Abbey Rangers 3 v AFC Cubo 1 – Saturday 13th September 2014

Starting Line-up: G. Stewart, A. Clarke, D.Wall, S. Graves, R. Gough, B. McGeown, E. Connolly, I. Clarke, J. Patterson, R. Shedwick, M. Ansell

Sub: R. Wensley

Cubo’s unbeaten start to the season came to an end at high-flying Abbey Rangers who underlined their title credentials with a very solid performance.  Despite a few absences gaffer Benny Mac was still able to name a very strong side with Dave Wall coming in to replace Cubo stalwart Hung Nguyen.  The game began cagily with both sides employing very similar systems that saw a congested and very competitive midfield area.  Abbey were playing with a very distinct gameplan which bore fruit after fifteen minutes when a long throw into the box was flicked on by the lone frontman and the onrushing Abbey midfield tucked away at the second attempt after Gaz had saved his initial effort.  A sloppy goal to concede from Cubo’s point of view but they soon found themselves two down when another the striker, who had deceptive aerial prowess, won another header and the Abbey number eight again latched onto it before side footing home.  Another disappointing goal to concede, particularly as it appeared that the goalscorer fouled his marker to reach the ball in the first place.  Cubo now faced a very tough task against a very well organised Abbey who’s two goal cushion meant they could afford to sit in and look to hit Cubo on the break.  Abbey’s sitting in meant Cubo were enjoying a lot of possession but was a lack of cutting edge in the final third where the home side restricted Cubo to one strike from outside the area that sailed over the bar.  The second half continued much as the first had left off, with Cubo enjoying plenty of possession without really looking like opening Abbey up.  The Cubo’s best chance of getting back into the game looked like coming from a set-piece and they thought they had pulled one back when an initially cleared corner was put back into the box and Alan flicked home but the goal was disallowed for offside.  With time running out Cubo then felt they should have had a penalty when the ref blew up for a foul on Rufus that appeared to be inside the box but only a free kick was granted.  A frustrating decision for the away side.  The game was struggling to get any sort of momentum as the referee became increasingly happy to blow up for any sort of contact and a number of yellow cards were issued for infringements that at first sight looked rather innocuous.  Cubo finally got a lifeline when a free kick was headed past his own keeper by the Abbey centre half but any hope was quickly extinguished when Abbey broke away to make it 3-1.  Cubo had been living dangerously at the back in an effort to get back into the game and when the Abbey sub sprung the high line, he had ample time to coolly side step Gaz and slot home to finish the game.

A tough game for the Cubans against a strong and well-organised side.  The late goal may have skewed the score-line but it was a fair result on the day.  Abbey have made a strong start to the season and on this evidence will certainly be in the mix for the title come April time.


AFC Cubo 1-1 AFC Spelthorne Sport Sat 30th August 2014

Line-up: Gareth Stewart, Rob Sadler, Hung Nguyen, Sam Graves, Ralph Wensley, Chris Pyke, Mark Bradley, Elliot Connolly, Martin Ansell, Harry Tulip, Jonny Patterson

