Cougars Under 10’s Whites kicked off the weekend under bright but very blustery conditions on a firm but sticky pitch at Sawbridgeworth and were full of energy although the early exchanges were played out in the middle of the park with neither goalkeeper being troubled. Samuel Miles and Jack Hedge in defence were playing well when a speculative chance fell to Sawbridgeworth who scored. Cougars kept battling away with some good passing between Noah Gibson, Will Greathead and Thomas Norris who really started to put the opposition under some pressure. Ben Maley was his usual competitive self in midfield winning all the 50:50 balls and making many good passes.
At the start of the second half Cougars were a little slow to get going and Tom Betley in goal made a number of good saves and one great save diving and stretching to his left to push a certain goal around the post. This spurred Cougars on and they really started to play and it was not long before Thomas Norris got on the score sheet when a clearance by the Sawbridgeworth defence fell at his feet and he slotted home with a great shot. It was all Cougars now as Ben Perryman on the right was doing well and the crowd felt certain an equaliser would happen. A fine run by Noah Gibson coming out from defence and a pass to Thomas Norris looked like certain goal but the shot went just past the post. Jack Hedge and Rocco Douglas at the back were playing with purpose and their solid defending was the platform for a number of Cougars attacks but despite the efforts of all on the pitch Cougars could not score a second. Manager Danny Miles interviewed by Sky at pitch side straight after the game praised the efforts of all the team saying “Today, against good opponents Cougar Whites had all the stats in their favour. Some great saves by Tom Betley in goal earned him the man of the match award in an all round team performance.”
On a bright blowy morning Cougars Under10’s Blues had a competitive game at Sawbridgeworth. It was end to end stuff in the early stages but Cougars showed their passing prowess and got some shots on target but couldn’t find the net unlike the hosts ended the first half one up.
After Cougars guardian George Brownless made some great saves Cougars enjoyed some great play with Stan Gurney doing well on the left wing delivering some dangerous crosses whilst the midfield duo of Ben Maley and Olly Baker won numerous crunching tackles. In defence Samuel Miles did a sterling job as last man.
Despite Cougars efforts Sawbridgeworth scored against the run of play Cougars hit a goal back with a shot from Sam Maley blocked by the keeper to rebound back for his twin brother Ben Maley to knock in. Cougars commentator Josh Maley told the BBC’s Football Focus “It was a good all round performance from Cougars in an evenly balanced game.”
Buntingford’s Under9s Blues did well at Manuden with two goals from Finlay Walker and a strike from Orran Taylor. Cougars Under9’s Whites meanwhile enjoyed a game against Manuden where Carrie Grinyer scored her first Cougars goal assisted by a skilful run by Archie Prior.
Buntingford’s Under11’s had a mixed Sunday with the Blues going down one nil at league leaders FC Comets in very difficult conditions despite a man of the match performance by Nathan Anderson and the Stripes losing at home to Stotfold; Ciaran Jenkins earning the man of the match accolade. Cougars Under11’s Whites though got a result in what their Gaffer Dean Howard described as their best performance of the season as they beat Letchworth Reds by a single strike courtesy of Casey Heenan’s sixteenth goal of the season.
Buntingford Cougars Under13 Whites continued to impress as they lifted themselves to third in their division with their tenth league victory of the season following a comfortable four-nil home win over Royston Town Youth Rangers. In a fast and sometimes scrappy first half Cougars took an early lead following a frantic goal mouth scramble that was finished with an emphatic strike by Sam Gering, the ball finding its way through a sea of legs. Within ten minutes Tommy Jackson had doubled the lead from the penalty spot after George Lovegrove had been brought down and the a third goal came for Cougars before half time courtesy of an own goal to round off a solid first half. In a sometimes lacklustre second half midfield stalwarts Toby Greaves, Gabi Ba Tin and Marty Pritchard controlled the centre of the park denying Royston the opportunity to build their attacking game and moments of flair were provided by Lovegrove and Will Roads, whose penetrating runs and individual skill harassed the Royston defence. Strikers Owen Slade, Tommy Jackson, Sam Smith and Gerring all tested the Royston goalkeeper, Jackson coming close on two occasions. Cougars eventually increased their lead mid way through the second half via a Nathan Edwards through ball, which found Gerring who skilfully lifted the ball over the keeper to make it four-nil. With some great performances at the back by Matthew Baker, Ben Hawthorn and Sam Jackson Royston were denied any real chances meaning that Cougars keeper Ewan White was rarely tested. The closest Royston came was in the second half with a free kick that despite a great strike was stopped well by White who achieved yet another clean sheet with his consistent and reliable safe pair of hands.
