Battersea Ironsides 1-1 AFC Cubo

Date: Saturday 12th September 2015

Venue: Battersea Ironsides FC

Starting line-up: Gaz Stewart, Greg Tett, Brad Wilkie, Alan Clarke, Ralph Wensley, Ben McGeown, Chris Pyke, Ian Clarke, Oli Perkins (c), Ryan Shedwick, Harry Tulip

Sub: Oli Watkins

Following last week’s tremendous 3-1 win against title contenders Balham Cubo entered another local derby with some much needed confidence after what has been the Club’s worst ever start to a season.  Patchy availability and an absent manager throughout August have not helped the cause but with wedding season finally out of the way a more positive autumn beckons.  Despite the absence of Elliot Connolly and last week’s hat-trick hero Martin Ansell, Cubo were able to name a strong squad with the gaffer strolling back into the midfield and Gaz Stewart returning in nets.

Playing down the hill in the first half Cubo found themselves pegged in by last year’s runners-up, whose unflinching commitment to getting the ball in the mixer doesn’t get the credit it deserves.  In previous seasons Cubo haven’t dealt with this well but with Gaz Stewart in commanding form, claiming anything that came near his six yard box and the rest of the side showing real sharpness the crowd were treated to the sight of Battersea going short on a throw-in, unbelievable scenes.

As the half wore on Cubo grew into the game and looked dangerous when they were able to move the ball across the pitch.  Brad Wilkie in particular was getting forward well from full back and one burst down the right saw him whip a cross in to the back post that Shedders was just unable to get a foot on.  The full back was involved again shortly afterwards when a corner dropped to him on the penalty spot however with the goal in front of him he was unable to direct his volley on target.  The goal came shortly afterwards when a Oli Perkins corner was nodded back across goal by Shedders and Harry Tulip, making an emotional return to his previous club, had time to control and finish to give Cubo the lead.  Out of respect for his previous employers the Geordie marksman celebrated conservatively, though he was seen discretely kissing the Cubo badge on the way back to the halfway line.

Even with Cubo slightly on top at this stage, Battersea’s ability from set-pieces makes them a very dangerous opposition and it was only through the sharpness of Alan Clarke and Ralph Wensley who were doing a great job mopping up any flick-ons that prevented Gaz Stewart from having to make a save.  Before the half was over there was still time for Brad to do his best Cafu impression, storming down the line and unleashing a rasping half volley that rippled the top of the net, and the returning Ben McG should have done better when a Tulip cross picked him out at the back stick only for the gaffer to shin his attempted shot straight back to the striker on the touchline.

Having played with the slope in the first half Cubo were bound to be up against it in the second half and this proved to be the case.  From the off Battersea were camped in the Cubo half and it was a case of backs to the wall defending for the boys in baby blue.  However with the Cubo backline continuing to excel in dealing with the aerial ball, beyond claiming crosses Gaz was not forced into a save until the 70th minute when the Battersea striker managed to get away from his marker and get a shot off which the big Taff parried round the post.  At the other end there was plenty of space for Cubo to attack but with the exertions of the game catching up with them the quality of pass was not there to release the front men.  Time and again Cubo won the ball back before gifting possession back to the home side in a very frustrating period of the game.

With 15 minutes to go it looked as if the game was going to be put to bed when a long throw into the box was flicked on by Oli Perkins and Harry Tulip reacted first and got boot to ball at full stretch but could only watch as the ball rocketed off the outside of the post.  With the game entering the final ten minutes the referee was increasing being called upon to resolve petty arguments around the pitch and it was rare for the game to flow more than a minute without some sort of foul being awarded.

With the home side chucking men forward the pressure was building but with no clear changes being created it looked like Cubo would be celebrating a repeat of last season’s victory here.  Unfortunately this was not to be, a long ball over the top saw Gaz Stewart’s clearance ricochet off of the Battersea forward who was left with the simple task of tapping the ball home to level things up with six minutes to go.  A gut-wrenching goal to concede for the Cubans, and particularly for the previously flawless Stewart.  The final six minutes were played out without any further incident other than another wild left-footed strike from Ben McG when much better options were available.

