The first game of the season saw goals galore at Barnes Elms on Sunday as AFC Cubo and UCC Diasporas 2nd XI’s played out a five goal thriller.
On a hot and sunny day, both teams sought the early initiative by trying to get the ball to do the work, and despite some good early passages of play by both teams, it was a goalkeeping error which brought the opening goal. Joe Coffey seized on a poor goal kick by the suspect Diaspora number 1, taking control of the loose ball and stabbing it goalwards – 1-0 Cubans.
Conceding the goal drove Diaspora on and they began to see more and more of the ball. With 10 minutes left to play of the first half, a slick passing move down the left hand side opened up the Cubo defence, allowing the dangerous left winger to finish with power and accuracy at the near post. The first half came to an end without any further action, aside from Ollie Watkins taking a Copa Mundial to the forehead, which of course we all heard about at half time (and full time. Then again at The Red Lion. Then once more at The Dukes Head in case anyone missed it).
After some encouraging half time words and jelly babies, Cubo began the second half looking to take a grip on the game. However, it was Diaspora who picked up from the end of the first half as they continued earning the bulk of possession. On the 65 minute mark, Diaspora took the lead. This time, it was down the right hand side, as a clever ball over the top allowed the fresh-legged right midfielder time and space to pick out a cross, finding the ever dangerous centre forward who bulleted his header in from 3 yards. The goal brought a game changing substitute as Gorlitz made his debut from the bench for Egan.
With 10 minutes on the clock and Cubo looking for the equaliser, Diaspora broke again in numbers. They had scored from the left and right, so tried the centre this time. The substitute right midfielder got through and poked his shot goalwards, finishing coolly past Arnold. However, the Diaspora celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag. There was no more than a bookie’s biro in it, but it seemed like the right call.
Galvanised by some strong officiating, Cubo continued their search for an equaliser. It came when Joe Coffey popped up in the area with his back to the goal. With one touch and a turn, he managed to loop the ball over the goalkeeper from the edge of the area. A sublime finish worthy of drawing any game.
With minutes left on the clock, both teams set out about finding a winner. Diaspora seemed more concerned about complaining about the officials than chasing the winner, or defending a Cubo winner for that matter, and ultimately it cost them the points. With the clock ticking, Thethy broke down the right of midfield, sliding the ball through to Richard Crisp. Crispy’s ball in to the box was perfectly weighted, allowing that man Joe Coffey to finish first time for his hattrick. Euphoria throughout the Cubo team as they knew time was almost up.
The whistle blew for full time with no further controversy and thoughts could turn to the first Cubo social of the season. Not before man of the match Joe Coffey downed his Fosters in approximately 4 minutes 32 seconds. Top of the league…