Date: Sat 15th October 2011
Starting Line-up: Gaz Stewart, Rob Sadler, Hung Nguyen, Oli Watkins (c), Richard Gough, Ben McGeown, Michael North, Jonny Patterson, Ryan Shedwich, Mark Sutton, Andrew Noble
Subs: Ian Clarke, Eddy Jackson, James McGeown
A spate of injuries to the clubs strike-force forced Cubo into adopting a revised 4-5-1 formation with club beefcake Andrew Noble, himself carrying an injury, deployed as a lone front man. Despite the absence of striking options Cubo were welcomed back Hung and Pogo to a strong starting line up. Initial signs were positive for the Baby Blue Army when Sutts skinned his full back before pulling the ball back to Noble whose effort was only kept out by some desperate defending by the visitors.
Cubo have been conceding cheap goals at a rate recently and that trend continued against Crescent Rovers. A cross into the box was not attacked by any member of the home side and the ball dropped kindly to the Rovers midfielder who hooked the ball in. 1-0 Crescent Rovers.
Despite some nice passages of play Cubo were looking second best in the challenge and the visitors were playing with increasing confidence, with their big striker making sure that Goughy and Oli were unable to win any clean clearing headers. Despite this Cubo found themselves back on level terms 25 minutes into the half when a long throw into the box fell to Goughy who, not for the first time this season, showed great composure to side foot home from 10 yards out. 1-1.
Whilst the goal did invigorate Cubo, time and again they showed a lack of composure in the final third, giving the ball away cheaply to ease the pressure on the Rovers backline. At the other end, they were displaying a real inability to clear their lines and were only saved from going behind again thanks to a linesmans flag. Their luck did not hold however and when another goal kick was not cleared it was left to the Rovers frontman to hammer an unstoppable finish into the top corner from 20 yards out. 2-1 Rovers. A very poor half for the home side who really did not look at the races.
With Noble limping off after 50 mins, replaced by Clarkey, Cubo were forced into pushing Ryan up front and hoping for an improvement in their build up play. Unfortunately the quality of their play didn’t improve and the away side increased their lead when the ref awarded a penalty after a couple of mistimed challenges on the Rovers striker in the box. Gaz again got his hand to the ball but was unable to keep out the well struck spot kick. 3-1 Rovers.
Cubo continued to plug away but without enough quality to really trouble the Rovers backline though they were granted an avenue back into the game when Sutts was brought down just inside the area and the ref awarded a penalty. Without an established penalty taker on the pitch, gaffer Ben McGeown stepped up but his weak effort to the keepers left was easily saved and with it so did Cubo’s hopes of getting something from the game. A couple of goal mouth scrambles aside Cubo were unable to force the Rovers keeper into any saves of note and the game was played out without any further goals.
Final Score: AFC Cubo 1-3 Crescent Rovers
Man of the Match:
A hugely disappointing display from Cubo, who paid the price for a lack of composure in their opponents half and a lack of defensive aggression in their own half. Crescent Rovers put in an organised and disciplined performance which proved too much for the home side to deal with. The absence of their established strike-force is clearly causing Cubo problems exerting any pressure on opposition back lines at the moment, a failing compounded by a tendency to give away very cheap goals. A big improvement will be needed next week if they are to get a result against Tooting Bec in the Cup.
Match Report: Benny Mac