Probably a fair result in the end based on the balance of the two halves, though Cubo will feel disappointed that they did not secure the three points having led for so long.  Another positive result though against a side who are always very tough opponents and will no doubt be in the mix as the season progresses.

Goal: Harry Tulip

MOTM: Ralph Wensley

Rufus Shedwick – Debut Album

The highly anticipated new release from AFC Cubo’s Ryan Shedwick, entitled ‘Why Didn’t You Pass It To Me?‘ is going to be available in physical and digital formats from Monday the 23rd of March.

The full tracklisting and album artwork is detailed below:

IMG_0198

1. Send it Shedders

2. Maaaaate

3. Barbaric part 1 (ft. DJ Pyke)

4. He’s Back on the Stag

5. Why Didn’t You Pass It To Me?

6. New Wheels

7. Fred Perry (Outlet Store)

8. Barbaric part 2

9. Proper Rascal Haircut

10. Abysmal

11. NikeTown

AFC Cubo 2-3 Project Clapham

Date: Sat 7th February 2015

Goals: Harry Tulip, Ben McGeown

Cubo once again found themselves on the wrong end of a tight game in a local derby against newly promoted Project Clapham.  With pitch conditions making it difficult to play much football it was the away side who started the brighter keeping the home side pegged back in their own half.

The first chance fell to Clapham when a long ball saw the left winger through on goal, however a superb last ditch tackle by J-Pat prevented a clear goal scoring opportunity.  Cubo grew into the game with Chris Pyke finding himself in some good shooting positions only to see the ball end up in the same patch of woodland behind the goal both times.

Cubo’s best chance of the half fell to Harry who was released by a long pass into the left hand channel. The Alan Pardew loving Geordie accelerated away from the full back into the area but the angle was tight and the keeper was able to party his effort to safety.

Clapham a biggest threat was coming from their set-piece, which were being delivered with quality on every occasion. Cubo had received a couple of warnings before a contested free kick was whipped into the box and headed home from six yards out giving Brad in goal no chance.

The home side struck back in the second half when an Ian Clarke corner was nodded in from two yards out by Harry Tulip.  The Cubans would have backed themselves from this position having started the better of the two sides but they were soon behind again when another contentious decision by the ref saw Clapham awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Brad could once again only watch as the ball was curled into the top corner to make it 2-1.

The score was extended when Pogo was adjudged to have handled a cross that he had little chance of moving out of the way of and the Clapham skipper tucked it away with aplomb.  A real sucker punch for the Cubans.

A late goal by Ben McG following excellent work down the left by Harry Tulip made the last few minutes interesting but Pykey was unable to keep his late header beneath the bar.
A tight game that could have gone either way. Cubo will rue the dropped points but it was Clapham who scored at the decisive points in the game to reverse the scoreline from the first fixture between these two sides this season.

AFC Cubo 1-2 Tooting Bec

Date: Sat 17th January 2015

Venue: Barn Elms

Starting line-up: G. Stewart, D. Wall, N. Flower, S. Graves, R. Gough, E. Connolly, I. Clarke, J. Patterson, M. Ansell, O. Perkins, J. Flower

Subs: S. Thethy, B. McGeown

Goals: M. Ansell

MOTM: E. Connolly

Cubo’s bad run of form continued as they fell to a third consecutive loss against local rivals Tooting Bec. On a boggy pitch the home side played a majority of the football taking a deserved lead when Martin brought down a Jake Flower flick on before calmly slotting home across the keeper from twelve yards out.

Tooting were struggling to get into the game but were gifted an equaliser when a missed clearance gifted their frontman a clean run on goal and he beat Gaz to level the scores. The goal galvanised the visitors and they should have taken the lead when another error left Gaz one on one with the striker.  Despite a good initial stop from Gaz a goal seemed certain when the rebound dropped at the strikers feet 3 yards out but he somehow managed to trip over the ball allowing Sam to get back and clear.  A howler.

