Lineup: Hutchinson, Laing, de la Haye, Wensley, Frost, Shaw, Peel (Tierney), Cross, Guttridge (Tulip), Perkins (Torr), Chadwick
After the disappointing loss to Chessington a week earlier, Cubo looked to respond and end 2018 on a high! Up against them this weekend was another extremely tough test, with a top of the table clash against Westside.
The weather forecast promised heavy winds and torrential rain and that is exactly what we got from the first minute. As expected, the game began in a cagey manner, with both teams trying to work each other out initially. It was clear to see that Westside wanted to play the ball from their goalkeeper to their defence before quickly getting the ball into their forwards feet, this presented Cubo with several opportunities of intercepting the ball and beginning a number of attacks. Unfortunately, this only resulted in half chances, with Peel firing just over the bar from 30 yards, Cross firing straight into the goalkeeper’s hands and plenty of second balls / rebounds falling agonisingly short of any Cubo attacker. Westside also began to grow in to the half, looking to spread the ball out wide to both of their nippy wingers, but unfortunately for them, every time they were able to beat the fullback, the final delivery / shot did not threaten the Cubo goal. The first half therefore came to an end with the score unchanged
As the second half got going, it was clear to see that the non-stop rain was making it’s mark on the pitch, with it becoming very boggy. Both teams did their best to carry on playing football in the only way they both know how, with the ball being played quickly on the deck, but it became increasingly difficult as each minute passed by. Despite the conditions, there were several stand out moments during the final 45 minutes, with Cubo’s best chances regularly coming from the right hand side with good interplay between Laing and Chadwick, one of which resulted in the ball falling to Cross on the edge of the box and after a good first touch he was unable to keep the ball down and saw his shot firing just over the bar. Westside had a phase of constant pressure in the final third of the game and a couple of key moments meant that Cubo came away with something from the game – the first being an unbelievable save from Hutchinson after the ball was played across the Cubo six yard box and the Westside forward looking certain to score when sliding in at the back post, and the second being in the final minutes, when the tall Westside centre half got up at a corner and headed the ball towards the goal, luckily for Cubo de la Haye was able to block it on the line and Cubo were able to clear after the resulting goal mouth scramble.
The referee blew the final whistle on this top of the table clash with the both goalkeepers walking off with clean sheets. The draw was probably a fair reflection of a very tight game between two very good teams, which was not helped by the weather conditions. Cubo can be very happy with how the first half of their season has gone and should be looking to press on in 2019 and aim to be in the mix for the title come March/April.
MoM – Jack Hutchinson. A couple of exceptional saves in the second half that allowed Cubo to walk away with a point – to keep his concentration throughout the game, when the majority was stood freezing in torrential rain, made them even better!