AFC Cubo 1 – Yateley United 2

Date: Saturday 23rd April 2016

Venue: Sean Devereux Park, Yateley

Starting line-up: Luke Arnold, Jonny Patterson, Joe Coffey, Ralph Wensley, Tim de la Haye, Chris Pyke, Elliot Connolly, Ryan Frost, Harry Tulip, Martin Ansell, Oli Perkins

Subs: Ben McGeown, Oli Watkins

Even the resurrection of the Ansell-Tulip-Perkins attacking triumvirate was not enough to cure Cubo’s end of season malaise as a late header secured all three points for Yateley.

Despite Cubo being the ‘home’ side for the fixture, due to the pitch at Barnes being replaced by an archery range for the summer, the game was played at Yateley, gifting Cubo another chance to visit this leafy outpost of Hampshire.

Cubo had the better of the first half and should have opened the scoring with Tulip and Perkins both having good chances (though in fairness uneven bounces contributed to them fluffing their lines). Cubo were enjoying a majority of the possession, however time and again the quality in the final third, particularly crosses, was not good enough and the Yateley keeper did not have to make a save of note.

Cubo’s failure to make the pressure count came back to haunt them when Yateley broke forward and a fine delivery from the right hand side found the dangerous number 10 unmarked at the back post and he calmly slotted his volley past Arnold. A sucker punch for the Cubans.

Cubo were struggling for fluency in the Yateley half with the front men often isolated and lacking support from the midfield when the ball did get to them. Despite this lack of fluency the boys in baby blue managed to force their way back into the game with a rare bit of quality in the Yateley third. The ball was worked from left to right in front of the Yateley defence, finding it’s way to Moisty, who clipped a lovely pass beyond the Yateley centre half into the path of Chris Pyke and he had time to chest the ball down before smashing past the keeper to make it 1-1.

This was probably the first time the Cubo midfield had got beyond their front men all game and highlighted one of the reasons Cubo had struggled to stretch the Yateley backline for most of the game up to that point. Unfortunately for the Cubans the goal failed to galvanise their play which continued to look disjointed as frustrations mounted for the home side.

With three minutes remaining Ben McG gave away a cheap free kick out on the touchline 30 yards from goal. Another decent delivery to the back post was met by the veteran Yateley centre half who looped a header back across goal, over Arnie’s head and into the net. Another quality delivery into the box, another goal conceded, Cubo’s inability to match the quality of delivery into the box had come back to bite them.

A tough result to take for the Cubans who played well in large parts of this game. Other than the goals conceded the backline looked secure for most of the game with Tim de la Haye making an impressive return to the side following his horror injury back in August.

Credit to Yateley, who put out a patched up side by all accounts but Cubo will feel that they should have won this game. A lack of fluency higher up the pitch cost them as they failed to take advantage of the amount of possession they enjoyed in the game.

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