Tooting were more positive from a footballing perspective in the second half, attempting to get the ball down in what were difficult conditions for any tekkers-based baller.  The home side paid for their failure to take advantage of their first half dominance when a deep cross to the back post was dropped by Gaz under pressure, leaving the Tooting centre half with a simple tap in.

The home side pushed forward with Martin and Oli getting in behind on a couple of occasions only to find a well drilled Tooting back line defending their box well. The final minute almost saw Cuno level things when Martin beat his man and fired in a low cross which struck a tooting defender before hitting the post and rolling across the line before being cleared to safety to prevent a simple tap in for the on rushing Ben McGeown.

A disappointing result for Cubo who will be kicking themselves for not winning a game that they played the better football in and created a far greater number of chances than the visitors.   A more clinical performance will be required from Cubo to break the poor run against bogey side Reigate Priory next week.

Reigate Priory 0-5 AFC Cubo

Date: Sat 24th January 2015

Venue: Reigate Priory FC

Starting Line-up: G. Stewart, D. Wall, N. Flower, S. Graves, R. Wensley, B. McGeown, E. Connolly, A. Clarke, M. Ansell, O. Perkins, H. Tulip

Sub: C. Pyke

Goals: Clarkey, M. Ansell, O. Perkins, H. Tulip

Cubo returned to form with a comprehensive 5-0 victory over Reigate Priory.  Clarkey opened the scoring with a well struck shot from the edge of the box before two goals from Martin in quick succession gave the visitors a comfortable lead going into half time.  The game was put to bed when Oli Perkins bundled in at the back post halfway through the half following good work down the left by Harry Tulip.  The Geordie marksman then broke his recent scoring drought with a well-taken fifth in the final minutes of the game.

A reassuring return to form for the Cubans, albeit against opponents whose last game was over a month ago.  An additional bonus was the appearance off the bench of midfield enforcer DJ Pyke, making his first appearance following a gym/GF related lay-off.

AFC Cubo 1-1 Reigate Priory

Starting line-up: L. Arnold, A. Clarke, N. Flower, R. Wensley, H. Nguyen, B. McGeown, E. Connolly, I. Clarke, J. Patterson, D. Wall, O. Perkins

Subs: R. Sadler

Cubo returned to action following a weather enforced fortnight off against the side who had dumped them out of the 1st round of the League Cup, Reigate Priory.  A litany of absences in the frontline meant that Dave Wall and utility man Jonny Patterson were pushed into unfamiliar attacking positions to support Oli Perkins.  A tad unfair on J-Pat who has been performing excellently in the centre of the park of late but much like other great British footballing talents such as Paul Warhurst, Phil Jones and Phil Neville, his versatility means he is often the first player to get pushed out of position.

The home side started well and should have taken the lead when J-Pat missed a header from the six-yard line when it looked easier to score.  With the home side playing the majority of the football Reigate looked to the threat posed by their top scored Byrne and he duly delivered twenty minutes in, eluding his marker from a corner to head home at the back post.  A bad goal to concede from Cubo’s point of view but testament to the predatory powers of the Reigate number 10 who always seems to get on the scoresheet against the Cubans.  In fairness, Reigate had looked very dangerous from both of the corners that preceded that one and only a goal line clearance had prevented them taking the lead previously.

The home side now faced an uphill battle against a side who were clearly content to batton down the hatches for the remainder of the game.  The second half continued much as the first had left off with Cubo dominating possession but letting themselves down with a lack of quality in the final third.  They almost found themselves two goals down when Byrne nicked the ball off the CUbo backline before racing through on goal on an angle.  Luckily for Cubo Arnie pulled off a superb save to push the strike over the bar.  As tension built in the game it proved to be too much for the newly introduced Reigate sub.  Spoiling for a row from the moment he walked on the pitch he got himself entangled with Hung and pushed the Cubo veteran to the ground.  The referee decided that this constituted raised hands and sent the Reigate man off.  A long way to come for a ten minute run out.

