Date: Saturday 24th September, 2pm KO
Starting Line-Up: Dan Storey, Chris Revill, Jimmy Ingle, Greg Tett, Andrew Rosoman, Seb Brain, Andy Burt, Tom Hooper, Henry Neville, Chris Harding (C), Chris Lendrum.
Subs: John Glenn, Jeremy Lye, Pete Hill.
It was a big test for The Baby Blue Army this week following their perfect start to the season, as fans and doubters alike asked the question, “Yes it’s all good so far, but can they do it on a sunny afternoon in Dulwich?”
This weeks test was posed by a South East London side who caused Cubo some problems last season and despite the overpowering smell of weed emanating from their supporters, they looked up for it again today.
The game started brightly, with both sides looking to attack but struggling to get the ball under control, the bounce of the ball often causing players problems. Despite some controlled touches in Midfield from Hooper and Burt it was South East London who had the first major opportunity of the game. A lofted through ball caused confusion between the new centre back partnership of Tett and Ingle allowing, i’m pretty sure, George Elokobi, to race through on goal. Fortunately his over muscular physique meant that he chipped the ball well over the crossbar from 18 yards – a let off for Cubo.
That scare seemed to re-focus the Cubo boys, and they began to string some lovely moves together. Neville in a new position on the left side was finding space and linking up well with the central midfield pairing of Hooper and Burt. Combined with the liquid movement up front of Harding and Lenny this began to cause SEL a great deal of problems.
SEL were getting sucked across to the left hand side of the pitch to deal with non stop baby blue triangles, which was in turn was creating space for Seb Brain on the right flank who beat his man on numerous occasions and delivered dangerous crosses into the box.
Half chances fell to Lenny and Neville consecutively. Lenny worked the keeper with a left foot strike after finding space on the turn inside the box, and Neville volleyed over from 25 yards after controlling an insufficient SEL clearance.
The inevitable finally happened mid-way through the half when a lofted free kick into the box from Tett was cushioned by Hooper into the path of Harding, the result was a crisply struck left foot volley which gave the keeper no chance. A few more chances came and went, Neville getting his head to a well delivered Brain cross, but diverting it past the far post and whipped in left foot corners from Burt providing SEL with a regular saturday afternoon headache.
The second half saw a switch in formation for SEL as they tried to counteract Cubo’s dominant ball retention by packing the midfield. It seemed to work as George Elokobi was getting more service and certainly keeping Ingle and Tett busy running down the channels, although no clear cut chances were created. Infact Cubo’s back four of Revil, Tett, Ingle, and Rosoman remained solid and dealt with any threat thrown at them, Biscuit in goal was not a busy man.
The game was effectively put to bed when a sweeping ball out of defence from Ingle found the lively Harding on the right flank, he turned inside and in turn chipped a left footed cross through to Andy Burt who came inside the defender with a wonderful first touch and hit a right foot shot, via a “slight” deflection, into the SEL net.
Substitutions were made, Neville, Brain and Rosoman being replaced by Lye, Glenn and Pete Hill and Cubo battled hard to play out the win. SEL never threatened until a seemingly innocuous ball over the top left Ingle with a problem. With George Elokobi baring down on him, and Biscuit in goal not certain whether to stick or twist, Ingle took matters into his own hands, cooly heading the ball into the bottom corner of his own net. A splendid finish.
SEL threw everything at the Cubo goal and could have drawn level moments from the end when, after a goal mouth scramble, the ball spun perfectly into the path of the hilariously named Gay-tan five yards from goal. But with the goal at his mercy he just sort of crumbled to the floor like a new born deer, and Cubo were off the hook.
All in all a well deserved win and some of the best football The Baby Blue army has produced, they go marching on to the top of the table, three wins from three.
The manager of SEL was also kind enough to give his reports on the match:
Final Score: South East London 2nd XI 1-2 AFC Cubo 3rd XI
Scorers: Harding, Burt.
Man of the Match: Defensive colossus Greg Tett deservedly takes it for the second match in succession, with Burt and Hooper joint runners-up.
Match Report: Henry Neville