Date: Saturday 13 February 2016
Venue: Nursery Road Playing Fields, Wimbledon
Starting line-up: Arnold, Bentley, Watkins, Fred, Jones, Fox, Salty, Golding, Crisp, Shardlow (c), Pinnington
Subs: Simmons, Lye, Hooper
On a wet and windy afternoon, the Baby Blue Army headed deep into bandit country (leafy Wimbledon) looking to bounce back from a disappointing cup exit the week before.
The lads knew they were in for a difficult afternoon, with Diaspora flying high in the league and looking to avenge Cubo’s 3-2 win on the opening day of the season. Confidence was high, with a stellar squad at Louis “Arn” Gaal’s disposal and a new found belief that anything is possible after it emerged that Bentley had managed to secure a Valentine’s Day date.
As soon as the kick off was taken, the lads were straight into the battle with some early pressure from Diaspora forcing Cubo to dig in. Commitment in the tackle from Salty, Golding, Shards and even Crispy (surprising I know…) kept the game tight; the boys chased and hounded the Diaspora players from minute one.
As the half progressed, Cubo began to ease into the game, creating a few half chances that on another day could of seen the lads snatch a goal. Diaspora, despite their efforts, were unable to break the Cubo resolve and didn’t fashion a chance of note before the half time whistle – a reflection on how well the lads rallied and battled throughout the half.
With the game evenly poised and the second half underway, the Cubans had the confidence that it would be the boys in Baby Blue to break the deadlock. However, with just 5 minutes on the clock, Cubo conceded a cheap free kick some 25 yards out. Little did both sides know that they would witness one of the greatest free kicks of all time, leaving Arnie completely helpless…. (or in reality a tame effort that was somehow chucked into his own net, see below)
1-0 down, Cubo looked to their extensive bench for some fresh impetuous, with Simmons, Lye and Hooper all taking to the field.
It was a change that would influence the game, with Simmons looking lively from minute one. A flowing move down the right hand side led to the ball breaking to the unmarked Simmons on the edge of the area, who cooly took a touch and dispatched the ball into the top bin. Great tekkers and a well deserved goal for the Cubo to brings things level. (N.B. We’ve been asked to add that Salty – Salt-Dog to his fans – provided the assist….)
With the game evenly poised, both sides threw caution to the wind and fashioned some decent chances. Cubo stood firm, Diaspora attacks breaking on the rocks that were Watkins and Fred, who both had superb afternoon’s anchoring the back four, and indeed Jez made two fantastic last-ditch tackles to deny one-on-one opportunities.
With less than 5minutes to go, the boys in baby blue thought they had snatched all 3 points when a cute through ball found Hooper through on goal…. a delicate chip lifted the ball over the rushing keeper and towards the goal…. Diaspora hearts dropped, Cubo pulses raced…. it was not to be as the ball slid just wide of the post. A great effort from Hooper none the less.
With that the game came to an end. All in all, a draw was a fair result and the performance will please the Cubo supporters as the lads had fight and heart in abundance especially to come back from a goal down.
MOTM: Oli Watkins. Rolling back the years with a solid and commanding performance that was nearly as good as his admin!