Lineup: Hutchinson, Shedwick (Laing), de la Haye, Torr, Davies, Shaw, Pyke (red card), Peel, Chadwick, Tulip (Perkins), Guttridge
Cubo looked to carry on their excellent start to the season travelling to Kingston University to take on a Chessington team that they were unable to get the better of in 3 attempts last season. Games against this opposition are always tough but exciting, averaging 6 goals a game last year. This game however, although very competitive was much less open and far cagier affair right from the outset.
The Cuban’s defence were well prepared for the onslaught of long balls up to the two big Chessington strikers and coped well during the first half, keeping any Chessington chances to a minimum. As the half progressed, Cubo began dictate the tempo of the game and found success from using the men out wide and regularly switching the play. After getting behind the Chessington back four and creating several half chances, the first goal of the game came from a superb cross field ball from Shedwick, the Cubo right back, to Tulip who made no mistake in lifting the ball over the keeper, giving Cubo a much deserved one goal lead. For the remainder of the first half it felt as if a second goal could come, unfortunately it didn’t but the very organised Cubo side went into the break feeling as if there were the better side.
Unfortunately, the second half didn’t start in the way the first half had finished, with Cubo allowing a long punt down the middle split their defence and the Chessington striker finished very well to level things up. For the next ten minutes Cubo became sloppy but managed to withstand some constant Chessington pressure. Cubo then began to get back to the level they were playing at during the first half, moving higher up the pitch and getting the front four on the ball more and more.
On the hour mark, a second yellow for Pyke coming from a slightly late challenge that he had to make, meant that Cubo had to see out the rest of the game with ten men. As expected, this lifted the heads of the Chessington players and the next 30 minutes became a backs to the wall job for the whole Cubo team, with Peel dropping deeper in the centre of midfield and Chadwick & Tulip becoming more conventional right and left midfielders respectively. The final third of this game showed the change and development of this Cubo side – the character, resilience and togetherness of this team was outstanding. Torr and de la Haye dealt with the aerial threat and the work rate from our midfield and forward players meant that Chessington were limited in the chances they had, even creating several of our own. The last few minutes were nervy, particularly with a disallowed offside Chessington goal, but Cubo held on and came away with a point that in the circumstances felt more like 3.
Here we are sat on 10 points after 5 games, 7 points more than at this stage last season. There is a lot of belief within this squad and we look forward to carrying this momentum into the next set of fixtures.
MoM – Marcus Torr dominating in the air against two strong Chessington strikers.