Subs: Rufus Shedwick, Alan Clarke

Cubo met newly promoted AFC Spelthorne Sports on a warm day at Southfields Academy 3G.  Spelthorne have just been promoted from the Surrey County Intermediate League (Western), dropping only 9 points on their march to the title with only one defeat to their name.  Their confidence was on show from the early stages where they controlled possession well.  The visitors central midfield pairing were to the fore in this period, looking after the ball and finding the space to hit dangerous passes in behind the Cubo defence.  Young, fit and happy to keep the ball on the deck, Spelthorne were proving to be very different opponents to Battersea the week before.  Cubo gradually worked their way into the game, with Bradders and Pykey working hard to shut down the space in the middle of the park.   Going forward, Bobby Sads and Moisty were combining well down the right and with Moisty in particular looking dangerous, this looked like the area where Cubo might get some joy.  The first goal however came deservedly to the away side.  A low cross from the left was gift-wrapped for the Spelthorne front man to tap in from 4 yards out to make it 1-0.  The game remained finely poised with Harry Tulip seeing his fierce drive fly just over before Spelthorne almost doubled their lead when their striker sprung the offside trap only to see his attempted lob bounce back off the underside of the bar.  The second half saw a change in dynamic as Cubo were the side that started the quicker and soon found themselves level.  Moisty was fouled on the edge of the box, before picking himself up and curling the resultant free kick into the top corner.  A great finish from Cubo’s best player on the day.  The game was opening up with both sides creating chances to win it.  The introduction of Rufus and Clarkey from the bench gave Cubo an extra attacking edge and both players were involved late doors.  Rufus was getting a lot of joy in behind the full backs, where Sam was picking him out with some raking passes from the back.  Match rustiness let him down on a couple of occasions but he was central to two of Cubo’s best chances in the final ten minutes.  First he broke down the right before squaring to Clarkey in the box who uncharacteristically blazed over.  Rufus’ direct running then took him down the left where he crossed for Moisty who had made a great run across the centre half but could only watch in despair as his effort drifted over the bar off of the outside of his boot.  This was to prove the last chance of the game for the home side who may have been wishing for another five minutes to nab the goal they felt was coming their way.

In the end this was a decent point for Cubo against a well drilled and good footballing side.  Spelthorne looked after the ball well and were good value for their lead at half time but Cubo showed good determination to fight back into the game and get what they deserved from it.

Goal – Martin Ansell

MOTM – Martin Ansell

Battersea Ironsides 2-3 AFC Cubo – Mon 25th August


Cubo continued their pre-season with a bank holiday trip to local rivals and last season’s runners-up Battersea Ironsides.  Despite a number of absences interim gaffer Benny Mac was still able to name a strong side with yellow card specialist Richard Gough returning to the backline and new signing Greg Benson making his first appearance.  An hour’s worth of rain had left the pitch, which was in fantastic nick after a summer of rest, extremely slick and had an immediate impact on the game.  From kick off a long ball forward was nodded down by JPat, before skidding off the deck to wrong foot the Battersea backline and fall to Martin 30 yards out.  Last week’s goalscorer took a couple of touches before unleashing a curling strike which had the keeper beat all ends up before striking the underside of the ball, rebounding down and being nodded into the empty net by Ben McG.  1-0 after about 10 seconds, the quickest goal in Cubo history by one of its slowest players.  The rain had contributed to Cubo’s great start and also had the effect of negating one of Battersea’s great strengths, the long throw.  The slickness on the ball meant that Battersea’s long throw specialists were unable to get the same purchase on the ball so were unable to launch balls into the box from the same distance as they normally would.  Despite this Cubo still had to ride out a bit of a storm after the opening goal as Battersea kept them pegged in their own box for large patches of the next ten minutes.  In previous seasons it is in this period that Cubo have conceded against Battersea but with Gaz looking authoritative under the aerial ball and the defence, marshalled by the Goughy/Ralph centre half pairing, looking committed the away side managed to ride out this period.  When Cubo did get hold of the ball they looked dangerous, with Martin’s pace in particular causing the Battersea backline headaches.  Cubo soon found themselves in unchartered waters as they took a two goal lead.  A quick throw from Hung gave Ben McG the space to get a cross in which Martin powered past the Ironsides keeper with a great header.  2-0 Cubo.  The home side appeared slightly shell-shocked, possibly slightly leggy from their exertions on the Saturday which Cubo had the benefit of avoiding but once again they enjoyed a dominant period after the goal.  First a strike from their ageing frontman drifted just wide of the top corner before the centre half got on to the end of a cross from the left but could only direct his header straight at Stewart in the Cubo net.  Either side of the keeper and it was a certain goal.  Coming out for the second half it was clear that the next goal would be key in deciding how the rest of the game would be played out.  Luckily for Cubo, this goal fell to them.  Once again the rain had a part to play as a pass back skidded off the surface, surprising the Ironsides keeper and his shanked clearance left Bradders with a simple tap-in.  As the game wore on Cubo were increasingly able to move the ball at will, and had greater ruthlessness be shown in the final third you felt another goal was there for the taking.  Another goal should have been there for the taking when a great reverse pass from Martin released Greg in the inside right channel but the wideman was pulled down in the box as he was about to strike the ball.  Despite what appeared to be three separate fouls taking place the referee decided against awarding a penalty to the dismay of the away side.  Cubo’s failure to get another goal almost came back to haunt them when Ironsides scored two late consolation goals.  The first was a well-taken volley by the Ironsides striker before a penalty was awarded for a foul by Hung in the box.  Despite appearing to get the ball, the ageing full-back did fly into the tackle and it was this that probably swung the refs decision.  The penalty was duly slotted away to leave Cubo with a nervy final few minutes which thankfully they made it through to secure a superb three points. 


