Date: Monday 1st April 2013
Starting Line-up: Gaz Stewart, Rob Sadler, Hung Nguyen, Richard Gough, Joe Darlington, Mark Bradley, Ben McGeown, Jonny Patterson, Ryan Shedwick, Sabby Sabahatin, Jake Flower
Subs: Greg Tett, Oli Watkins, James McGeown
Cubo made the trip out to picturesque Reigate for the second game of the Easter Weekend where they faced Reigate Priory. With Joey D coming straight back into the starting line-up, Hung was moved into a more natural left back postion with the gaffer taking a seat on the subs bench alongside baby father Jim McGeown and the late arriving Greg Tett.
Reigate came into the game on the back of a 4-4 draw with high-flying Yateley Green and with the league’s joint top scorer Byrne in their ranks they clearly presented a more dangerous proposition than their league position suggested. This was borne out in the early exchanges when Priory’s tricky left-winger, who spent most of the first half using Sadler for nut-meg practice, whipped a ball into the back post where it reached an unmarked Priory midfield in the box and his volley beat Gaz but not the post and Cubo were fortunate that the rebound fell to Goughy to clear. Following this let off Cubo started to settle into the game and with the wind at their backs were able to pen Priory into their own half. The home side were attempting to hold a high line, no doubt conscious of their lack of size in the event of getting pinned in their own box, but this tactic left a lot of space in behind for Cubo’s forwards to work in and led to the first goal. Mid-season signing, and catalyst for Cubo’s upturn in form, Jake Flower broke down the left and his cross was side-footed home by Ryan Shedwick, who was still reeking of booze from his latest attempts at ingratiating himself with the upper middle-classes at the Boat Race the day previously. Cubo continued to press and were unlucky to see a curling effort from J-Pat tipped on to the bar by the keeper following a neat inter-change on the edge of the Priory box. Despite being a goal down, Priory continued to attempt, admirably, to pass their way out from the back and with their left winger giving Cubo a torrid time whoever he faced there were periods where the Baby Blue defence looked particularly stretched. Luckily for Cubo they were able to add a second before Priory took one of the chances that came their way before half time when Sabby was in the right place at the right time to tuck away a loose ball in the Priory box to make it 2-0.
Despite the two goal lead, the first half had been anything but comfortable for Cubo and with the wind against them, they would not find it quite so easily to box Priory in their own half. As expected Cubo were forced into greater defensive work in the second half, and were thankful to Gaz Stewart for keeping out Byrne with an point blank stop when the striker broke free in the inside left channel. A slight rejig was necessary with the Gaffer coming off the bench to strengthen the backline in place of a grateful Rufus Shedders, who was clearly feeling the effects of two nights out on the razz. The change had the desired effect with the backline shored up immediately. With Priory continuing to leave a lot of space in behind their backline Cubo were bound to get further chances, aided by the addition of Tett from the bench, and soon put the game to bed. A well timed run forward by Bradders saw him draw the keeper before squaring to Sabby who calmly swept home his second goal of the game. A hammer blow for Priory who, rightly, would have fancied their chances of getting something from the game had they pulled it back to 2-1. A fourth followed soon after, this time Jake Flower getting in behind and rounding the keeper before firing home into the empty net from a tight angle. With the three points secured Cubo then switched off in the last minute when a Priory corner was fumbled first by Gaz before dropping to Byrne who’s weak header seemed to take an age to first deflect off Goughy before going through Sadler’s legs on the line. Gaz’s frustration at conceding was evident and Cubo will be disappointed to give up the clean sheet so late in the game in such a sloppy manner.
A very good 3 points for the Baby Blue Army against opponents who have taken points off of many of the better sides in the division and could well have got something from this game had they taken one of their chances in the first half. Gaffer Watkins will be happy with how Cubo adapted to the circumstances and the ruthlessness shown in front of goal by his front men who made the difference in this fixture.
Final Score: Reigate Priory 1-4 AFC Cubo
Goals: Sabahatin x 2, Shedwick, J. Flower
Man of the Match: Ben McGeown