With undoubtedly the longest trek of the weekend Bunt’s Under 14’s journeyed to Hemel Hempstead to play third place Hemel Aces seeking to avenge a home defeat earlier in the season and then delighted Gaffer Chris Adams with a display he described as “collectively great”.
With both sides having contending with a lack of games and a bumpy pitch the opening exchanges were a little scrappy until on 15 minutes the hosts with a well taken shot took the lead. The goal acted as a catalyst for Cougars who started to find some rhythm and five minutes later Matt ‘messi’ Inman outwitted the home defence before being fouled for a penalty. Matt Share stepped up calmly to level the scores. Cougars then started to get the better of possession and on 25 minutes the ever lively Liam Smith pressed the Hemel back line and forced a rushed clearance to Matt Inman’s feet, who from 25 yards chipped the keeper with a sublime finish. Two minutes later Liam Smith delivered a beautifully driven corner towards Matt Adams who found the top corner with a bullet header to put Cougars three one ahead and firmly in control at half time.
In the second half Buntingford managed the game well denying the hosts time and space as the Aces fought to get back into the game. Indeed Cougars got their reward five minutes from time when Liam Smith chased and harassed the Hemel back line and bagged himself a goal with a tidy finish.
A deserved 4-1 win made the long drive home a little more palatable for boss Chris Adams who in his post match press conference said “After a poor display last time we talked about the need to listen and concentrate and the boys have knuckled down and really put on a fabulous show. Luke Garratt and Archie Rhodes stuck to their individual tasks really well but we were collectively great, I have to give a special mention goes to Matty Inman who proved that football matches are sometimes won by clever creative and exciting football.”
Cougars Under8’s entertained Sawbridgeworth on Saturday with the Blues opening the scoring after Finlay Walker picked the ball up in his own half and after a long run coolly slotted past the keeper. In the second half it was Walker again who scored when he curled a sweet free kick that found the top corner. Stout defending from Orran Taylor and Patrick Mitchell ensured a clean sheet for the Under8’s Blues.
Bunt’s Under8’s Whites then played Sawbo and put in their best performance of the season. Oscar Kennedy between the sticks did well with a string of fine saves and there were chances at the other end for Archie Prior and Ben Hume who both came close to scoring.
After weeks of waterlogged induced postponements Cougars Under 9’s finally played and their performance was worth waiting for as they came away from Stevenage based Broadhall with a convincing victory. Despite the scoreline goalkeepers from both teams were singled out with outstanding performances with Oliver Kay looking accomplished beyond his years and keeping a clean sheet. Cougars’ goals came courtesy of five different players Stan Wennington, Ethan Vater, Ben Perryman, Ben Maley and Deno Vairavanathan.
Cougars Under10’s Blues did well to run out victors in a competitive match versus Bishop Stortford United. The scoring was opened after eight minutes after a tame shot from George Godfrey took a cruel bobble in front of United’s keeper and deflected over his keeper’s shoulder into the net.
With both sides working hard the game ebbed and flowed well into the second half but the second goal went the way of the hosts as the enthusiastic Hayden Walley scored from close range in the 28th minute after some great work by man of the match Charlie Fountain and Jack Gurney.
With seven minutes remaining a Stortford cross was handled in the box resulting in a penalty for the away side. Sam Daly in goal saved well only to see the rebound fall to a United player who fired home with the help of a deflection.
With both teams seeking a goal in the final minutes it was the hosts who scored after a strong determined run from Nathan Anderson ended with him firing in low just before the final whistle.
Buntingford’s Under10s Whites played out an equally entertaining match versus Stortford Wanderers. Evan Howard played well and Jimmy Brown was unlucky not to score after Josh Lucas had found him. Archie Vass-Smart dictated some periods of play but Cougars just couldn’t find a breakthrough. The closest the Whites came to scoring was when Kameron Weston hit the post from distance and man of the match Jimmy Brown flicked in a cross but saw his effort well saved.
Cougars Under11’s kept the pressure on the leaders with a 2-1 home victory in a local derby match against Royston Town. Paul Skinner’s team played well in a very tight first half with just saw just one goal scored by the host’s Max Coutts. The second half saw Royston score a deserved equaliser following a lot of pressure before Buntingford got a penalty late on which Jack Piggott converted to secure the win. Cougars’ man of the match was Max Coutts for his determined all round effort.
Buntingford’s U12’s Blues played out a great match against a really good footballing team from Letchworth but endured one of those days when despite having most chances and applying lots of effort just couldn’t score and went down with a 4nil loss. Man of the match accolade was shared between Bradley Anderson who came so close to scoring several times, with one power header just going too high, Harrison Caldicot-Stevens who demonstrated great skill and determination down the right and Luca Manning who played yet another great game mixing tough tackles with silky skills. The U12’s attitude award went to Cameron Owen who, until a thigh injury ended his game, was having one of his best games of the season. U12’s Boss Rich Thorpe was philosophical in his post match press conference saying “There were some great individual performances and an all round team effort to be proud of today”.
Cougars Under 15’s kept up their push for a top four finish with an exciting 5-4 home win over Barmond United.
Mark Watson’s Cougars Under16’s travelled to Bishops Stortford Saints and went behind after only 15 seconds. Bintingford’s title contenders though showed why they are having a great season by coming back to go ahead by two – one before half time courtesy of strikes from Dan White and man of the match Myles Radwell. Radwell added a further two goals after the interval for his hat-trick a a deserved win for Buntingford.