Date: Saturday 1st October, 2pm KO
Starting Line-up: Ricardo, Revill, Ingle, Noodles, Rosoman, Neville, Turner (C), Hooper, Smith, Field, Griffith.
Subs: Glenn, Lye, Cucos.
On the hottest October day since Henners unveiled the 10th month of his 2008 calendar, a table topping Cubo side, shorn of a number of key players, hosted the visiting Inter Old Boys. The Away side were inexplicably sporting a light blue and white vertically striped kit, causing Cubo to revert to the White-Puma-Sleaze-Strip-with-Tyre-Track-detail, white shorts and I-I-Italia stockings.
John Glenn and Geremi Lye were caught in some unexpected traffic and arrived at the fairly late time of 1.58pm for a 2pm KO and had to settle for a place on the bench with the returning Cucos.
The match started at pace that was perhaps a little frantic given the 30°C temperature but despite the hard ground and noticeable height advantage enjoyed by Old Boys, it was The Baby Blue Army that began to get on top, despite Ros departing within 5 minutes after suffering a bout of ankle knack. He was replaced by Glenn who slotted in at LB.
Henry Neville was at the heart of most of Cubo’s highlights, enjoying plenty of space behind his left midfield opponent, and linking up nicely with Revs and the hard working duo of Field and Griffith up front.
After scoring an own goal the previous week, which was a small blight on an otherwise strong performance, Jimmy ‘Jingle all the way’ Ingle was doing very well at the heart of the defence with Noodles slotting in alongside as if he’d never been away.
However, midway through the first half, slightly against the run of play, Old Boys took the lead. A whipped in corner was attacked, and converted, by one of several 6 foot plus imposters sporting the Argentina stripes.
Cubo were able to hit back almost instantly. A sweeping move from back to front saw Turner, on the gallop down the right channel, upended. Henry stepped up and delivered a magnificent cross that begged to be abused and his roomate 4lyf (if we did away trips) Jimmy duly did so, rising unopposed to crash a downward header into the net.
2 set-piece goals then became 3, as another NVLL outswinger, this time from a corner, was not attacked by a static Inter backline or ‘keeper and Griffith duly notched his 3rd goal in as many appearances with a determined nod, akin to greeting an acquaintance you tolerate but do not consider a friend.
Despite reaching the break a goal up, and appearing to be the more fluid side, there was a definite feeling of frustration that Cubo were not reaching the heights of previous weeks and Skipper Turns, back into the fray after some expanding ankles of his own and a tennis holiday, delivered a bit of a salvo, clearly looking for a response.
Edd Smith made way for Lye and the boys from Barn Elms started the 2nd half brightly, somewhat appropriately given the UV rays that were descending with increasing force from the cloudless Cubo coloured sky.
Despite the efforts of Turner, and a couple of sweeping passes from his midfield comrade Hooper, to fashion a really clear cut chance, the home side were unable to do so.
Hoops failed to catch one of two half chances cleanly and with Cubo narrowly failing to make a final ball tell after good approach work, Inter sensed that 1 point, and maybe even all 3, was suddenly a feasible haul.
A point blank header forced a great save from the home Goalkeeper before, in retaliation, Turner’s chicken dipper of a 30 yard volley was athletically fisted over by the Inter keeper, belying the extremely basic jogging bottoms he had opted for.
With approximately 10 minutes to go, the away side drew level in strange circumstances. An incisive move down the right saw a ball pulled back from the by-line into the path of a player arriving from midfield. With the goal very much ‘”Up for grabs noooooow” he wretchedly sliced his effort across the face of the 6 yard box where the left winger followed in at the back post. With the target at his mercy, he elected to also try out the newly in-vogue ‘slice shot’ and the ball trickled, like an overflowing Calippo most of the players were desperately craving, into the far corner.
With the match now all square, Jordan picked up a knock and after a bit of (self administered) treatment, was also unable to continue prompting a bit of a reshuffle. Cucos came on at right back but with Revs one of a few players struggling in the heat, he switched to upfront with Field moving to left midfield and Geremi switching to the right flank.
In my experience what gets a group of Old Boys buoyant is when your younger sister’s mates come round to get ready for a night on the tiles. However the aforementioned equaliser had similar effects and Inter were on the prowl for a winner.
Cubo pressed forwards themselves but a clear sight at goal continued to elude them. Hooper’s back-post header from another Neville set-piece went over the top and Noodles and Ingle intervened well to snuff out an opposition opening.
With seconds to go, Inter produced a sucker punch. A well assembled raid saw the ball pushed into the path of the left winger by the opposition striker. With Cucos trying to get across from a narrow starting position to shut him down, the Inter player was able to open his body and sweep a right footed shot into the far corner. The celebrations of the vistitors were considerable, no doubt fuelled by the 100% record Cubo had entered the match with.
With seconds to go the referee blew up, a dejected 3s reflecting on their first dropped points of the season.
Final Score: AFC Cubo 3rd XI 2-3 Inter Old Boys
Scorers: Ingle, Griffith.
Man of the Match: Jimmy Ingle takes it after performing excellently at the heart of the defence. Runner-up was Henry Neville who had 2 assists but was a constant threat in open play as well.
Match Report: Tom Hooper