Date: Sat 19th November, 12.30pm KO
Starting Line-up: Stevie T, Noodles, Darlington, A. Clark, Rutting, Salty (C), Hoops, Trev, Denno, PeteHill, Keegan.
After assembling for an early 11.30am meet for their league fixture with Partizan Wandsworth, Cubo 2s were in the unusual position of having to wait for the Baby Blue kit to arrive. As it happened, it never materialised, as the players were surprised to learn they were in the changed strip of Crimson shirts, Navy shorts and Crimson socks. Admittedly the colour of the kit could also be described as ‘Red’, but we’ve never settled for ‘Light Blue’ and Lord knows we’re better than just….Red.
A slightly reshuffled team was assembled in the absence of Player Manager Pally (wrist knack) and Goalkeeper Clark (1s), while Bradders’ good form for the First Team also saw him once again missing. Utility Man Hooper and Darlington returned to the squad, while Steve ‘Box Office’ Keegan made his first appearance since becoming a Father earlier in the year.
The home side started the game particularly brightly, snapping into challenges and getting their wide players into the game immediately. In midfield, Moody was the player instructed to break and give support to Keegan who was leading the line on his own. Despite their relative comfort, Cubo weren’t quite able to fashion any real goalscoring opportunities, with the final ball or pass slightly below what was needed to really unsettle the Partizan defence.
At the back, the new partnership of Darlington and Clark looked strong, protecting Stevie T (in a Matt Cardle train drivers hat) with a number of strong aerial and ground challenges. In fairness to the soon-to-be-painter-and-decorator-who-is-currently-masquerading-as-a-pop-singer-even-though-it’s-not-actually-Matt-Cardle-it’s-still-Stevie-in-a-cap-and-a-luminous-yellow-goalkeeper-jersey (with baby blue under armour long sleeve turtle neck, Ugg boots and grey joggers for afters) when he was called upon to make a couple of saves in the first half, often from a long throw threat, he looked very natural between the sticks. In fact the only thing lacking from the midfielder’s goalkeeping performance was the ability to kick the ball – the watching Alanis Morisette, enjoying an Autumnal stroll through Barn Elms, was heard to remark on the irony of the Barnsley Beckham’s aforementioned shortcoming.
With the score at half time locked at 0-0, Cubo remained convinced that if they could remain composed in the final third, and continue to press Wandsworth on the small pitch, they would have enough in their locker to win. A nice piece of play that started from a wonderful piece of control by Keegan, saw Hooper switch the ball to Dennison in the right hand channel, but with a narrow angle to work with his low drive was straight at the keeper. Keegan later went close with a back post header which he couldn’t quite direct on target.
Cubo suddenly were swarming over their vistors like a… swarm of bees, Pete went close with a stinging 25 yard free kick that was pushed around the right-hand post by the keeper, before the best move of the match saw the visiting keeper make an even better save to deny a 20 yarder from Moody. The keeper was male not female, but if he was the latter ‘she’ would have been relieved to keep the ball from hornet. If there was a crowd they would have been buzzing. If this section of puns goes any further it would be disastrous.
Haddon replaced Noodles at Right Back around the hour mark, while Keegan, after putting in a typically gutsy shift, took over from Steve in goal. He was welcomed up front by being smashed in the back by Partizan’s moustached left back – possibly aggrieved at Rebecca Ferguson being denied victory in X-Factor last year.
Despite Cubo coming close to scoring in the second half 0-0 is obviously a dangerous score line and it would be disingenuous to suggest that Partizan did not have their moments to break the deadlock themselves. Keegan was relieved that a header was only slightly to his left, while another effort following a dangerous cross from the left hand side was again handled confidently by the stand-in sticksman.
With the game becoming increasingly stretched Darlington thought he had capped a dominant performance with a looping header from a corner, only to see his effort cleared off the line. With both sides fully committed to securing all 3 points, there was a lot of huffing and puffing, but neither team found that bit of composure or opportunism to snatch a win.
Final Score: AFC Cubo 2nd XI 0-0 Partizan Wandsworth
Man of the Match: Steve Keegan took it for his efforts in leading the line. When he was able to bring the ball down and involve the midfield Cubo looked very good. He also brought out an outrageous trap using his arse. Welcome back mate! Joe was runner up although all of the back line played well with Rick and Clark getting deserved votes.
Match Report: Thom Hoops