Sunday, 23 November 2008

Cogenhoe United

The FA Vase is now down to the last 32 ties, and my sixth game in this season's competition will see me make a welcome return trip down to Arundel. The draw for the Third Round Proper paired Arundel with Cogenhoe United:

[tie 21] 06 Dec 2008 15:00 Arundel v Cogenhoe United

Cogenhoe village is five miles east of Northampton and sits on high land overlooking the River Nene valley. Cogenhoe United play in the Premier Division of the United Counties League (step 5 in the pyramid); the alarming thing for me is that this club is younger than I am! Established in 1967 they play at Compton Park in the village and the ground boasts a 5,000 capacity. The village Cricket Club also plays at Compton Park, who sub-lets the playing area from the football club, who in turn leases the land from the Compton Estates of Castle Ashby.

In their short history they joined United Counties League 1 in 1985-86 and were promoted to the Premier after finishing runners-up the following season. They have been ever present in this League ever since, and claimed the title in 2004-05. Unfortunately, they were not promoted to step 4 of the pyramid as their ground failed to meet regulations.

Cogenhoe United have a reasonable FA Vase record; on three separate occasions they have reached the Fourth Round Proper; in 1993-93 they lost to Oadby Town, in 1996-97 Mossley ended their interest and most recently in 2006-07 their run was halted by Causeway United. To get to this stage of the current FA Vase campaign, they have seen off Langford, Codicote (with an impressive 6-0 scoreline) and Boston Town.

The best run in the FA Cup came in 2005-06 when they reached the Third Qualifying Round, where they lost 4-3 at Chasetown after a 1-1 draw at Compton Park. That was the season that Chasetown went on to meet Oldham Athletic in the First Round Proper.

The club, who have a local rivalry with Northampton Spencer, is managed by Darren Collins. Collins was a prolific striker whilst at Rushden & Diamonds, who he signed for in 1994, joining the Northamptonshire outfit from Enfield. In the 1995-96 season he bagged 40 goals and two seasons later his tally was 35; in a six year spell at Nene Park he scored a total of 153 goals, which remains a Rushden & Diamonds club record. Collins went on to play for Kettering Town, and a number of other clubs including Cogenhoe United. He took up the manager's role at Cogenhoe in 2007.

I realise now that for the first few days after the draw was made I was mispronouncing the name of the team. Cogenhoe is pronounced "cook-no" rather than "cog-n-ho"; this explains their club nickname of 'The Cooks' and also explains why I was getting strange looks whenever I mentioned the game and Arundel's opposition. At least I think that was the reason why.

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