With the extra man, Cubo poured forward and would have equilised had it not been for an athletic save from the Reigate keeper to claw away a goal bound header from Oli Perkins.  The big striker had his head in his hands five minutes later when the ball fell to him 8 yards and he lashed his effort wide of the post.  It was appearing ominous for the home side as the time ebbed away but there was still time for an unlikely hero to step up to the plate.  A long throw into the box was flicked on by Nick Flower and arriving late at the back post was Alan Clarke to poke a finish under the keeper and rescue a point for Cubo.

A frustrating game for Cubo who will have felt that they should have got more from a game they dominated but in the end were lucky to get a point from.  Hats off to Reigate who have proven to be a bit of a bogey side for Cubo, particularly at home where Cubo have yet to beat them in 4 seasons of football in the Surrey Elite.

Man of the match: Elliot Connolly – kept things ticking over in midfield and dictated the game for the home side.

Durban United 2-3 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Date: Saturday 26th October, 2013

Venue: Dundonald Rec, Wimbledon

Starting Line-up: Arnold, Lye, J. McGeown, Utting, Fraser, Hooper, Golding, Salty (C), Crisp, MTM, Keegan.

Subs: Spokes, Cooper

In the week that Fergie’s memoir was released, AFC Cubo wrote a crucial chapter in their bid to avoid relegation this season and in the absence of Henry Neville, there was no hairdryer treatment in the changing rooms either. Three points was no more than the boys in baby blue deserved, but it was achieved in a typically torturous fashion against the premier league’s bottom side, Durban United.

In front of a partisan crowd, Cubo started tentatively, a result of having gone behind first in all but one of their previous games this season. Unfortunately it was a trend that would continue as an errant banana skin made life difficult for in-form Rick Utting. Durban’s winger’s harrying bore fruit and he nicked the ball before delivering a peach of a cross that was buried in the bottom corner past a helpless Arnie.

As has happened often this season though, going behind was the catalyst for an improved Cubo performance and slowly the midfield triumvirate of Hooper, Thethy and Golding imposed themselves on the game. Strong work by the latter two afforded Hooper time and space in the final third and he unpicked the lock that was Durban’s defence beautifully finding Keegs to slot home.

Back on level terms, Cubo continued to push forward. Eloquent wordsmith Crisp flashed a cross along the six yard box, which Keegs and MTM somehow contrived to put closer to the corner flag as an open net gaped. Further chances came and went as Utting swung a superb corner onto an unmarked MTM ‘s head, but he couldn’t work the keeper, and marauding right back Jez found substitute Tel Spokes in space only for the striker to poke wide.

The deadlock was broken early in the second half as Jim McGeown, enjoying a solid game at left back, produced an inch perfect slide rule pass that found the centre-forward in acres of space. Unfortunately, it was a Durban centre-forward and he raced through before gleefully scuffing home.

It was a huge ask for Cubo as they had to find the reserves to drive them on after going behind again, but a challenge that they were up to helped by an injection of enthusiasm from super-sub Milan Cooper.

Cubo’s attitude was rewarded and the equalising goal came from the unlikeliest of sources. Good work down the left from Keegs meant the ball found its way to Hooper who, ever reluctant to shoot, preferred to hurl himself to the ground (Editor: Stonewall penno) in search of a penalty. Fortunately, skipper Salty was in more decisive mood and he was on hand to lash the ball into the corner. Historians say that the last time Salty scored, Facebook did not exist, women could not vote and dinosaurs roamed the continent of Pangea.

