An interrupted pre-season meant that Cubo’s opening day fixture against Ripley Village also served as the first game of their pre-season, far from ideal preparation! The lack of match sharpness was clearly evident in the first ten minutes as Ripley looked the hungrier of the two sides before taking the lead when a poor clearance left the Ripley striker through on goal and his strike, which on another day would be a bread and butter save for PG Stewart, found its way into the bottom corner. As the half progressed Cubo gradually grew into the game with JPat showing some much needed composure on the ball at the back and the Bradders/Pykey midfield pairing winning more and more of the ball. The new front line were looking dangerous whenever the ball reached them and Oli Perkins was unlucky to be denied an equilising goal when his angled strike appeared to cross the line before being cleared but the lino and ref had other ideas to leave the score 1-0 to Ripley at half time.
Coming out for the second half Cubo continued where they had left off, and soon found themselves on level terms. Oli ‘Good Touch for a Big Man’ Perkins held the ball up well before releasing Martin in a gap created by a clever run by Harry T, and the Club Sec beat the onrushing keeper to the ball to poke a finish into the corner of the net.
With both teams appearing to be struggling with the pace of the game it became increasingly stretched and both sides had chances to win it. Some trickery down the left from Harry Tulip saw him skin his full back before his cross was eventually scrambled clear when it looked sure to drop to a Cubo man in the box. Further chances were to follow with DJ blasting over the bar when the ball fell to him invitingly on the edge of the box and Bradders will be having nightmares about how he failed to get his leg over the ball when it dropped to him on the six yard line with the goal begging. At the same time Ripley were also looking dangerous and Cubo were thankful to PG Stewart for making an excellent reaction save from point-blank range late in the day to keep scores level. The game finished with some controversy when the referee failed to award a penalty to Ripley for an alleged handball by Bradders to prevent a goalscoring opportunity. In spite of this incident and the chances Cubo will feel they should have taken, a draw was probably a fair result and one from which Cubo can take a lot of positives.
Goalscorer – Martin Ansell
MOTM – Pykey/JPat
Line-up – Gaz, Sads, Alan, JPat, Nick Flower, Ben McG, Bradders, Pykey, Martin, Oli Perkins, Harry T
Subs – Chris Grayson, Dave Wall, Oli Wats