Line-up: Hutchinson, Seymour, Laing, Torr, Frost (Davies), Peel, Tierney (Cooper), Cross, Chadwick (Brooks), Perkins, Guttridge
Goals: Guttridge, Perkins, Chadwick, Tierney
Following the abandonment of the game vs. Ripley the previous weekend due to the snow, luckily Cubo were back at home on the 4G at the Aspire this weekend and were only one of two league games to go ahead despite the heavy rainfall over the week. This weekend, Cubo came up against the team where it all began this season, AFC Spelthorne Sports, and were looking to replicate that performance and result which saw Cubo walk away as 5-2 victors.
After discussions in the changing room of starting quickly and dominating possession from the off, the game could not have started any better for Cubo as within the first minute, the ball fell to Guttridge on the left hand corner of the box and he fired the ball home with the outside of his foot on the half-volley to give Cubo the lead. The next ten minutes were hectic, with chance after chance falling to Cubo, from freekicks, corners and getting the ball out wide quickly – the two best chances falling to Chadwick who was unlucky to see box a header and a swivelled shot from the edge of the six yard box both crash back off the woodwork. Somehow, Cubo were unable to extend their lead within these first ten minutes, which could have easily seen them 3 up.
Having survived the constant Cubo pressure, Spelthorne began to grow into the game and saw themselves more regularly in the Cubo half and threatening Hutchinson’s net. Their best chances came through their midfield running off the shoulders of their Cubo counterparts and getting between the Cubo defence – luckily Cubo had Hutchinson, the legs of the Cubo defence or the poor Spelthorne finishing to thank when none of these chances were taken. Cubo found it increasingly difficult to get on the ball and the game became very disjointed and sloppy. Fortunately, Cubo were able to dig deep and force some opportunities despite not playing well and as Guttridge showed I the first minute, today was a day where the Cubo forwards were extremely clinical – with Perkins and Chadwick both tapping home from similar positions in the six yard box, one from a corner and another from a cross from the right, sending Cubo into the changing rooms at half-time 3-0 up. A scoreline that certainly did not reflect the performance.
It was clear to see that nobody was happy with the first half performance and it was decided that we had to go back to basics in the second half, trying to keep the ball and move it quickly. The second half performance was all about trying to play the football we know the team can do, and should be playing as we move in to the critical part of the season. The second half started in a more positive way than the first half ended, with Peel, Tierney and Cross finding themselves with more space on the ball and the Cubo defence being troubled less regularly. Cross in particular began to use this space to good effect, driving forward on a few occasions past the Spelthorne midfield and towards their back four, with the final pass just not coming off in order to create an opening.
The fourth goal came in typical Cubo fashion with some nice interplay down the right hand side before the ball was played across the six yard box, avoiding any outstretched Spelthorne legs, and reaching Tierney at the back post who was able to calmly pass the ball into the open net and notch his second of the season. Now 4 nil up, Cubo had the luxury of making several substitutions, with Cooper, Brooks and Davies all coming on – all providing that added energy that the Cubo team needed, with it being particularly good to see Cooper getting ~30 minutes and putting in a good performance after a long absence through injury. The final quarter of the game became saw a couple of chances fall to both teams, with the Spelthorne keeper preventing Peel from overtaking Torr in their battle for goals scored, and the crossbar preventing Spelthorne from getting on the scoresheet. Unfortunately, the potential clean sheet for the Cubo defence was taken away from them late on, as Torr was pulled out of the back line and the through ball slotted through to the Spelthorne strike who slotted past Hutchinson to make it 4-1 just minutes before the final whistle.
All in all, Cubo will be happy with the 3 points and scoreline, however, they know that if they want to challenge for the league title, their performance must improve as they move into the final quarter of the season – with no better time to start than back at the Aspire next week against title rivals Spartans Youth!
MoM – Mitch Seymour. On a day where nobody stood out, Mitch carried on with his consistent, reliable and strong performances of previous weeks. He is certainly getting through plenty of Guinness’s since his record transfer from rivals Battersea midway through the season.