Cougars Under 9’s Blues played at home against Bishop Stortford United in what was a ten goal thriller with both sides contributing multiple goals. Cougars first strike was from defender Aden Nash netting his first goal of the season. James Tungatt then netted a goal before a great pass from Bear Wennington set up Liam Neill. The Cougars Under9’s veteran then added another three soon after. Goalkeeper Lucca Hedge made a couple of great saves with Mason Pugh putting in a great performance in defence. Austin Cook worked tirelessly throughout the game and Captain Blue Salmon had a great game before scoring the last cougars goal. Man of the match was awarded to Aden Nash (pictured).
Cougars Under9’s whites also played Bishop Stortford United. Goalkeeper Jake Mac had a great game & made some great saves. The team as a whole battled really hard & put in a superb defensive performance. Man of the match was awarded to Magnus Coates.
Buntingford Cougars Under7’s Stripes welcomed Morden Magpies for what transpired to be a close match of high quality with plenty to keep the crowd entertained.
For Cougars, Tyler Cole was tenacious in midfield both linking defence to attack and resolute with his tackling. When the Magpies did break through, Finlay Tanner showed great positional sense and all round defensive capabilities to limit the attackers to just a few scoring opportunities, which were well dealt with by Jack Nicholas in the green jersey. The goalie was quick off his line when needed and a safe pair of hands with all that came his way. Up front, Thomas Deane set his stall out early with incisive runs and and some stinging shots from deep, but the Magpies goalie was up to the task. Noah Benton grew into the game for Cougars with neat footwork in the area to carve out a number of good chances. Coach Rod Tanner must have been pleased with the Pochettino style “high press” Cougars used throughout which nearly came to fruition when Cole turned smartly to release Benton who turned quickly himself only to see his shot deflect wide off the post. But Cougars were not to be denied for much longer. Again Magpies were robbed of possession deep in their own half and this time forced to concede a corner. Cole clipped in a testing cross, which was headed clear, only to fall to Finlay Tanner who had pushed up and was surely waiting for such a chance. Tanner kept his cool and thumped the ball through a crowded box into the back of the net. The Magpies keeper was having a great game but this time had no chance. The Magpies fought back hard. Johnny Nicholas came on for Benton and was quickly into defensive duties as Cougars found themselves under mounting pressure. But Stripes held the line and saw the game out until half time. In the second half Tanner mixed things up with Cole then Deane each taking a turn in goal while defensive and attacking roles were rotated in front of them. The pattern of play matched the first half. If anything Cougars pressed even harder than before and it was not long before Benton carved out a series of chances, each blocked before he calmly slotted home. Again the Magpies responded only to shoot wide. Cougars continued to push forward as a team, but Magpies held firm. Then a break! Magpies No. 5 showed strength, pace and composure to take the ball the length of the field and find the back of the Cougars net. Cougars came so close to a third as Benton weaved into the box only to be denied by a great save. Both teams had good chances on the break only to shoot wide. After giving a good account of himself in midfield Stripes debutant Johnny Nicholas gave way to brother Jack, also making his first run out for the Stripes. Jack slotted into midfield duties, time after time charging down the Magpies full backs to starve them of an out ball. Cole and Deane both broke clear in the final few minutes and the Magpies also pushed for more goals. In the end both teams left the field with heads held high. Cougars man of the match was Finlay Tanner for a solid defensive display, excellent passing out of defence… And a cracking goal!
Cougars Under7’s Royals hosted Letchworth Greens and started at a frantic pace which resulted in plenty of early chances for both sides. Henry McAllister made an early run on the right hand side which was defended well by the opposition. Jake Cole stood firm in the goal and made a number of impressive saves. Kyson Mann worked hard and pushed forward to take the first shot on goal. Henry McAllister soon found the ball again and this time made a run through the middle and when the defender mistimed his challenge, McAllister was awarded a free kick, which was unfortunately saved by the goal keeper. Johnny Nicholas worked hard making many runs on the right and made a number of passes to Jack Nicholas before Tash McNamara came on the pitch and paired up nicely with Kyson Mann in as relationship that worked well together and created a number of opportunities. The tenacious McNamara fought hard in the midfield for the ball and made a pass to Jack Nicholas who then made a pass to Johnny Nicholas who’s shot hit the back of the net. Kyson Man soon after made a solo run which hit the target but the keeper made the save. Jack Nicholas made a run on the left and passed to McNamara who then made a quick pass to Johnny Nicholas who scored again. McNamara made an impressive run through the middle and made a firm strike on goal. In the second half Jake Cole made a number of impressive saves to keep the visitors at bay before McAllister made another impressive run through the middle but again was brought down by the opposition, the free kick resulted in a missed opportuity. Soon after McNamara made another controlled run through the middle, sailing past defenders, she briefly lost the ball but then regained possession and her powerful shot hit the back of the net to notch Cougars fourth goal in a hugely entertaining and high scoring match. Cougars player or the match was Tash McNamara.
