Date: Saturday 21st September, 2013
Venue: King’s House Sports Ground, Chiswick
Starting XI: Bush, Fraser, J. McGeown, Wensley, Ingle, Wall, Hooper. Thethy (C), Neville, Taylor, Keeegan.
Subs: Haddon, Glenn.
Cubo Reserves ventured North (!) of the river this week to the excellent facilities of the King’s House Sports Ground. In opposition were Sporting Duet, last season’s league top scorers and a side that did the double over Cubo in 2012/13.
Cubo started the game brightly, and the gameplan of working the Duet defence hard to stop them monopolising possession was working well, forcing Sporting to go uncharacteristically long from the back.
Although Cubo were very hesitant to go long themselves against a side featuring about 10 six foot plussers, they ironically took the lead when Bushy’s long kick forward was allowed to bounce by a hesitant Duet defence. In the ensuing confusion, Stevie T latched on to the bouncing ball and used the outside of his brand new Adidas Copa Mundial (Mikey Cain take note) right boot to lift a composed finish into the top corner.
Unfortunately this bright start was cancelled out immediately, when a corner from the left wing found the head of Duet’s biggest player inside the 6 yard box. He made no mistake with his downward header and parity was restored.
Despite a couple of uncomfortable moments resulting from long balls in the channel between right back and centre half, Cubo were more than matching their opponents. After Bushy produced a couple of good saves to keep the scores level, Hennerz made it two goals in two with a quite brilliant finish. After some incisive passes saw the Baby Blues find Keegan just inside the home side’s half, he boy from Boro cleverly delayed his pass before rolling in Neville down the left side in behind the high line of Duet. Moving with considerable grace, befitting his All Saints Autumn/Winter 2013 styling, Henry cut into the box before lofting a wonderful dinked finish over the onrushing keeper. A superb goal which allowed Cubo to get some half time drinks on board holding a 2-1 lead.
After squandering a lead in their previous outing, Cubo were well aware of making a solid start to the second half and the energy of Salty combined with Wall and Hooper making a number of challenges in midfield saw Cubo holding a good footing. Haddon replaced the tiring Keegan and moved to the right side, with Taylor now operating in a central position.
Unfortunately, as has been the case too often this season, Cubo fell behind after an individual error. Ralph, man of the match last week, was caught out by a hopeful ball forward and as the ball squirmed past him, the Sporting striker rushed in on goal and made no mistake.
Cubo again responded well and were within inches of being clean through, only to see the final throughball or squared pass just being underhit. Cubo were made to pay when an excellent last ditch block from Fraser was ‘cleared’ woefully by Hooper and the Duet right back, up on the counter, converted from 10 yards.
As Cubo became more stretched in search of a deserved equaliser, chances were appearing at both ends. Henry beat two men but his curled finish from an angle was far to close to the keeper, while a Wall drive from 20 yards was helped over the bar.
At the other end Bush produced an excellent save to claw a cleanly hit half-volley from the edge of the box out of his top right hand corner.
With minutes left Duet scored their 4th when a thrown in from the left wing saw an untracked runner waltz through a crooked Cubo back line, and convert.
Final Score: Sporting Duet 4-2 AFC Cubo 2nd XI
Goals: Taylor, Neville
Assists: Bush, Keegan
Man of the Match: Salty, just pipped Dave by one vote, after putting in a hugely effective shift as the link between the front 3 and the midfield.
Another really tough loss to accept for the 2s, but as in the previous weeks we are genuinely playing some good stuff with lots of width in our play, and a real attempt to pass through the team. Despite the lack of points there are many causes for optimism, especially as Duet will be right up there at the end of the season. Cutting out individual errors at the back, and showing a bit more care in the final third will see us get what we deserve.