AFC Cubo 1-1 Reigate Priory

Starting line-up: L. Arnold, A. Clarke, N. Flower, R. Wensley, H. Nguyen, B. McGeown, E. Connolly, I. Clarke, J. Patterson, D. Wall, O. Perkins

Subs: R. Sadler

Cubo returned to action following a weather enforced fortnight off against the side who had dumped them out of the 1st round of the League Cup, Reigate Priory.  A litany of absences in the frontline meant that Dave Wall and utility man Jonny Patterson were pushed into unfamiliar attacking positions to support Oli Perkins.  A tad unfair on J-Pat who has been performing excellently in the centre of the park of late but much like other great British footballing talents such as Paul Warhurst, Phil Jones and Phil Neville, his versatility means he is often the first player to get pushed out of position.

The home side started well and should have taken the lead when J-Pat missed a header from the six-yard line when it looked easier to score.  With the home side playing the majority of the football Reigate looked to the threat posed by their top scored Byrne and he duly delivered twenty minutes in, eluding his marker from a corner to head home at the back post.  A bad goal to concede from Cubo’s point of view but testament to the predatory powers of the Reigate number 10 who always seems to get on the scoresheet against the Cubans.  In fairness, Reigate had looked very dangerous from both of the corners that preceded that one and only a goal line clearance had prevented them taking the lead previously.

The home side now faced an uphill battle against a side who were clearly content to batton down the hatches for the remainder of the game.  The second half continued much as the first had left off with Cubo dominating possession but letting themselves down with a lack of quality in the final third.  They almost found themselves two goals down when Byrne nicked the ball off the CUbo backline before racing through on goal on an angle.  Luckily for Cubo Arnie pulled off a superb save to push the strike over the bar.  As tension built in the game it proved to be too much for the newly introduced Reigate sub.  Spoiling for a row from the moment he walked on the pitch he got himself entangled with Hung and pushed the Cubo veteran to the ground.  The referee decided that this constituted raised hands and sent the Reigate man off.  A long way to come for a ten minute run out.

With the extra man, Cubo poured forward and would have equilised had it not been for an athletic save from the Reigate keeper to claw away a goal bound header from Oli Perkins.  The big striker had his head in his hands five minutes later when the ball fell to him 8 yards and he lashed his effort wide of the post.  It was appearing ominous for the home side as the time ebbed away but there was still time for an unlikely hero to step up to the plate.  A long throw into the box was flicked on by Nick Flower and arriving late at the back post was Alan Clarke to poke a finish under the keeper and rescue a point for Cubo.

A frustrating game for Cubo who will have felt that they should have got more from a game they dominated but in the end were lucky to get a point from.  Hats off to Reigate who have proven to be a bit of a bogey side for Cubo, particularly at home where Cubo have yet to beat them in 4 seasons of football in the Surrey Elite.

Man of the match: Elliot Connolly – kept things ticking over in midfield and dictated the game for the home side.

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