Date: Saturday 12th May, 10.30am KO
Venue: Banstead FC
Starting XI: Neil Clark, Stevie T, Pally, Alan Clarke, Jim McGeown, Salty (C), Trev Moody, Pete Hill, Andy Burt, Steve Keegan, Tim Jones.
Subs: Chris Grayson, JPatt, Matt Turner, Ryan Shedwick, Paul Every.
AFC Cubo took part in the Wimbledon Trophy final on Saturday morning, in a predictably competitive game against London Lionhearts. Player/Manager Mike Thomas, in probably his last match for the Baby Blue Army, was able to name a very strong side as well as a bench consisting of 5 players. With a number of spectators from the club watching, as well as friends and family, there was very much a carnival mood. Such joy was evident as Benny Mac polished off a bottle of water (!), Oli confidently dispatching not one but two (!!) cups of tea, Sadler tucking into a banana (!!!) and Bradders, coach for the day, sporting a rather flashy canvas rucksack.
Cubo started the match very brightly with Player of the Season Alan Clarke winning a couple of early headers and setting the tone for another assured display. On the left hand side Andy Burt was able to showcase his excellent delivery, while PeteHill™, man of the match in the last final Cubo contested, was showing signs he is truly a big game player.
The versatile Stevie T, operating at right back, his 32nd different role of his Cubo career, was showing typical composure and with Salty and Alexandr Trev-Hleb mixing up combinations of blood and thunder effort, sideways passing, and Zoolander 90° turns things looked good.
The first real chance of the match saw unpredictable marksman Steve Keegan just being adjudged offside before controlling and finishing from Burt’s delivery, but in fairness the PROPER linesman did appear to get the decision right. Full of confidence the boy from Boro pulled off a truly remarkable piece of skill a few minutes later, scooping the ball over the head of the Lionhearts left back before clipping a teasing cross to the back stick where Jones was just unable to guide his header on target. Magical stuff leading to #KeeganIsBoxOffice trending in the UK on Twitter within seconds.
Tim Jones was holding the ball up extremely well, drifting into the left channel and offering the likes of Jim an easy ball into feet, and with Cubo able to get men forward it seemed an opening Baby Blue coloured goal was likely. However Lionhearts were able to offer a threat on the counter and would have been disappointed not to work “Cu-bo-2s, Num-ber-1 Cubo2sCubo2s Num-ber-1”, Neil Clark, wastefully missing the target from a brace of presentable opportunities.
Fashion watch – Hoops and Clare Galloway opting for double denim, Clarkey Snr with a strong beard, MTM and Northy wearing some natty chocolate slacks, Ben, Denno and Oli repping strong merch, Sadler looking like an extra from an Ordinary Boys video circa summer 2004, Nobes – hench, Jonesy – frail and John Glenn sporting the forlorn expression of a man who’d drunk too much red wine the previous evening.
Half Time: AFC Cubo 0-0 London Lionhearts
After a tactical switch saw Hill and Burt swap wings for the 2nd half, in an attempt to expose the potential weak link that was the Lions right back, Cubo were delighted to take the lead after 50 minutes. The Lionhearts keeper had not appeared at all comfortable with crosses in the first half, and these Vampire-like tendencies were his undoing as the deadlock was broken. After flapping at a Burt free kick from the right, a brief scramble saw Tim Jones roll the ball into the unguarded net.
Cubo tails were up, but it was Lionhearts that got back into the game and were able to equalise. Clark made a top draw save in a one-on-one situation, and then was again required to get down low to his left as Lionhearts rushed through the heart of the Cubo defences. At the 3rd time of asking Lionhearts #7 was able to spring the offside trap and surge from his central midfield berth. He coolly rounded the fine haired custodian of the Cubo net to tie things up at 1-1.
The first change for Cubo saw Chris Grayson replace Jim at LB, before Paul Every was introduced to take advantage of the increasingly stretched play, replacing the impressive Keegs. With his very first touch the Plymouthian Poacher, a moniker he has unlikely to have ever been referred as nor ever again, forced a fine save from the Lionhearts keeper. This led to another Burt set-piece, and subsequently….this.
Alan Clarke with a typically forceful ‘arrive’ at the back post, a firm downward header and Cubo back on top. 2-1.
Rather than go into their shells, Cubo went hunting for a 3rd that would kill the game off. Every continued to threaten while Burt unleashed an absolute thunderbolt from 25 yards which crashed agonisingly off the underside of the bar and onto, not over, the goal line. Banstead didn’t appear to have goal-line technology, instead opting to restock their burger van, but following a glowing review from MTM concerning the beef, and a trustworthy assistant, this appeared to be the right allocation of funds.
Jonny Patterson’s introduction for Jones saw Ryan and Turns unluckily miss out on some action, but any signs of disappointment were forgotten when Burt swung in a cross from the left which nestled into the top corner. Did he mean it? I would say judge for yourself from the following footage but sadly Northy’s previously exemplary camera work went awry during the build up.
Final Score: AFC Cubo 2nd XI 3-1 London Lionhearts
A great display by Cubo, which featured big performances across the midfield, excellent contributions from the hard working forwards and a defence that was rarely breached. When it was, Clarky made everything he was required to do look very easy indeed.
The Wimbledon Trophy is a great way to sign off an up and down season, but with some new players bedded in, the 2s will hope to have a eal crack at promotion in 2012/13.
Scorers: Tim Jones, Alan Clarke, Andy Burt.
Man of the Match: Satal Thethy – combined his usual determination and fitness with some deft touches and excelled in the closing stages as the heat took its toll on lesser mortals.
Match Report: Hoops