The sands of time slowly ebbed away and with them, Cubo’s hopes of victory it seemed. The team pressed but the pitch that more resembled Stephen Hendry’s face and not the green baize on which he made his name made it difficult to create chances. It could not have been more appropriate then that the winning goal was an ugly one. Excellent determination by Milan down the left presented an opportunity to Tel and he headed home with near enough the last action of the game to snatch the win and leave the South Africans distraught.

Final Score: Durban Utd 2-3 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Goals: Keegan, Thethy. Spokes.

Assists: Hooper (x2), Cooper

Man of the Match: Hooper/Salty tied.

Match Report: Rich Crisp

Barn Elms Utd 3-4 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Date: 5th October, 2013

Venue: King George’s Fields

Starting Line-up: Arnie, Haddon, Jingle, J. McG, Utting, Hooper, Taylor, Thethy (C), Crisp, Smith, MTM.

Subs: Lye, Neville, Keegan.

Cubo 2s finally got off the mark at the 5th time of asking on Saturday, and in process temporarily becalmed the furious demonstrations of disgruntled supporters who marched in protest at Hooper’s reign.

With the availability of the club finally in excess of 30, players were unfortunately left out of the 2 match day squads and this point was made in the pre-match discussion.

After Ralph withdrew injured, Jim McGeown slotted in alongside his namesake Ingle, and the Golden Boy came into midfield. In attack Hennerz was extremely unlucky to drop to the bench.

With an energetic midfield trio, Cubo were hopeful of putting Barn Elms on the back foot and in the early stages they largely did this. Oli had some dangerous raids down the left wing, and MTM looked a threat despite some robust challenges from the all-action Elms defenders who definitely had a tendency to go to ground.

Barnes, who impressed in the double-header against Cubo last season, took the lead mid-way through the 1st half when Cubo failed to properly clear and a pass released the United attacker in the inside right channel to slot across Arnold.

Cubo did not allow their heads to drop though and with Crisp continuing his excellent form, there was always a threat being offered every time the Baby Blues were able to link more than 3 passes.

The message at half time was simple, keep playing, our fitness will tell and take our chances when we get them. This was proved correct 10 minutes into the second half when a lethal counter attack from a Barn Elms corner saw Taylor start and finish a 5 pass move to sweep home from close range.

1 goal quickly became 2, when Jingle, who enjoyed a really imposing game at Centre Half, met a long ball and volleyed in behind the Elms back line to release Crisp. The wiry pace-merchant made no mistake with a shot that befitted his surname, drilling in at the keeper’s near post to notch his first of the campaign.

After replacing the entire front 3 with Lye, Keegs and Hennerz, the latter made a mockery of his role as a sub, with an outstanding half an hour cameo. First he almost created a goal with a dangerous cross from the right which resulted in a corner. This set-piece was delivered with real pace onto BFF and pre-game pooing partner Jingle, who thumped a header into the top right corner.

As is Cubo’s style this season, they then conceded immediately as the Elms centre half used all of his height to flick on a free kick with a back header that Arnie was unlucky not to claw out from under his crossbar.

Undeterred by this minor setback, Cubo then scored again in what was an increasingly pulsating half of football. That man Neville was once again the source with a superb chip from the corner of the box that nestled into the opposite corner. 4-2 Cubo and the game surely put to rest…. JOKES.

4-2 was 4-3 when another set-piece saw a very deep and understandably nervous Cubo backline allowing a deft flicked finish from close range to reduce the arrears.

Barn Elms tails were now up, and after the tireless Salty connected with fresh air from 6 yards from another wicked Neville delivery, another corner was won by the hosts deep in injury time. Elms were possibly unlucky not be awarded an equaliser following a desperate goalmouth scramble but with the referee and linesman unsighted, a goal was not awarded and Cubo escaped with a fortuitous, but on the basis of play, thoroughly deserved  3 points.

Final Score: Barn Elms Utd 3-4 AFC Cubo

Goals: Taylor, Crisp, Ingle, Neville.

Assists: Crisp, Ingle, Neville, ?.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Ingle with a welcome return to top form after a difficult outing in the previous week.

