AFC Cubo 3rd XI 2-1 South East London 2nd XI

Date: Saturday 7th January 2012

Starting Line-up: Bush, Lye, Smith, Ingle, Dallamore, Field, Bennett, Turner, Pickett, Bradley, May

Subs: Laurence, Cucos

After a very continental Christmas break, including Wayne Rooney-styled festive party, Cubo 3s were back at Barnes ready to continue the form they concluded 2011 in.

Playing their penultimate home game of the season (on 7 January!), Cubo took the field, although a front lawn may be more appropriate given its size, against a South East London side sitting just above the relegation zone.

Cubo, in their changed strip of red and navy, lost the toss and were forced to play into a wind so strong that even Turner could record a sub-10 second 100m time if had it at his back.

SEL started strongly using the gale to their advantage. Their long ball tactics and basketball-style full-court press made it difficult for Cubo to get out of their own half for the opening 20 minutes.

It wasn’t long before the territorial pressure told and SEL broke through only to be denied by a superb stop from Bushy in the Cubo goal.

With the wind swirling above and a narrow pitch Cubo struggled to construct their usual passing game and five minutes later the away side broke through again, this time it was SEL’s other front man who was stopped by an outstretched Bushy, not once but twice.

As the half grew longer Cubo began to grow in confidence with Billers’ energy rivaling a Mascherano/springer spaniel lovechild. The striker’s chasing from the front allowed his side’s defence much needed respite.

With player/manager (you can pretty much remove the player part these days) Rob Jones’ half-time team talk fundamentally around the Wizard of Oz hurricane circling over Barn Elms, he was left with little to say as it was reduced to no more than a the force of a disappointed sigh. Fortunately, captain Matt (Tourette’s) Turner rallied the troops with his usual nonsensical, sweary, off-point, Any Given Sunday speech.

With Cubo confident of a positive result at the break they were hit with a surprise strike from SEL. A lack of pressure on the ball on the right hand side led to a hopeful ball being hooked over the top for their burly striker to run on to and lob the on-rushing keeper with aplomb.

Without a thought the home side brushed off this lapse in concentration and began to apply pressure of their own. Turner had a volley blocked from 20 yards out after winding it up from inside his own half.

The resulting corner led to the deserved equalizer. Lucas Pickett swung in a delicious left-footed delivery on to centre-back Mark Dallamore’s head, one of the countless headers he had won throughout the afternoon.

Not settling for a point though, Cubo began to win every tackle all over the pitch. Tim Field was beginning to profit from the space developing on the right hand side and Paul May was proving too much of handful for the opposing centre-backs.

With 15 minutes remaining Pickett received the ball level with the top of the area on the right touchline. A drag-back passed the full-back and a nutmeg through the covering centre-back left him with a only a half chance. The angle was tighter than his mum, but that was all he needed as he let fly and took Cubo to their 5th win in their unbeaten last seven matches.

Final Score: AFC CUbo 3rd XI 2-1 South East London 2nd XI

Goals: Dallamore, Pickett

Man of the Match: Six players received votes this week, but the winner with an assist and the deciding goal – Lucas Pickett.

Match Report: Lee Evans

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