Date: Saturday 29th October 2011, 3pm KO
Starting line-up: Mango, Haddon, Alan Clarke, Pally, Rick Utting, Denno, Bradders, Salty, Pete Hill, Hoops, Stevie T
Sub: Seb Brain
On a roll from an unbeaten start to the season, the mighty Cubo came up against a resilient UCC Diaspora side; fresh from promotion from Division One last year and rolling along nicely at the higher standard. Discussion pre-match focussed upon Luke’s alchemy and Alan Clarkes estimation that if his lateness continues he alone will have contributed nearly £100 to the 2nds end of season bash.
With Haddon sporting a very nice new pair of boots (with his name cockily scribed along the side), Cubo started with the now standard 4-4-2. The game was evenly matched, and had a frantic pace, with Salty and Bradders fighting like teenage looters for the ball in the middle of the park. For the first time this season, Cubo hadn’t warmed up with the obligatory netball, and Denno wasn’t too happy with that. Just as the game was settling down into a steady rhythm after a high octane first 5 minutes, the Diaspora right midfield whipped the ball across to the penalty spot, and as Denno attempted to clear the ball, it kicked off ‘a massive divot’ and struck him on the left bicep. Penalty: Diaspora. Try as he might to guess the right way, the Diaspora spot-kicker placed the ball in the left corner, Mango dived the wrong way. 1-0 Diaspora.
Cubo then attempted the fightback, playing the ball nicely along the ground on the left hand side. Decent one-touch football, but never quite finding the killer pass that would open up for a chance to equalise. Even when the ball wasn’t on the floor, Cubo used the returning ‘big players’ of Thom Hoops and Stevie T up front to great effect, with balls flicked from one to the other and vice versa. A decent chance to pull level always on the card.
Midway through the first half, the first great Cubo flashpoint of the game. Unfortunately not in the oppo half. With the Diaspora number 15 proving a handful for the Cubo centre halves, as he was clattered to the floor under a cruching (yet wholey legal) challenge from Pally, he decided to have a good fondle of the ball while moaning like a bitch about what he saw as a foul. Cue a secondary challenge from Pally that looked likely to puncture the number 15’s balls. High, forceful, scary. Luckily for him, once the ensuing drama of the Diaspora players having their bit with the stricken Pally (for he got wiped out by a wave of Paddies), the referee was (possibly) poor and let Pally stay on the pitch.
UCC were clearly up for it now and 35 minutes in, the ball came to the advancing left back around 30 yards out. One touch, and without a Cubo player applying pressure, he struck it past the helpless Mango into the top left corner. For a man who has a bit of a temper when he’s beaten in five-a-side, let alone in full size goals, the strike left Nick speechless.
Half time. Two down, but playing well, and definitely still in it.
The second half proved to be much the same as the first, with Cubo winning the ball well upfront and forcing Diaspora to give away free kicks which Cubo never quite punished them with. A number of times, AC was able to climb above the Diaspora players in the box with a few headers flashing past the far post and crossbar.
Twenty minutes from the end, and Pally had to leave the field with his wrist proving too painful to play with. Seb came on, and Cubo switched to 3-4-3. An interesting back line of AC, with Rick and Luke either side of him. The game opened up. Cubo moving the ball well on the ground and finding the gaps with the extra player further up the pitch.
With the aerial approach working well for Cubo, two minutes from the end, a ball went up for Seb (admittedly not the tallest centre forward in the world). Wiped out in the air, he clattered to the floor face first. Cue the drama.
Knocked straight out, he lay on the floor, getting mildly slapped by the Diaspora linesman in a foolhardy attempt to get woken up. The oppo Goalkeeper did do a great job though. A passing ambulance from the rugby was flagged down like a London taxi, with the previous occupant kicked out despite his own dislocated shoulder. Seb had by this time come round, but things were clearly not all there. Blue lights, and boarded down, he was rushed to Charing X Hospital (nowhere near the station). After a number of hours, he was released to go home with a number of zygomatic fractures. Surgery has been arranged for next Monday.
All in all, not a good day for Cubo 2nds.
Man of the Match: Thom Hoops
Match Report: Luke Haddon