well.
Coach Paul Fordham told Sky Sports after the match “It was a super start to their playing careers at Cougars. As the coach I chuckled at a comment made by a Cougar player as we left the pitch, when I was asked, “Who won the game?” Which put the result into perspective and capped off a great morning. “
Buntingford Cougars U12s Blues 7 FC Comets U12s 1
A great start to the season as Cougars U12 Blues came up against FC Comets on a lovely sunny Sunday morning at London Road. After a slow start the team came together and started to create. A great cross into Stan Wennington by Olly Baker produced Cougars first goal, followed by a second from Dexter Cumberland shortly after. Comets struggled to get past the strong Cougars defence of Jack Hedge, Sam Miles and Sam Maley but when they eventually got through they won a corner which Goalkeeper Ethan Vater dealt with expertly with a fine save. Buntingford came out strong in the second half with some skilful passing in the midfield between Freddie Bentley, Baker and Rocco Douglas allowing Ben Maley to score Cougars third before Jude Shanks scored a stunner from a corner. Wennington went on to score three more goals with Cumberland getting his hat trick leaving Cougars celebrating an emphatic nine nil victory.