AFC Cubo 2nd XI 2-1 Claremont AFC

Date: Saturday 10th November 2012, 2pm KO

Venue: Wimbledon Common Extensions

Starting XI: Gaz Stewart, Dave Wall, Ralph Wensley, Alan Clarke, Jim McGeown, Tom Hooper, Salty, Conor Callaghan, Pete Hill, Stevie T, Pete Smith.

Subs: Matty Kilner, Ben Rushall, Rich Crisp.

The Cubo 2s have had a difficult start to the season and went into this November fixture with Claremont still seeking their first win of the season, despite a very encouraging preseason. Pete was able to name arguably his strongest 14 of the season with Gaz Stewart back from his studies and back in nets, while a spine of Alan &Ralph, Salty & Conor and Stevie and Pete Smith up top looked very good on paper.

Dave Wall was asked to play at right back where his composure and desire to get on the ball gave the team a good platform to play out of defence, especially given the fact that the opposition only had 10 men for the duration of the match.

Cubo were able to move the ball comfortably, using the extra man intelligently although the boys in Baby Blue were still guilty of trying to force the killer ball a little bit early. Pete Smith was buzzing around into the channels and with Stevie T dropping in between the lines to pick up the ball and link play, there were plenty of options for Cubo’s ball players – particularly Conor who was showin for the ball at every opportunity.

The deadlock was broken midway through the first half when a fine ball from Ralph down the inside right channel found both Hooper and Smith in behind the Claremont backline. The latter, despite carrying the burden of a prematch Nando’s, was able to get their first and although his first time effort was well saved, he calmly rolled the rebound in from a tight angle. 1-0 Cubo.

The lead was soon doubled when another move down the right saw Hooper again evade his marker. He squared the ball to Smith who forced another good save from the keeper. Stevie T was able to pounce on the rebound and find the onrushing Wensley who had Rolls-Royced up the pitch from centre half to crash the ball into the roof of the net with his supposedly weaker left foot.

Claremont forced a good save with his foot by Stewart after the ball was given away, but the keeper was left with little chance just before half time. The typically busy Thethy had a moment to forget when a blind pass from midfield went straight to Claremont’s lone striker who duly advanced on the Cubo goal before slipping the ball to his left where the arriving player converted to reduce the arrears.

Cubo had been pouring forward and might have put the game out of sight but instead they found themselves with a solitary goal advantage at the break.

Understandably nerves set in a little bit in the second half with Cubo playing a bit more directly in an attempt to ride out the win. Matty Kilner and Rich Crisp were introduced and freshened the side up, with attempts from both men scrambled clear by the visitors. Pete continued to threaten and second half substitute Ben Rushall and Jim were offered space to move into from full back.

Despite failing to score again Cubo were relieved to ride out the majority of the second period without incident and confirm a much needed and deserved three points.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 2nd XI 2-1 Claremont

Scorers: Pete Smith, Ralph Wensley

Man of the Match: Ralph – a goal and an assist from centre half and an assured display alongside Alan at the heart of the defence.

Manager’s Thoughts: “Pleased to finally get a deserved win under our belt. We showed character to ride a nervy final 10 minutes. Great performances through out and looking forward to building on it next week.”

Match Report: Thom Hoops

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