Meanwhile over at Saffron Walden based Plantation Youth It was a game of two halves for Cougars Under7s Blues away to a strong Plantation team. The visitors started slowly and soon found themselves behind as the hosts pinned Buntingford in their own half. Playing up the hill against the wind the Blues conceded more goals before half time despite a top performance from Billy Hedges pulling off some fine saves in goal. In the second half Cougars also starting slowly conceding another early goal before a fine piece of individual skill from Oscar Allen turned heads as playing in defence he turned and played a fine ball to James Willis on the left who slotted Aaron Nash in for a well executed first time finish with the outside of his foot, it was the goal of the game and then Cougars woke up. The rest game was mainly played in the Plantations half except for the occasional counter attack, only some fine saves from the home teams keeper denied Cougars closing the deficit. Oliver Beall came close to scoring on several occasions to see his shots go narrowly wide or well saved. Another fine move from cougars playing out from the back saw Charlie Grima slot home after some good play from Lewis Abdul-Karim and Jacob Baldwin. Despite a poor first half performance and a defeat the second half was encouraging and saw Charlie Wicks putting in a good shift on his debut, welcome to the club charlie. Man of the Match was Billy Hedges (pictured).
Buntingford’s Under7s Whites, also at Plantation welcomed two new arrivals as well as coach Craig Ivison and his Son Sebbie. It was a nervous start for Cougars Whites but despite conceding an early goal Cougars were in control from start to finish playing away. Up the hill against the wind cougars scored their first goal when Oliver Tallis made the save of the day and the ball fell to Joseph De Monte who’s lovely footwork got him out trouble allowing him to play wide right to Sam Dawson who played the ball to Rafael White who slotted the ball home. Some more fine football from the visitors led to goals for Billy Hedges with the Plantations defence struggling to deal with his silky skills. The second half saw Tallis come out of goal to be replaced by Fin (the rock) Steadman and with the hill and wind behind them the Cougars were too strong for their opponents who despite working hard struggled to live with the away side. Some fine unselfish play by Oliver Tallis passing the ball when many would choose to shoot led to some more goals seeing Cougars take a healthy lead. Plantation did not give up and hit cougars on the counter only to be denied by a fine one handed save by The Rock Steadman pushing the ball round the post. The home team did manage to score up the hill with some hard work and persistence but Cougars came out on top with some more goals including a screamer from White and four from Hedges. Man of the match was Oliver Tallis pictured with coach Craig Ivison and Son Sebbie Photo bombing Olivers moment of glory.
Cougars Under8’s Whites and Stripes had a couple of good matches hosting Stotfold. Some great football was on display from both sides and for Cougars Jamie Coote scored two goals to compliment a strike from Jessica Page.
In the Under 12’s section it was penalties all round as Cougars Whites played well despite having some key players unavailable to win two – nil against Harlow based Paringdon, scorers were Max Young from the penalty spot and Yann Boulter. Buntingford’s Under12’s Blues played at Bishop Stortford United and after a goalless first half went down to a penalty halfway through the second half, Buntingford then was awarded a spot kick too but saw the effort strike the post. Stortford scored a second courtesy of an unstoppable free kick before the final whistle. In what was a good Cougars performance despite the defeat the man of the match award went to midfielder Brogan Fakhfakh.
Elsewhere Cougars Under14’s Whites scored seven and conceded one at Royston whilst the Under15s were defeated at Fairlands. Cougars Under16s lost three one at home to Norsemen and Buntingford’s Under18’s Whites lost to Potton. Cougars Under18’s Blues though went to Letcworth and returned with all three points following a three two victory.