Date: April 6th 2013
Competition: Wimbledon Trophy 3rd Round
Squad: Smith, Reed, Palacio, Fraser, McHale, Vanderlight, Boase, Haddon
(c), Martinus, S. Cain, Tribe
On a bright April afternoon, AFC Cubo 3rd XI took on AFC Battersea at
Raynes Park in the third round of the Wimbledon Trophy. Having not
played a game in the competition, but still being in the third round,
Cubo were taking on a side in the division above and who were rated for
their ability to press and hassle their way into games. Cubo had also
lost Stevie T to the 2s a few hours before kick off so arrived for the
game with eleven men.
Cubo started the game a little nervously as Battersea were able to
string a number of passes together, although lacking any end result. As
the game settled down, Cubo looked solid. The defensive triumvirate of
Smith, Fraser and McHale worked well, ensuring that loose balls were
picked up and cleared away as and when necessary.
The central midfield combination of Andy Martinus and Luke then had time
to get the ball down and knock a few passes around. Andy Tribe moved to
the left wing in a tactical reshape, with James Boase taking a place up
top alongside Stu Cain. Andy M was finding the time to ping-pong the
ball further than a Thai lady of the night, and with just as much
accuracy; causing serious problems for the Battersea full backs.
The tactical switch gave Cubo the ability to cause Battersea real
problems down the wings as the height of Brett and the speed of Tribe
gave the full backs something to worry about. With fifteen minutes
remaining of the first half, Tribe charged down the left wing, cutting
in on the edge of the box to find Stu Cain. His shot hit the danger area
and could only be parried out by the Battersea ‘keeper into the path of
Brett. He took the ball and calmly slotted the ball straight back from
whence it came, into the bottom of the Battersea net. Cubo looked solid
and saw out the remainder of the half, with only a worrying knock to
Andy Martinus to worry about.
Andy’s knock proved serious enough couldn’t continue, so Cubo came out
with 10 men for 45 minutes against the higher division team. Boase
dropped into left wing with Andy T lining up alongside Luke, leaving
Stuey Cain on his own up front.
Despite Cubo’s best efforts to hold on to their lead, the opposition
found an equaliser half way through the second half. A dubious free kick
decision on the left edge of Cubo’s penalty box and a lapse of
concentration led to Battersea’s five-foot-nothing striker slotting the
ball past Smith.
Not long after, the benefit of the additional player meant that
Battersea got a lead after their left winger picked up the ball on the
halfway line and hit the Cubo right. A threading pass across the box
found their rampaging player on the switch, who benefitted from the near
post as he beat Smith with a well placed shot.
Cubo were soon down to nine for a short period after Luke took a rugby
tackle to the face. Coming back on, and with the entire side being
slowly ground down, the Battersea captain found the channel between
Fraser and Reedy and charged into the box with five minutes to go.
Fraser caught the player’s trailing leg near the byeline, and he went
down like a gracious nerd on a bird. A soft penalty to give, but the
referee admitted to Fraser, ‘You’d hit the guy late several times; one
was gonna be a penalty!’ Hard and fast, the Battersea captain gave Smith
no chance as he drilled it down the middle.
A hard fought game, and one where Cubo were certainly not put to shame.
Final Score: AFC Battersea 3 – 1 AFC Cubo 3rd XI
Man of the Match: Stuart Fraser