Sporting Duet Reserves 1-2 AFC Cubo 3rd XI

Date: Saturday 9th February, 2013

Squad: Smith, Lye, Ingle, McHale, Palacio (Rushall), Hackin, Haddon, Edwards, Nixon (Smith), S. Cain, Neville (Martinus)

Despite stellar organisation from Luke, John Glenn caused serious problems on the Friday night before the game as it was pointed out that the fixture was actually at Wandsworth Park, not Wandsworth Common. With Corporal Jones calmness (“Don’t Panic!!”), we eventually got all 14 players on board and on time for kick off.

Cubo started with a standard 4-4-2, looking to build on the good performance against Northern Town the week before and looking to pick up a vital three points. The Sporting Duet side looked fresh as spring chickens, with an estimated average age of 17 judging by their distinct lack of facial hair. Luke’s pre-match team talk consisted of various vulgarities, with the main thread being that the side needed to get stuck in and to use their considerable age advantage to their favour.

Pressing the opposition was the name of the game, and it soon produced results. Duet found Ant Hackin a handful on the wing and playing a hopeful ball to the centre of the park, Luke collected it and found some space behind the left back for Ant to push on. With a deft swing of the boot, he found Stu Cain at the back post who hammered the ball with his left foot into the roof of the net. Bells were tolled across London; a special bank holiday was announced; the Pope resigned; but most importantly, Stu thought he had a story to tell his dad that night.

With Cubo a goal to the good, confidence grew. The Duet centre midfield found it difficult to get any kind of ball to play football as Luke and Pistol Pete deftly broke up play with strong-arm football techniques that the youngsters didn’t like to get involved in. As Cubo pushed the Duet play backwards, Dave Nixon forced a corner on the left flank. Henners stepped up and delivered a threatening ball to the back post, over the goalkeeper’s head. Carnage ensued. Stu Cain threw himself at it wholeheartedly, but fell over. Ant Hackin charged in, followed by Pistol Pete, and somehow the ball hit the back of the Duet net. Ant ran away, claiming the goal; and with those guns, who are we to argue?!

Stu and Henners were both clearly devastated as it turned out the number 10 shirt took the full force of Pete’s boots in the goalmouth scramble, coming away second best. Stu was also left looking like the leading lady from Fifty Shades of Grey. Old Aber Boys have always liked a bit of rough.

Cubo closed out the rest of the half, and went in two goals up.

Cubo made a single half time change as Ed Smith replaced Dave Nixon, coming on to the left wing. The Sporting Duet coaches obviously found the strength of Cubo’s midfield combination dangerous and made wholesale changes at half time. A completely new centre midfield showed fresh legs and would cause Cubo problems late in the game.

Until then, Cubo continued in the fashion of the first half. With Jamie McHale joining Jimmy Ingle in centre defence, Cubo has a strong foundation on which to work it down the channels. Jez Lye and Antonio Palacio found space on the flanks, pushing on and giving the wingers room to get behind the Duet full backs. Midway through the second half, Antonio found Ed Smith on the left wing, who gave the ball to Henry inside the Duet penalty box. With the faint dip of his right shoulder, he went to the left of the defender and hit a cutting shot at goal. The keeper did well to keep it out.

The keeper was nowhere to be seen for Cubo’s next effort, as a goal line scramble was narrowly foiled by the Duet defence. Ant drifted in at the back post as a deep cross came in, and headed it towards goal. With all the luck of a 16-way accumulator coming in, Duet’s captain was on hand to keep it out. Twice. Ant following up his initial effort, before Duet hacked the ball out.

By this time, Cubo were knackered. Duet’s young midfield were supplemented by an old head, and Pete and Luke found themselves up against three in the middle of the park. On the one rare occasion that Duet found space between the Cubo midfield and defence, and got away from the wrath of Luke’s short-man complex, Adam Smith came to the rescue with his ‘invisible hand’ and pushed an effort from Duet’s diminutive dangerman wide.

Duet got a goal back with five minutes to go, as the little number 10 knocked a Karel Poborsky goal-bound shot over Smith’s head. The credit was stolen from him by his fellow frontman who finished it with the sneakiness of a girl who looks like she’s gonna give it up, before letting you know she’s on her period.

In the next five minutes, Duet pushed for a second. Looking and sounding like The Angry Ginger Kid, Luke lost his rag. Commanding the team to “Stop pussying around with it, and get it out!”, he pulled another impressive debutant, Andy Martinus, into centre midfield to provide support and close out the game.

At the final whistle, Cubo had picked up the vital three points they’d been looking for. This was a hard fought win, akin to sleazing with the ugly girl at 3am.  Sometimes you have to “win ugly”…

As for Stu Cain’s story, his brother bagged a hat trick for the Cubo firsts. The bank holiday was swiftly cancelled.

Final score: Sporting Duet Reserves 1 – 2 AFC Cubo 3rd XI
Goals: Cain, S., Hackin,
Man of the Match: Luke Haddon

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