Laleham vs AFC Cubo – Saturday 8th October

Whetton, Torr, de la Haye, Laing, Findleton (Frost), Connolly (c), Cooper, Peel (Ansell), Tulip, Simmons, Perkins

Goals: Perkins, Peel, Ansell

Cubo journeyed across South West London for a first ever visit to Laleham FC, able to name a strong squad for consecutive weeks which gave Tulip and Perkins some ‘good’ headaches about starting line ups.

On a nice Autumn day on what was a fairly troublesome, bobbly pitch, Cubo struggled to find the attacking fluidity that had served them well the previous week. Whilst Perkins and Tulip looked to have the measure of their respective full backs, the midfield 3 were struggling to get the ball out to them as regularly as hoped. Much of this was down to good pressing from the Laleham midfield.

As Cubo began to grow more into the game they were hit with a questionable penalty decision, a long ball forward from Laleham found it’s way into the box, and an inconspicuous coming together in the box saw the referee point to the spot. A bit of a head scratcher since there was minimal contact and minimal appeal, but Cubo ultimately had to accept it. Penalty dispatched, 1-0 to Laleham.

Moments later it was 2-0, after stealing the ball back in midfield Laleham went over the top again, and after a bit of football pinball in the box the Laleham striker found the ball at his feet and rolled it into the back of the net. 2-0 and Cubo were shocked if not a bit confused at the sequence of events.

Gradually, Cubo’s midfield and full backs began to assert themselves on the game, with Torr and Findleton shifting the ball forward quickly and the midfield 2 of Cooper and Connolly able to find more space. Within a few minutes it was 2-1, Tulip found himself on the edge of the box with just the right back to beat, who was quickly dispatched before the ball was played across the box for a simple Perkins finish. 2-1 and with Laing and de la Haye ensuring no more chances for Laleham, Cubo set themselves up for attack after attack.

2-2 followed and it was much the same, Connolly playing it to Tulip who then played in Simmons on the left, and a perfectly weighted pass across goal found Peel who, despite getting a nasty whack on the ankle earlier in the half, calmly dispatched for 2-2 and order was restored. Cubo could have gone into the break way ahead but for some wayward finishing from Tulip, and a brilliant long range effort from Simmons going inches wide.

Half time saw the need for Cubo to settle down, move the ball quickly and get more goals. The injured Peel made way for Martin Ansell, who immediately looked dangerous on his comeback from holiday.

Both sides missed clear chances including a free Laleham header for a corner, and Tulip snatching at a 1 on 1 half volley. But with 15 minutes left, the (fairly mouthy) Laleham substitute latched on to a cleared corner to smash an absolute thunderbastard volley into the side netting, a great goal that the solid 2nd half defensive set up didn’t deserve. Though in an increasingly frustrating game, the goal did fit the pattern of play.

Cubo kept going though, and within 5 minutes the (fairly quiet) Ansell decided he wasn’t going to be upstaged, cracking another left footed volley into the roof of the net from 25 yards. Fully deserved for the Cubans but it did feel as if it should have been a winning goal given the chances.

3-3 and aside from some unfortunate pleasantries from a couple of Laleham midfielders at the final whistle, it was a good game where Cubo just shaded it in terms of chances. A shout out to the defence, who on another day would have kept a clean sheet but for a dodgy penalty and a peach of a volley.

MoM – Tim de la Haye just shaded it, playing with authority from the back. Shout outs to the rest of the defence and a solid performance from Charlie Cooper in midfield.

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