Date: Saturday 3rd December, 2011
Starting Line-Up: Gaz Stewart, J-Pat, Sutton, Ben McG, Goughy, Joe Diamond, Northy, Bradders, Daunter, Every, Noble
Subs: Chris Gray, Eddy Jackson
Cubo entered this fixture on the back of a perfect November, and were looking to notch up their sixth win on the spin against a side who had given them a 3-0 tonking back in August. Despite looking like title contenders on that day Coulsdon have enjoyed mixed fortunes since, suffering 5 defeats in a row shortly afterwards which has left them languishing in mid table. However the previous week had seen them record an impressive 3-1 victory over table toppers Epsom Athletic in the Cup, the only defeat they have suffered so far this season. The absence of skipper Oli Watkins and Hung Nguyen meant that Joe Diamond came in at centre half, with Ben McGeown stepping in at sweeper to inject a much needed dash of style and panache to the Cubo backline. With last week’s two goal hero MTM out injured, club beefcake Andrew Noble made a first start since his injury and Chris Gray made it on to the bench.
In the pre-game chat the focus was on stopping the ball into the big Coulsdon no.10 and pressuring the Coulsdon backline when they were in possession. The first 20 minutes saw Cubo implement this very effectively with Noble, Daunter and Every doing a great job harrying the Coulsdon back four, who were being forced into rushed clearances, which often gave Cubo possession of the ball in their opponents half. At the other end Goughy was doing a great job on the no.10, preventing him from bringing any of the supporting runners from midfield into the game, whilst Joey D was ensuring the number 9 would have more impact with the stuff he was doing off the ball than anything he did with it. Despite having the better of the early exchanges Cubo were served a reminder of the danger of any lapses in concentration when Ben McG was caught out of position and a cross into the box was nodded down by the 10 before being volleyed high over the bar by his strike partner. A let off of sorts though, given his later heroics it would have had to be some strike to beat Gaz.
Cubo’s pressure was beginning to tell with only a superb block in the area preventing Northy from opening the scoring after a goalmouth scramble. Cubo’s ability to keep the ball in the danger zone finally payed off when great pressure from Every and Northy led to the blonde bombshell tackling his man in the box, sending the ball flying past the keeper to make it 1-0 Cubo. A well deserved lead for the boys in baby blue, who continued to look the side more likely to score with Goughy putting a header wide from a long throw. As the half time whistle approached Cubo’s hitherto solidity started to look a little fragile with the Coulsdon right backs ability to get forward causing them issues. As was the case last week, Cubo were given some practice defending corners and as with last week they stood up to the test, more impressive perhaps given Coulsdon’s aerial prowess.
The second half continued along much the same lines as the first with Cubo working hard to prevent their opponents from having any time on the ball, particularly in the middle of the park where Northy and Bradders were fighting a real battle of attrition against their opposing centre midfielders, and winning it. With Coulsdon pressing and Cubo increasingly sitting deeper in their own half, Coulsdon thought they had drawn level when a shot from the edge of the box appeared destined for the top corner, only to be palmed over the bar by Gaz. Fine save though that was he then made two even better ones. The first saw him diving low to his left to stop a header, and, with two strikers bearing down on him for the rebound, somehow getting a big enough hand to it to bat it over their heads to safety….or so he thought until Ben McG shanked his clearance back towards the goal. Managing to regain his feet and hurl himself across the grass he again got a big enough hand to the ball to push it away where it was cleared properly this time. A lucky escape for goal shy McGeown.
Having seen a combination of skill and luck keep them in the lead at one end Cubo promptly went up the other end and took the game away from Coulsdon. Chris Gray had only recently come onto the pitch, making his first appearance in six weeks, when he picked up the ball and released Noble who beat the offside trap and lobbed the keeper to make it 2-0 Cubo. With Coulsdon bringing on another striker it was backs to the wall stuff for the home side who were forced into a couple of goal line clearances, most notably when Joey D put in a ‘For the Cameras’ diving header to put a goalbound (was it really Joe??) effort wide. At the other end gaps were emerging and Cubo really should have added a third given the space available, though they were let down by some poor decision making.
A great win for the Baby Blue Army, making amends for the heavy defeat they suffered early in the season. Coulsdon are a strong side who will no doubt be in the shake up at the end of the season. Credit must go to an excellent defensive performance from all involved, the front men showed excellent work rate to pressure the Coulsdon backline, the midfield may only have passed to each other once all game but ensured that they kept their opposite numbers quiet, whilst Joey D and Goughy were uncompromising at the back.
Final Score: AFC Cubo 2 Coulsdon Town FC 0
Scorers: Northy, Noble
Man of the Match: Gaz Stewart – 3 superb saves at a crucial juncture of the game, ensuring Cubo could celebrate another 3 points.
Match Report: Benny Mac