On Sunday Buntingford Cougars Under15’s entertained Broxborne the league leaders in the Mid Herts Premier Division. Chris Adams’ boys knew that it was a pivotal match; a win would take Cougars level on points at the top with their visitors whilst a defeat would virtually hand Broxbourne the championship. So on a perfect day at the Bury the home side did not need much more incentive.
Cougars started brilliantly and were on the front foot from the first whistle, and were ahead on 3 minutes. Archie Rhodes worked space in the box on the right and his cross found Owen Groves who drove into the roof of the net from eight yards. After the opening goal Buntingford continued in the ascendancy with Josh Bradfield making surging runs down the left and both Sid Arnold and Matt Adams were finding space in the middle so it was no surprise when on 12 minutes Adams struck from distance and the block fell to Luke Grarratt, from the edge of the box Garratt shot home leaving the keeper no chance to double the lead. Broxborne the found their rhythm and started to threaten but James Parkins at the back was in excellent form for the hosts, despite that the visitors got one back on the half hour when Cougars failed to clear their lines and they scored with a neat finish.
The away side started the second half with all guns blazing but Cougars kept their discipline and shape throughout the team. Reece Knapp was a fine example as at right back he gave a real team performance, sacrificing some of his attacking intent to provide a solid back line. The game then swung both ways and Broxborne had a good long throw routine and 15 minutes into the half one was well flicked on and found an unmarked forward ready to head home an equalizer.
With twenty minutes to go Buntingford started to regain and keep possession and started to threaten more. Bradfield was working the left flank to good effect and it was his influence that created the games fifth goal and Cougars’ winner when he controlled the ball out of the sky beat his man and played a defence splitting pass between the centre backs. The on running Rhodes controlled the pass, got the ball out of his feet and lobbed the Broxbourne guardian from twenty five yards. The final fifteen minutes saw Matt Share dropping in at full back which reflected well what the side were prepared to do all over the pitch and a disciplined, passionate performance from Cougars saw them run out deserved victors. It is now down to the two final matches for both teams to decide the title, both are on identical points so with Broxbourne’s far superior goal difference Cougars are relying on their rivals dropping points.
After the match a delighted Chris Adams told BBC’s Match of The Day “Broxborne are a quality outfit, after the game their manager congratulated our players on their performance, he is a true Gent. Today we played as a team, with spirit and at the right times found the quality to go on and win the game. Everyone did fantastic today but special mentions to Josh Bradfield who was superb, and if you have a striker who can create and finish you always have a chance and that boy for us is Archie Rhodes.”


In the Under10 section Buntingford Cougars Blues continued their fine on a sunny, blustery day at Biggleswade. They played with their now normal high standards, passing th ball around the field with every player owning their position to keep control of play. Stout defending from both Sam Maley and Sam Miles enabled the midfield to play with lots of energy. In the centre of the park Ben Maley and Oliver Baker worked tirelessly in defending and attacking. Going forward Buntongford’s trio of Dexter Cumberland, Ethan Vater and Freddie Bentley probed and troubled the Biggleswade defence. When Biggleswade did get a shot on target Tom Betley did a great job in goal and looked very assured being beaten only by an extremely well taken goal. At the other end Cougars enjoyed emphatic strikes from Dexter Cumberland and Ethan Vater.
Meanwhile Cougars U10 Whites also at Biggleswade United went into their game on their longest unbeaten run of the season and their confidence was evident from the start. A match blade in breezy conditions on a dry pitch meant getting the ball on the ground and passing was the key to the game and playing into the wind in the first half the Whites were troubling the United defence with Rocco Douglas playing upfront alongside Thomas Norris. Early chances fell to Norris who shot past the post and then a few goal mouth scrambles came to nothing. United using the wind to their advantage did create come chances but in general these were contained by Tom Betley in goal, alongside Jack Hedge and Will Greathead in defence. Greathead was at the back for the first time and looked very assured in this position, making some good tackles and clearances. Against the run of play a speculative clearance led to a goal for United to open the scoring but it was not long before Ben Perryman following a good pass from Jamiu Ajasa hit a well struck shot from a tight angle on the right of the goal to equalise. Moments before the half time whistle a Noah Gibson close range effort was well saved. The second half started with some changes, Jake Craddock on the left was repeatedly making good progress down the wing and the Whites were putting United under pressure. After some persistent play on the right involving Ajasa and Norris, Gibson rifled home from close range and delighted the crowd with a flamboyant goal celebration as well. In the closing stages United started created half chances but good defending especially from Greathead meant at the final whistle Whites had maintained their great run of form. Man of the match went to Will Greathead recognizing the manner in which he adapted to his new defensive role with Richard Bentley commenting to BT Sport pundit Micheal Owen after the game said that “Will Greathead’s dominant performance has created a benchmark and will put pressure on the other players but it’s a nice problem to have.”

Sean Currans Under16’s Blues beat Bishop Stortford Swifts one nil at The Bury in their final league match to go top of the first division but await the remaining matches from two league rivals to decide if they finish champions.

Elsewhere for Cougars the Under6’s played their first match at The Bury against a formidable Newhall from Harlow but despite the awful conditions both teams enjoyed their fun friendly. Cougars’ Under9’s played out an even encounter with Bedwell Rangers and Buntingford’s Under11’s went down three nil at home to Bishop Stortford.

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