Date: Saturday 19th November 2011, 2pm KO
Starting Line-up: Ash, John, Jonesy, Antonio, Luke , Henners, Lukas, Jimbo, Timmy, Lenny, Billers
Subs: Jeff, Dan Cucos, Bushy
With anticipation feverish before kick-off, both for those new to playing with Jeff and for the arrival of new stash, it was easy to forget we were playing the run-away league leaders, Kiwi. This however was made clear to us upon watching Kiwi’s warm-up, consisting of elaborate and well-rehearsed drills, sprints and a game of touch rugby. The boys in baby blue elected to prance about and stroke the ball to each other, remarking on how nice the pitch was and wondering aloud what ‘stud’ to wear. Classic Cubo.
With Jeff running late, lost and not speaking much English, Cubo kicked off into the sun, the match progressing at a frenetic pace. The Kiwi plan of constantly smashing high balls over the Cubo defence almost paid immediate dividends, and the back line was looking shaky, unsure of how best to deal with the Kiwi direct, fast and aggressive style. The first real chance came from just such an attack, with the Kiwi no. 9 through on goal. Glenn just managed to toe poke the ball away from him before he shot, diverting it onto the post. Calamitous defending from Jonesy (literally 2 minutes after chewing Glenn out for not releasing the ball quick enough), resulted in the no. 9 again going through on goal, and rounding Ash before harmlessly passing it into the side netting. Unfortunately the back line could not hold out under this constant pressure, and Kiwi finally broke the DEAD LOCK after 8 minutes. As Jonesy ran back to make yet another clearance over our heads, he was unceremoniously fouled and tripped up, allowing the Kiwi no 10 to lift the ball around the onrushing Ash to go 1-0 up.
An erroneous call of ‘home’ from Ash to Glenn resulted in a header back to him being intercepted by the no. 9, who cleverly won a penalty from the outstretched keeper. Saving Glenn’s blushes, Ash confidently palmed the penalty away from the aforementioned striker, leaving Jonesy to smash it over the bar from about 6 inches off the line.
Kiwi however had not had it all their own way, with Cubo looking sleek and dangerous on the break. A strong run from Haddon on the left wing saw him sandwiched and brought down between two Kiwis inside the edge of the box, and the referee unerringly pointed to the spot. Billers confidently despatched the penalty, sending the keeper the wrong way. Unfortunately it was to be one of his last contributions, coming off with a dead leg to be replaced by Jeff. Cubo’s second came not long after, after some excellent pressing from Timmy resulted in an unforced error from the Kiwi left back, leaving Lenny to storm through and expertly lob the keeper.
Without Turns present to slag everyone off, the half time team talk was actually a positive experience, and Cubo kicked off the second half in good spirit. The back line was much improved, and Cubo were able to soak up the Kiwi pressure, Antonio and Jimbo impressing on the ground and in the air after Jonesy had been forced off. With the two talented midfielders of Lukas and Jeff now running the show and spreading it wide at every opportunity, Timmy and Henners began to see a lot more of the ball, both comfortably beating their men and whipping in dangerous crosses. One chance from Kiwi saw Cubo clear the ball off the line, and the resulting break through Timmy, Lenny and Lukas nearly saw a goal scored immediately, in some of the best football we’ve played this season. Cubo finally scored their deserved third after some excellent solo work from Jeff, who battered the ball confidently under the Kiwi keeper. The game finished without further incident in either goalmouth, Lukas impressing after a magnificent 60 yard dash to make an important slide tackle.
A good win against a physical and mentally strong side, in an incident packed, chaotic match. The thirds move to third in the table with a game in hand on the leaders. Props also to Ash and the back line for keeping out a New Zealand International, Daniel Ellensjohn off the scoresheet:
Final Score: AFC Cubo 3rd XI 3-1 Kiwi FC
Scorers: Billers (pen), Lenny, Jeff
Man of the Match: Ash – for his penalty save and constant chat to the Kiwi no. 9 who left the field a broken, shell of a man. Props to Jimbo and Henners for playing in 3 different positions, and Lukas and Antonio who were superb throughout.
Match Report: John Glenn