Lineup: Arnold, Davies, McMahon (Male), de la Haye, Tierney, Shaw, Peel, Cross, Tulip, Perkins, Guttridge
Goals: Tulip, Guttridge
After a tough 90 minutes and several bank holiday beers, Cubo were back on it Monday morning, heading to the depths of Croydon to face league new boys Farleigh, fresh from a forced demotion from the Combined Counties league. The journey did prove too complex for Guttridge and McMahon, finding themselves 20 miles away 30 minutes before kick offs – train journeys are hard!
Cubo have form for low availability on bank holiday Mondays – understandably so, but after arriving to find a huge Farleigh squad including a substitute goalkeeper warming up, it was clearly going to be a game for every ounce of early season energy. New recruit Barney Tierney completed another makeshift backline at right back, making his full debut for the Cubans.
Cubo started superbly, with the returning Peel enjoying time and space on the ball exploiting generous gaps afforded by the opposition. Wave after wave of Cubo attack followed, with the advanced 5 of Cubo’s attack causing mayhem, and returning player of the season Shaw aggressively snuffing out any danger – Guttridge and Peel traded chances but the goal had to come eventually, and after 25 minutes it inevitably did.
Receiving the ball following a Farleigh corner, Perkins wasted no time in controlling and releasing Tulip, who saw off the mouthy right back with ease before turning inside and beating the keeper with a low controlled shot. 1-0 and Cubo very much in control. Another makeshift defence had little danger to deal with but after conceding, Farleigh grew into the game testing Arnold with some long range efforts and threatening corners. Just before half time, the home side equalised, turning over possession and releasing the pacy striker, who finished confidently past the onrushing Arnold. 1-1, half time, and again Cubo had reason to feel a game was not reflecting their performance.
The 2nd half was barely 5 minutes old when McMahon’s hamstring gave up, and Ben Male entered the game to slot in alongside Captain de la Haye, getting himself a yellow card within 5 minutes to announce his arrival. Both sides were now well in the game, but it was undoubtedly Farleigh who enjoyed more of the ball, although they did little to challenge Arnold barring one fantastic save as the club chairman again rushed out and made himself big to stop the goal. It was Cubo who always looked the most threatening on the break, with Perkins in particular causing panic on the right, slotting just past the post after another left back rinsing.
After weathering the possession storm with what were now very tired legs, Cubo’s quality eventually came through, and after being released along the left Guttridge had the confidence to cut inside, pick his spot and curl a beautiful winner into the top corner, a deserved winner for a man who led the line superbly all game.
Cubo saw the game out despite some more pressure, but ultimately were only threatened in possession rather than chances. A verbally spicy affair came to an end, and the Cubans could reflect on 6 points out of 9 from 3 games in 9 days, an excellent return considering the lack of pre-season friendlies and bank holiday availability – with every player in all 3 squads playing a key role – onwards for the season!
MoM – lots of contenders but it was the colonel himself, Rob Davies, who didn’t put a single foot wrong at left back. Beginning attacks and nullifying Farleigh’s biggest threat on the right wing.