Match Report – Friendly vs Spartans (04.08.18)

Hutchinson, Golding (Dickens), Laing (Torr), Ellingford, Coffey, Brooks (Clarke), Connolly, Cross, Perkins, Chadwick (Mihaila), Guttridge (Ramsbottom)

Goals: Guttridge (pen)

With the start of both the 1st and 2nd XI’s league seasons fast approaching, Cubo visited one of the 1st XI’s league opponents, Spartans Youth FC, for their first pre-season game.

Travelling across West London to Kew Bridge, with a mix of established players and new joiners in the 31 degrees heat, to play against a young and energetic team who had already played two pre-season games, this was always going to be a tough but worthwhile test.

Cubo began the game slightly on the back foot as they got used to the sun-drenched pitch and the new partnerships within the team, conceding several set pieces. These were kept at bay by a combination of Hutchinson in goal and strong defending. Cubo began to play themselves into the game, with some nice interlay, in particular the centre midfield partnership of Brooks, Connolly and new face Matt Cross. The tireless efforts of the front three also stretching the Spartan’s back four, ensuring Cubo had an outlet in the blistering heat.

The game followed a similar path throughout the second half, with both teams enjoying periods of extended possession, however, several Cubo changes made the game a little disjointed and the best chances started to fall to the Spartans strikers. Things weren’t helped with the premature end to Ramsbottom’s debut as a hamstring injury forced him off after ten minutes of coming on.Following the drinks break Cubo were patient and started to dictate the tempo of the game, keeping the ball much better before the half was brought to an end, regularly starting at the back, down the right flank from Ellingford and Dickens.

After another flurry of Cubo substitutions at the break, the next 15 minutes saw several Spartan’s penalty shouts turned down and chances squirmed before a nice bit of movement from Guttridge up top saw him get bulldozed down just inside the penalty area and a penalty awarded for Cubo. With two of Cubo’s normal penalty takers away, Guttridge took the chance to stake a claim as the penalty taker moving forward and sent the keeper the wrong way, making it 1-o to the Cubans.

As the heat and tired legs began to take their toll, Cubo began to drop deeper and found it difficult to keep the ball and the front four saw less and less of the ball, however with Tom Clarke putting in some key tackles in front of the back four Cubo were able to resist the Spartans pressure. That was until a moment that unfortunately wasn’t caught on camera but was not to dissimilar to video below, as Sam Brooks played a one-two with goalkeeper Hutchinson and played the ball against the post and into the back of his own net, gifting Spartans with a bizarre equaliser.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsKFZsWvCWU

The game was drifting towards a 1-1 draw, which would have been a fair result, until the Spartans number 11 scored a goal worthy of winning any tie with a couple of minutes to go. After threatening all game with his touch, pace and skill, he was able to send both Cubo defenders Laing and Torr the wrong way before slotting into the bottom corner and winning the game for the young Spartans team.

Although a defeat was disappointing, parts of the performance and the match fitness gained was exactly what this Cubo side needed. Particular mention goes to the new boys Cross, Ellingford, Dickens, Ramsbottom, Clarke and Mihaila who did not look one bit out of place playing against a very good team from the Surrey Elite League.

Now we look forward to our internal Club Day next Saturday before the start of the 1st XI’s campaign in the Surrey Elite League on the 18th August, looking to build on our 6th place finish from last year and mount a title challenge.

MoM – Matt Cross the stand out performer, with some nice touches and interplay, showing glimpses of what he can offer this team moving forward (let’s ignore that terrible left foot volley)

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