Lineup: Hutchinson, Laing (Tierney), de la Haye, Torr, Davies (Frost), Shaw, Connolly, Peel, Shedwick (Hannaway), Chadwick, Perkins
Goals: Perkins (2)
Sitting in fifth place, only 2 points behind the leaders, and with several of the teams ahead of them playing each other, Cubo had an opportunity to make a move towards the summit of the table this weekend. Westside, the only team to have won all their games this season, were today’s opposition.
Back at home on the hallowed artificial turf of the Aspire Cage, both teams who like to get the ball on the deck and play attractive football were hoping to get off to a quick start. It was Westside who in fact started the brightest, exposing some gaps in the Cubo team, playing between the lines, and creating a couple of early chances, one of which rattled against Hutchinson’s post, another drawing an excellent save from the keeper. After taking the lead in all of their previous 5 games this season, Cubo were in an unfamiliar position after a chipped free kick over the Cubo defence was latched upon by the Westside number 9 and fired into the Cubo net, putting them one behind early on.
This seemed to set something off within the Cubo team and they responded excellently, keeping the ball much better and taking advantage of the high Westside back line with Perkins, Peel, Shedwick and Chadwick regularly running behind in the channels. After spurning several chances, the Cubo pressure was finally rewarded with the equalising goal, with Perkins peeling off at the back post, bringing the ball down well and firing into the back of the next from a tight angle. Cubo went from strength to strength after that, with some liquid football (one move between Laing, Connolly and Shedwick in particular) and constant pressure on their back four, the momentum was ours going into the break.
The second half carried on in the same manner as the first ended, with the Cubo defence having plenty of time of the ball to start the attacks through the busy midfield duo of Shaw and Connolly. Perkins, pretty much unplayable all game, constantly got the better of the Westside centre backs and Peel started to find more and more space, picking up the ball in dangerous situations. As the game moved into the final stages it looked as if the game was going to finish with the points shared at Southfields and several Cubo changes were made looking to add some energy for the final push. One of these substitutes, Hannaway, found himself high on the left wing and had the composure to take time and spot Peel drifting in to the box, who nicked the ball just ahead of the Westside centre back’s outstretched leg, going down and winning a Cubo penalty with five minutes to go. Perkins with his confidence high stepped up and slotted home to make it 2-1, leaving a very organised Cubo having to withstand a barrage of long balls to ensure they came off the pitch with the three points.
Results amongst the teams around us in the top half of the league meant that we finished the weekend joint top of the league. The work rate of this Cubo team is exceptional and that, added with the high quality football that is being played, really should give the whole team confidence that we can challenge at the top of the Surrey Elite League come the end of the season.
MoM – Oli Perkins gave an all round near perfect Number 9 performance, superb hold up play and terrorised the Westside centre backs for the entire 90 minutes, topped off with a deserved brace before running a 1 hour 37 minute half marathon less than 24 hours later – what a guy!