Date: Saturday 22nd October 2011, 3pm KO
Competition: League Cup – 1st Round
Starting Line-up: Ben McGeown, Bobbie Sadler, Mark Sutton, Hung Nguyen, Oli Watkins (c), Richard Gough, Ian Clarke, Jonny Patterson, Ryan Shedwick, Trev Moody, Pete Hill
Subs: Satal Thethy, Tom Hooper
In recent seasons Cup runs have come as something of an unwelcome distraction from the primary aim of chasing league titles for Cubo. Luckily, some disappointing recent results in the league has meant that the idea of a Cup run has grown far more attractive! Facing them were the side that preceded them as SSEC League Champions, and who are the only conceivable team to be considered local rivals, Tooting Bec. Unfortunately for Cubo the goal-keeping and striking departments have been ravaged of late by a combination of injury, marriage (long-term injury) and professional exams. A result of this was that Ben McGeown stood between the sticks looking to add to his envious goalkeeping record of having started one game in goal and kept one clean sheet (appearances in goal after the starting keeper was sent off for kicking the opposing striker not included). The fact that the 2’s had been given a weekend off to allow 2nd team manager Mike Thomas to sun himself on the golf courses of Spain meant that the gaffer was able to call up Trev, Pete, Salty and Tom to fill the gaps in the line-up.
On a beautiful day at Barnes Cubo made a bright start when Trev’s challenge for a long punt downfield fell to Pete Hill who was unlucky to see his left foot effort from the edge of the box pushed round the post by the Bec keeper. The resulting corner was swung in dangerously by Mark Sutton and with defence unable to clear Goughy forced an effort over the line via a large deflection from the Bec keeper. 1-0 Cubo with barely 2 minutes on the clock.
Tooting sought to assert themselves on the game and their use of two out and out wingers supporting a lone front man saw them make the most of the width of the new pitch 7. Clearly a passing side, they were moving the ball across the park well, albeit without threatening a Cubo backline well marshalled by Gough, Nguyen and Watkins. Cubo were playing with far greater confidence than in recent weeks and were able to find space in some dangerous areas in the opponents half, though as has been the case recently, the final ball was lacking. Just as the home side were looking comfortable, they conceded a preventable goal. A missed challenge on the left hand touchline allowed the Bec forward to put a dangerous cross into the near post which Ben failed to deal with, allowing the Bec midfielder a simple tap in from 2 yards out.
The away side added a second shortly afterwards when a well worked move saw the scorer of the first goal launch himself at a cross into the box. Keeper McG was able to get both hands to the ball but could only help it on its way into the corner. 2-1 Tooting Bec. These two moments aside Cubo had kept their opponents at arms-length for much of the half and continued to look dangerous when pushing forward. Good build up play by Sadler and Ryan put Clarkey in a good position on the edge of the box but, having beaten his man, he drilled his effort wide.
Cubo continued to push for an equaliser and were gifted a golden opportunity when the ref awarded a penalty for a late challenge on Clarkey that looked suspiciously like it took place outside the box. With spot-kick King McGeown stuck in goal responsibility fell to ‘our kid’ Shedwick who stepped up confidently only to see his effort pushed away by the Bec keeper. The penalty miss appeared to take the wind out of Cubo’s sails and Tooting were beginning to get on top of the home side. The game moved further away from the home side when a corner was nodded in by the unmarked centre half despite Cubo’s appeals for a foul on the keeper. 3-1 Tooting Bec.
The introduction of Hooper on the right and Salty in the middle of the park added some much needed energy to the Baby Blue Army and both were involved with a sweeping move from left to right that saw Hooper whip in a sumptuous cross which Pete Hill was unable to convert at the back stick. With gaps emerging in the Cubo backline only some well-timed challenges from Watkins and Goughy prevented the score line deteriorating further.
Another disappointing result for Cubo who are experiencing an unprecedented run of bad results. Despite the final score line this was a vastly improved performance from last week with Pete Hill and Trev both impressive in their first starts of the season. If Cubo can cut out their propensity for giving away cheap goals at set-pieces and missing penalties then they should be able to put an end to the current slide.
Final Score: AFC Cubo 1-3 Tooting Bec
Man of the Match: Hung / Pete Hill