Cougars Under10’s were away at Arseley and their latest signing Stan Gurney got Cougars Blues off to a great start scoring in the first five minutes. Cougars dominated the game with good passing between Fred Betley and Dexter Cumberland leading to Gurney’s second goal on fifteen minutes. Arlesey then made a break following a Cougars corner but were prevented from scoring thanks to the defensive efforts of Jack Hedge and George Brownless. Keeper Brownless was then forced to make a couple of great saves from Arlesey corners. The hosts dominated at the beginning of the second half allowing Jamiu Ajasa and Hedge to showcase their defending skills whilst at the other end Cumberland could not score despite his effort and several attempts on goal.
Buntingford’s Under10’s Whites started their game against Arseley strongly with Ben Perryman having a great shot saved by the Arlesey Keeper and Will Greathead seeing his great effort saved. Cougars were strong in the second half with some great wide runs by Perryman and goal attempts by Thomas Norris.
Cougars Under11’s had all three teams in action with the Blues enjoying a convincing victory against St Davids. Left footers Jack Lally and Lily Hall both found the net with their right boots, Lally bagging a brace. Skipper Jake Votariello was awarded man of the match after bossing the game from the back. Buntingford’s Under11’s Whites scored first against Ashwell Strikes courtesy of a spot kick from Casey Heenan but couldn’t hold on despite a great performance by man of the match Tom Carter as Ashwell ran out winners by three goals to one. Meanwhile Cougars Under11’s Stripes traveled to face Letchworth Reds and looked as though they were heading for a draw after man of the match Yann Boulter scored to cancel out the hosts goal but Letchworth scored in the last five minutes as Cougars struggled to see out the game.
In the Under7’s section Cougars had a fun morning at Wheathampstead in a tournament where Tyler Jordan delivered a well deserved man of the match performance and Henry Turner hit the net twice. Two Cougars teams reached the finals of the mini tournament and were a credit to Buntingford.
Elsewhere at the weekend Buntingford’s Under12’s had a high scoring home win against Letchworth whilst the Under14’s lost out away to Bedwell and the Under15’s Blues were unable to overcome Knebworth at home.
A few pics of today’s soccer school at Freman College Sports Hall
Cougars Under11’s star Lily and her family at the England Ladies Vs USA international on Friday. The tickets were available free to Cougars members – compliments of the FA – as the club is an FA Charter Standard club. Lily’s dad told us that Lily and her family enjoyed a great night despite England losing 1-0.
Buntingford Cougars had another weekend weather washout for most teams but there was still some enjoyable action. The game of the weekend was at London Road as Cougars Under11’s Whites faced Cougars Stripes (pictures attached). It was a tight affair with Ian Jenkins Stripes team creating more chances in the first half.
Yann Boulter, Freddy Cocks, and Ciaran Jenkins for the Stripes all had efforts saved or missed before Dean Howard’s Whites broke the deadline just before half time. A corner was delivered perfectly by Kameron Weston and was only half cleared by the Stripes defence and fell invitingly to Cougars Whites Man of the Match Jimmy Brown who made no mistake from 12 yards with a sure fire strike through a crowded six yard box and into the net.
The second half saw Buntingford’s Whites create more chances with Tom Carter, Josh Ridings and Casey Heenan enjoying efforts on goal but Tom Ryman in the Stripes goal was commanding between the sticks. Stripes defenders Freddy Lee and their Man of the Match Shane Coyne were both courageous with some last ditch tackles and goal line clearances.
At the other end Josh Lucas, Ed Green, Charlie Griggs and Ben Hancox all saw efforts narrowly miss or get well saved by Cougars Whites guardian Max Young. It was Cougars Whites who scored the next goal that decided the fixture as Brogan Fakhfakh and Evan Howard worked hard to set up Josh Neylour who cracked in a low shot that into the goal.
After the game Cougars Ian Jenkins told BBC’s Match of the Day “Although we didn’t get the result we saw probably our best performance of the season today with a gritty display and some great football. I was really pleased with the performance.”
