Starting line-up: G. Stewart, A. Clarke, H. Nguyen, R. Wensley, S. Graves, B. McGeown, E. Connolly, I. Clarke, M. Ansell, J. Patterson, R. Shedwick
Subs: R. Sadler, C. Pyke, Oli Perkins
Cubo bounced back from their 3-1 loss at Abbey Rangers with a morale-boosting win against Merrow. The score line belies how evenly poised this game was for a majority of the 90 minutes, particularly during the first half where Merrow could claim to have been the better side. Cubo struggled to get any rhythm in their game in the opening 45 minutes and, with the exception of Elliot Connolly, were very wasteful in possession. Merrow looked a more dangerous side than the team that Cubo had taken 6 points off of last season and were only denied an opening goal by the linesmans flag when a freekick was touched in at the back post. A big let off for Cubo, and one that would prove decisive. Ten minutes into the second half, having missed a near identical opportunity at the start of the half, Clarkey burst into the box to latch onto JPat’s cross and placed his volley in off the post. The home side were playing with far more intent and an improvement in ball retention in the Merrow half meant they were able to exert greater pressure on the backline. With Merrow still reeling from the first goal, Cubo added a very well-worked second. The ball was clipped in to Clarkey, who had made another good run from deep beyond the back four but this time instead of going for goal he back-heeled the ball into Martin’s path and he side-footed home to give Cubo a two goal cushion. Despite an improvement in intensity in the second half Cubo were still guilty of being sloppy in possession which brought them under a lot of pressure. Merrow were enjoying a lot of the ball and were able to pump a lot of crosses into the Cubo box. Luckily keeper Gaz Stewart was in commanding form in his box and dealt with everything that came near his 6 yard box. With Merrow pressing on there was always going to be opportunities on the break for Cubo and they added a third with 15 minutes to go when Martin beat his man out on the right before fizzing the ball across the box where the newly introduced Oli Perkins tapped in from 3 yards out.
A good win for Cubo in a game that could easily have swung the other way had Merrow taken one of their chances in the first half. Luckily for Cubo a vastly improved performance in the second half meant that they were good value for the three points in the end.
Goals – Clarkey, Martin, Oli Perkins
MOTM – Elliot Connolly – showed good composure on the ball throughout to lay the foundations for the victory.