Buntingford Cougars Under11s Blues played out an intensely exciting cup match at Letchworth that went all the way to a penalty shootout to decide the winners. The first half started evenly but it was Cougars who went in front with top scorer George Godfrey beating the Letchworth guardian. Chances continued at both ends but with Sam Daly in fine form for Cougars and the home side keeper also playing a blinder further goals were denied in the first half.
The second half started with the hosts scoring from a free kick but midway through the second half Cougars equalised with the lively Godfrey getting a second before a cross from the left put the visitors ahead again as Jack Lally converted for Cougars. It felt as though there was a twist in the tail and indeed there was as Letchworth equalised after a period of pressure three minutes before the final whistle to force extra time.
Extra time continued in the same vein with both sides playing exciting football but with tired limbs forcing a few mistakes and fouls. Again it was Letchworth who scored again before the second period when Godfrey netted again for his hat trick. At four goals apiece the referee blew for a penalty shootout. Cougars first penalty was saved and then every penalty from both teams found the net therefore seeing Cougars exit the league cup 5-4 on penalties.
Speaking to Sky Sports Desk after the game Cougars Manager Darryl Dean said “I was really proud of our players today; everyone gave 100% and if it wasn’t for such a great display from the Letchworth keeper the score could have been very different. To lose on a penalty shootout is always cruel but this team can hold their heads high. The way they supported each other during the penalties showed what a great team ethic they have for such young people.”
Meanwhile Dean Howard’s Under11’s Whites enjoyed an emphatic home win scoring seven to no reply with Casey Heenan (2), Tom Carter (2), Josh Ridings, Josh Lucas and Josh Andros all bagging goals and the Man of the Match accolade going to long time Cougars player Robin Harpin.
Buntingford’s Under15s travelled to Broxbourne as the premier division’s first and second placed teams faced off in what was a great spectacle. The first half started with the hosts testing Cougars but then the visitors got into the game and created some half chances with shots from Liam Smith, Archie Rhodes and Luke Garratt not quite enough to beat the excellent home guardian.
Broxbourne took the lead against the run of play as a quick striker ran through and made no mistake. Manager Chris Adams was pleased with his sides reaction and in the next twenty minutes followed some fantastic graft and craft and were rewarded just before the break as Garratt fed Rhodes hit home to get Buntingford level at half time.
Cougars started brightly in the second half but were dealt a harsh blow as a long distance effort flew in from the hosts. Despite the setback Cougars continued to create chances but the home keepers handling on a wet pitch was impeccable. The hosts handled took advantage of Cougars push and scored twice to take a 4-1 lead before Owen Groves pulled one back just before the final whistle.
Cougars Manager Chris Adams told Gary Linekar on Match of the Day “Jim has a great side at Broxbourne and we gave them a real test. In truth they had greater quality in the last third and made and took their clear chances clinically which was the difference between us. My boys were excellent today and gave everything, they played well as a team and the boys felt hard done by not to have come away with something today, and that disappointment shows me their appetite for the games ahead.”
Cougars Under 7s Stripes and Royals under the stewardship of Phil Allen are going from strength to strength and put in another fine performance against Letchworth Eagles. Cougars started well and played much of the game in the Letchworth half as they dominated possession and dictated play.
Possession soon turned into goals and buntingford ended the first half with a two goal lead. After a break it was much the same and it didn’t take long for Cougars to score another three goals. Letchworth battled well and pulled a goal back before cougars ended the game with one more goal.
After another break Cougars, playing from the back pinned Eagles in their own half, dominating the play again and scoring again to record a comfortable win. A pleased Phil Allen after the match told talksport listeners “All the players played really well, I was delighted with the way we always played football out from the back.”
Meanwhile Cougars Under 7’s Blues and Whites played Arseley and recorded another emphatic victory with a high score line despite having Dempsey Crace on academy duty at Cambridge United.
In the under12 section Paul Skinners Cougars were defeated at home Stevenage Borough Migs and a year up Cougars Under13s Blues played aout a tight three all draw with Shefford Saints whilst the Under13’s Whites won seven – three against Shephall. Kev Ridgewell’s Under14’s continue with their woes after a heavy defeat at Melbourn. Buntingford Under16’s Whites travelled to Hitchin and came away with a six – one reverse against FC Comets.