Despite Battersea possibly suffering the effects of a game 48 hours previously this was still a great result for the Cubans against a side who will no doubt be in the mix later in the season.  Strong performances across the board but particularly from the backline who dealt well with everything thrown at them.


Goalscorers – Ben McG, Martin, Bradders

MOTM – Martin

Line-up – Gaz, Sads, Hung, Gough, Ralph, Bradders, Ben McG, Pykey, Martin, JPat, Greg Benson

Subs – Chris Grayson, Tom Hoops

AFC Cubo 1-1 Ripley Village Sat 16th August  

An interrupted pre-season meant that Cubo’s opening day fixture against Ripley Village also served as the first game of their pre-season, far from ideal preparation! The lack of match sharpness was clearly evident in the first ten minutes as Ripley looked the hungrier of the two sides before taking the lead when a poor clearance left the Ripley striker through on goal and his strike, which on another day would be a bread and butter save for PG Stewart, found its way into the bottom corner.  As the half progressed Cubo gradually grew into the game with JPat showing some much needed composure on the ball at the back and the Bradders/Pykey midfield pairing winning more and more of the ball.  The new front line were looking dangerous whenever the ball reached them and Oli Perkins was unlucky to be denied an equilising goal when his angled strike appeared to cross the line before being cleared but the lino and ref had other ideas to leave the score 1-0 to Ripley at half time. 

Coming out for the second half Cubo continued where they had left off, and soon found themselves on level terms.  Oli ‘Good Touch for a Big Man’ Perkins held the ball up well before releasing Martin in a gap created by a clever run by Harry T, and the Club Sec beat the onrushing keeper to the ball to poke a finish into the corner of the net.

With both teams appearing to be struggling with the pace of the game it became increasingly stretched and both sides had chances to win it.  Some trickery down the left from Harry Tulip saw him skin his full back before his cross was eventually scrambled clear when it looked sure to drop to a Cubo man in the box.  Further chances were to follow with DJ blasting over the bar when the ball fell to him invitingly on the edge of the box and Bradders will be having nightmares about how he failed to get his leg over the ball when it dropped to him on the six yard line with the goal begging.  At the same time Ripley were also looking dangerous and Cubo were thankful to PG Stewart for making an excellent reaction save from point-blank range late in the day to keep scores level.  The game finished with some controversy when the referee failed to award a penalty to Ripley for an alleged handball by Bradders to prevent a goalscoring opportunity.  In spite of this incident and the chances Cubo will feel they should have taken, a draw was probably a fair result and one from which Cubo can take a lot of positives. 


Goalscorer – Martin Ansell

MOTM – Pykey/JPat

Line-up – Gaz, Sads, Alan, JPat, Nick Flower, Ben McG, Bradders, Pykey, Martin, Oli Perkins, Harry T

Subs – Chris Grayson, Dave Wall, Oli Wats