Lineup: Touaita, Davies, Jones, de la Haye, Coffey (Kelsall), Brooks (Tierney), Connolly, Cross, Tulip, Perkins, Guttridge
Cubo welcomed local rivals Battersea to the Aspire Academy for the first home game of the season, and the first of 2 games in less than 48 hours as the Surrey Elite League welcomed back the bank holiday double header, aka wedding availability season.
After both sides enjoyed comfortable opening day wins, a tense battle was expected in a fixture that ebbs and flows each season. Both teams felt evenly matched in the opening exchanges, with the pace and width of the wingers on both team exploiting space and opening up numerous opportunities, but it was Battersea who just shaded the best of the chances, forcing a couple of excellent saves from the stand in keeper Adam Touaita.
After growing into the game, Cubo began pushing the Battersea defence further back, and when Tulip found an opening against the full back, he crossed for Guttridge who controlled, turned and placed an excellent finish into the side of the net. Cubo almost doubled their advantage straight after, with a sharp cross from Guttridge just missing Perkins and firing off a defender onto the post. Cubo ended the half feeling on top with a particularly strong performance from a makeshift back line, but knowing there was much more to come from both teams.
Half time instruction to maintain shape and approach were briefly undone when Battersea began peppering the Cubo box with crosses, corners and long throws, with the latter causing carnage only 5 minutes in, leaving Battersea’s midfielder with a tap in after a brief bit of pinball football to make it 1-1. 10 minutes later and it was 2-1, this time with a corner causing the same panicked reaction and almost a carbon copy finish to put Battersea in the lead.
Cubo looked to fight back, immediately attacking the Battersea goal, with a Perkins tap in after an excellent attacking move being rightly ruled out for offside. Battersea then scored the goal of the game as the impressive Anderson turned his man, firing an angled shot in from the edge of the box. Cubo continued to attack, believing the game could still be salvaged, but an over the top ball latched on to by the right winger, finished the tie as a contest.
After resolute organisation and exciting counter attacking, it was a shame for all involved to be on the receiving end of what looked on paper to be a bit of a pasting, but the tie was in reality much closer. Cubo look forward to the return leg on a ground they always go well at.