Elsewhere Cougars Under13’s Blues played out an exciting tense affair at home to Baldock Town Crusaders and ran out four – three victors. Buntingford’s Under12’s lost away to Stevenage Boro two one and Cougars Under14’s took on Baldock in a close game with man of the match Lewis Horan making some decisive challenges but couldn’t stop Baldock scoring twice. Miles Bamforth pulled one back but it was not enough in the end.
Following a few weeks without a game Buntingford’s Under10’s Whites made the trip north to Biggleswade Rovers. From the kick off Cougars looked lively playing some good football. A great move and a deliberate dummy gave Jack Hedge the chance to shoot from outside the box but his shot was well saved by the keeper. Rovers were growing into the game when Cougars broke away with pace, a great ball by Jamiu Ajasa to Noah Gibson was well controlled giving Gibson a run on goal, a low shot burst the left hand side of the net to open the scoring for Cougars.
Biggleswade continued to push forward but had little with Rocco Douglas making some fantastic tackles and playing a commanding role in defence the hosts were kept at bay. Following another Cougars move down the left involving Will Greathead and Jake Craddock a lobbed ball by Noah Gibson to Thomas Norris was rifled home.
The second half started with Cougars looking a little tired and sustained pressure from Biggleswade allowed Cougars to demonstrate some great defending, Tom Betley in goal pulled off a couple of superb reaction saves before Biggleswade scored. A few nervy few minutes followed before the referee blew the whistle. After the match Manager Danny Miles told BBCs Gary Lineker “It was a great performance by all of the team so it was difficult to pick man of the match but it went to Rocco Douglas for a fine defensive display and some superb tackles.”
Cougars Under 10’s Blues faced Biggleswade United on a sunny fresh morning on Sunday with the bright conditions setting the scene for a great display of passing football and team spirit. The opening encounters saw Cougars pressurise Biggleswade and it was well deserved when Cougars mini soccer star Ethan Vater scored a well taken goal early on to break the deadlock before United level the score later.
From there Cougars enjoyed possession and saw lots of good play in the final third resulting in attempts on goal from Oliver Baker, Ben Maley, Dexter Cumberland and the lively Vater but being unable to finish the visitors found themselves conceding again as Biggleswade scored. Typically Cougars refused to give up and Ben Maley thumped home a rebound off their goal keeper in off the cross bar in the final few minutes. The crowd was then thrilled with some excellent saves from Tom Betley and good defending from Sam Maley and Sam Myles. Oliver Baker was presented with the man of the match award for his tireless work all over the pitch. After the game with the BBC’s Gabby Yorath Manager Danny Miles sang his teams praises saying “We lost our previous match against this team and it shows how much we have improved recently to now draw against such a good side.”
Cougars Under 9’s put in the performance of the weekend as they enjoyed a goal fest at Bishops Stortford. Hat tricks from top scorer Finlay Walker and another treble from Spencer Sendall added to a double strike from Freddie Arnold to keep Danny Skipp’s side on the up.
In the Under 11s section Cougars Whites endured a long journey to St Neots and came away with no points but an encouraging performance against the division’s runaway leaders. Casey Heenan scored the sole goal for Dean Howards side and it was the hard working and enthusiastic Evan Howard (pic) who scooped the well deserved man of the match accolade.
Cougars Under 11s Blues went to Stortford and scored two great strikes on the counter attack courtesy of Jack Gurney but came undone in the second half by a well organized and fit Stortford side to concede three and with no more to reply Darryl Dean’s side left point less. Buntingford’s Under11s Stripes entertained Ashwell and lost what was a close encounter.
Kev Ridgewell’s Under14’s were defeated by Bishops Stortford with some great goalkeeping from Miles Bamforth and a great man of the match display from Indra Premadasa.
Buntingford’s Under 15’s travelled to Wormley and saw a bright start with early efforts from Josh Bradfield and Owen Groves saved by the Wormley keeper. The breakthrough came on 15 minutes when Matt Share dribbled down the line cut inside and was fouled. Up stepped Sid Arnold and sent his free kick into the top corner to take the lead. Two minutes later Groves nearly doubled the lead but his eighteen yard thunderbolt crashed off the bar from 18yards. Ten minutes later Cougars did double the lead this time Matt Share capitalising on a loose defensive pass beating two defenders and finishing well. As half time approached Buntingford conceded an unnecessary free kick which was swung in and fell kindly to a Wormley forward who made no mistake to pull one back before the break.
