Date: September 17th, 2pm KO
Starting Line-up: Bianchi, Revill, Rosoman, Jones, Dallamore, Hooper, Tett, Brain, Harding, Lendrum, Griffith
Subs: Ingle, Neville, Smith
The scene was set; the sun was out, the new kit had arrived and Henry had gelled his hair.
Cubo 3s took to the pitch on the back of a thrilling 4-3 season-opening win, full of confidence and with a strong team.
It was the 3’s first game at the fortress Barn Elms and it was a sell-out crowd; Lenny’s fiancée and brother boozing under a tree watching the rugby and Kilner Jnr, having a day off from his hectic badminton schedule.
The opponents for Cubo’s first home game was Battersea Lions, who finished third last season narrowly missing out on promotion.
The two sides differed in their approaches to the warm-up; the Lions opted for a varied selection of drills in carefully marked out areas, whilst the Baby Blue Army elected to walk around and complement each other on how good they looked in their shiny new attire.
Captain and club lothario Rob Jones lost the toss (deliberately, of course) and Cubo were forced to play the first half into the sun and the wind.
A lively start to the game saw Cubo playing some neat and tidy football in patches, but too infrequently, and it wasn’t long before striker Chris Lendrum’s girlfriend was engrossed in her wedding magazine and planning his plight from society.
The first real incident saw the Lions skipper attempt to thread a through-ball, only for Jones to cover across and draw the foul from the attacker. This sadly was the premature end to the skipper’s afternoon, as the awkward fall aggravated an ankle injury sustained in a pre-season friendly. This was a huge loss to the team, in skill, morale, bants and aesthetics.
Centre-midfielder Gregg Tett was forced to drop into to cover Jones at centre-back with Jimmy Ingle coming off the bench to play alongside Tom Hooper in the middle of the park.
Except from a few hopeful long balls from Battersea which were easily dealt with, Cubo began to apply pressure with the speedy Seb Brain especially dangerous on the right flank.
However, it was a swift move down the left with 30 minutes on the clock when the breakthrough came. Ingle, latched on to a Lendrum flick-on and broke into the box. The 29-year-old pulled the ball back perfectly into the path of Jordan Griffith who finished with aplomb into the bottom right corner for his second in two games.
Not content with a one goal lead, Cubo continued their high pressure game. Chris Revill, filling in at right-back, and Hooper both began to work well with Brain on the right wing, a combination that constantly created openings and half chances for the home side.
And it was five minutes before the break when Cubo’s intensity paid off. Lendrum, effortlessly controlled the ball in the box with his chest, flicked the ball over the on-rushing defender before striking straight at the keeper from six-yards. Fortunately, the ball fell kindly and the binge-drinking, chain-smoking, personal trainer toe-poked it into the roof of the net to double his side’s lead.
After a relaxed team-talk, partly because the usually irate and nonsensical captain Matt Turner was on a tennis holiday, the teams took to the field for the second-half. A calm start to the half was needed, but an early free-kick on the right-hand side was given to the visitors, and this rare opportunity was not wasted. A brilliantly low drilled cross was dispatched by the right-back, who was the most unlikely of sources as all he had done all game was commit foul throws with alarming regularity.
Lions then made a couple of substitutions, Luke Moore was brought into the attack and Gabriel Obertan on at left-midfield, whilst the love child of Andriy Voronin and Kerri Katona was moved to a more defensive role.
Dark cumulous clouds then ominously covered Barnes and strange things began to happen. Hooper was cautioned for dissent and Chris Harding made a slide tackle. The only thing left was for Andrew Rosman to score an overhead kick and then a black hole surely would have appeared in the centre circle.
Cubo then held strong during their toughest period, with goalkeeper Will Bianchi making some assured stops despite complaining with a back injury, which was clearly only aired to get Jones to rub Deep Heat sensually into those hard to get areas. Tett was also instrumental in keeping the score at 2-1, with some timely interceptions and key clearing headers. The 29-year-old, known for his beautiful teeth, had clearly put his first-half lovers’ tiff with teammate Rosman behind him.
Having endured and survived this onslaught, which included a disallowed goal, the Baby Blue boys began to carve openings with increasing ease. Brain, once again, found space, but this time opted to cut in on his left foot and whipped in a teasing cross which evaded both out-stretched strikers and hesitant defenders and found the far corner.
This was the cushion Cubo had been looking for and it led to a more relaxed performance over the last 25 minutes, where Griffith was only denied a brace from a superbly struck free-kick by an acrobatic goal-line clearance.
The last minutes were played out with ease by Cubo, and it was evident that everyone was thinking more about molten lava wedges and neatly triangled sandwiches and some solid pub bants.
Final Score: AFC Cubo 3rd XI 3-1 Battersea Lions
Man of the match: There were only two nominations with both Seb Brain and Gregg Tett receiving seven nominations each from the squad. So the deciding vote was cast by the ugliest member of Cubo – Ben Kilner – and he voted for Tett. Superb performances from both though.
Goals: Griffith, Lendrum, Brain
Yellow Card: Hooper
Match Report: Martin ‘Rob Jones’ Keown