AFC Cubo 2nd XI 3-4 Brentnal

Date: Saturday 28th September, 2013

Starting XI: Arnie, Frase, Wensley, Jingle, J. McG, Taylor, Hooper, Salty (C), Crisp, Neville, MTM.

Subs: Haddon, Milan, Jez.

Cubo sadly fell to their fourth consecutive league defeat against last year’s runners-up Brentnal, and in familiar fashion it was a game they might have got something from on another day.

With MTM out of retirement and leading the line as if he’d never been away, Cubo started the game brightly. However Brentnal are always a well organised side who look like they’ve played together years, and that’s mainly because they have. They took the lead after Cubo failed to react to a short corner and the ball was driven in low at Arnie’s near post from just inside the box.

A one goal lead became two mid-way through the first half when a very swift succession of one-touch passes saw the hosts horribly opened up and Bentnal’s supposedly deepest sitting midfielder ran untracked to finish.

Cubo were stunned, but had fashioned chances of their own with MTM firing across the box where Crispy couldn’t control a sharp volley and both wide men getting into dangerous positions.

After half time Cubo were back in the game in fortuitous circumstances. A hopeful ball from the left channel appeared to be rolling to the keeper, but Captain Salty burst from midfield and managed to toe-end the ball before being clumsily upended by the keeper. MTM kept his never to side foot the ball firmly past the keeper to reduce the deficit to one.

Almost immediately Cubo were level in unlikely fashion. A neat move from the left saw Hennerz pick up the ball between the lines, and he rolled the ball into MTM, 25 yards out. Hooper called for the ball to be moved on one more and Neal dummied the pass allowing Hoops to shoot (!), first-time, unerringly into the top right corner to make it 2-2.

Cubo were bouncing and as well as half the 1s squad they were being cheered on by a random convoy of burly eggchasers who were offering vociferous support.

Sadly the optimism didn’t last long as after losing possession in their own half, Brentnal released their striker in the inside right channel and he made no mistake with a clinical strike across Arnold and into the bottom left corner.

Three became four when another excellent long range strike crashed into the roof of the net before Milan scored on debut, pouncing to head home after Jez’s wonderful curling shot had bounced off the upright.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 2nd XI 3-4 Brentnal

Goals: Neal (Pen), Hooper, Cooper

Assist: Thethy, Neville

Man of the Match: Hoops

Bookham FC 3-1 AFC Cubo

Date: Saturday 21st September 2013

Starting Line-up: Bradders, Sadler, Gough (c), Grayson, Jackson, McGeown, I. Clarke, Shedwick, Ansell, Coates, J. Flower

Subs: Golding, Utting, Sabby

Cubo were left empty handed following their poorest performance of the season in a game in which they struggled to impress at either end of the pitch. Having dominated the early stages of the game with good possession football, Cubo were wasteful in front of goal and were duly punished when a defensive error allowed Bookham to slip in and put the hosts in front.

Cubo struggled to respond to the shock of going behind and had their deputising keeper to thank for keeping the deficit down to one as he produced an incredible double save following more sloppy play. The boys in baby blue were still creating chances but continued to be wasteful in front of goal and it was left to Rob Sadler, careering forward from full back, to level the scores with a calmly taken finish following a beautifully weighted through ball from McGeown.

This was the point at which Cubo should have pushed on and turned their superiority into goals, but more sloppy play led to them conceding just before half time as they went in 2-1 down.

The second half continued much as the first had, with Cubo working themselves into good positions without producing the final ball. They were again punished with ten minutes to go as a long free-kick found its way into the back of the net. It was a bitter pill to swallow for the visitors who were targeting three points from the game but deservedly left with nothing. Cubo’s players will know that they must sharpen up their performances in future weeks if they are to start moving up the league.

Final Score: Bookham FC 3-1 AFC Cubo

Goal: Sadler

Assist: B. McGeown

Man of the Match: Martin Ansell