Early in the second half Wormley equalized from a header following a corner and with their tails up the hosts were harshly awarded a penalty in more of a coming together but Jay Canine brushed himself down and saved well. Cougars struggled afterwards to retain possession and the decisive goal in the game came when the away side failed to mark their left winger and with too much time and space he found the bottom corner. Chris Adams tried hard to score again but despite a few half chances never really came close and Wormley finished deserved winners.
After the match Chris Adams told BT Sports Robbie Savage “Today Wormley deserved their win, they were fitter than us and we switched off at a few crucial times which cost us in the end. But I can’t fault the boys’ effort and spirit today. Two special mentions , Owen Groves who in has really progressed in recent weeks and James Parkins who went straight in at centre half today and looked like he’d always worn the blue and white, he played a super debut.”
In the Under16’s top of the table clash Sean Curran’s Under16’s travelled to Hitchin Town for a share of the spoils with a well earned one – one draw. Elsewhere for Buntingford the Under12’s lost three-one to Stortford. The Under 13’s Blues went down by a single goal to ESS whilst the Under13’s Whites lost by the odd goal in three to Stortford.
On a weekend where most Cougars matches were victims of the weather it was down to our eldest teams to fly the blue and white flag in their cup competitions and both put in sterling performances to progress. Chris Adams’ Under 15s continued their outstanding season as they played in the Mid Herts Under15’s premier league cup and the Cougars boss witnessed a stunning performance from Sid Arnold. The fixture, originally intended to be played at Buntingford was reversed with most of Buntingford under a layer of snow on Sunday morning.
The tie saw Adams introduce new signing Josh Bradfield in a game that started brightly for Buntingford. A first minute corner for Cougars was swung in by Owen Groves and the ball dropped to the feet of Archie Rhodes who made no mistake from 10 yards to put Buntingford one nil up. Adams was pleased to see his side continue to play well and create further openings with Rhodes heading over before having a point blank header brilliantly cleared off the line.
Although Buntingford had the lion’s share of the game it was Hertford buoyed by two new signings who started to get the upper hand just before half time and were rewarded with a super goal as the ball was driven between Cougars back 4 and the Hertford striker brought it down in the blink of an eye and shot home leaving Jay Caine no chance in the Buntingford goal.
After the interval Cougars reshuffled and despite a determined Hertford Liam Smith had an effort cleared off the line, debutante Josh Bradfield flashed a strike across goal, and Groves hit the bar before Sid Arnold with two moments of magic sealed the tie.
Firstly a free kick from the edge of the box was dispatched into the top corner and then 30 yards out spotting the keeper off the line Arnold lobbed the Hertford guardian to make the final score three-one to Cougars.
Chris Adams later told Sky Sports Gary Neville “Today we done the business, Josh Bradfield had a super debut for us playing a real box to box role. Simon Keogh moved into centre half and played with real assurance and calm, but the plaudits on the day have to go Sidney Arnold who was top drawer all game and produced two pieces of absolute quality to win the tie.”
Meanwhile in the Under16s League cup the other Buntingford match saw Sean Curran’s first division Cougars Blues face an away tie at Hitchin based FC Comets from the second division. True to form Cougars progressed with a two nil victory and are in the hat for the semi final draw along with Bishop Stortford, Sawbridgeworth Town and Letchworth.
We would like to thank sponsors WKH developments for sponsoring rain jackets for Cougars Under8s. They have been handy in the recent cold weather and help the boys and girls look really professional.
WKH developments are PROFESSIONAL and EFFICIENT dry lining, plastering, screeding and rendering specialists. They have a reputation for being thorough and responsive and are known for their ability to adapt to the ever changing specifications and requirements of modern construction, refurbishment and site fit out.
Father and sons Directors; Walter, Kenneth and Jason have over 50 years of experience in dry lining construction and provide cost effective and sustainable project management solutions, working in partnership with clients who value the highest levels of quality, safety and technical support.
WKH is an enthusiastic and unique company who appreciate every opportunity to price large or small projects whilst providing the same work ethic. For further information please contact WKH Developments on 01992 536234 or firstname.lastname@example.org