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

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.

Yateley 1 AFC Cubo 4

Starting line-up: G. Stewart, N. Flower, S. Graves, O. Watkins, R. Wensley, E. Connolly, I. Clarke, J. Patterson, M. Ansell, O. Perkins, H. Tulip Subs: A. Clarke, B. McGeown

Goals: O. Perkins (2), N. Flower, M. Ansell

Another strong first half performance saw Cubo secure all three points against struggling Yateley United on Saturday. Four changes to last weeks side saw Sam Graves, Clarkey and Nick Flower return to the starting line-up, with Alan coming in on the bench.
Weather conditions on the day were pretty horrendous with the rain pissing down and a strong wind that Cubo were playing into in the first half. The strength of the wind meant that the away side found it difficult to get out of their half as goal kicks and clearances were holding up in the air and Yateley benefitted from this, keeping Cubo in their own half. Yateley may have started the game at the bottom of the table but of the eight games they have lost six have been by a single goal and they have run all of the top sides close. They certainly didn’t start like a side at the bottom, working the ball well down the flanks and forcing a couple of early corners. However these were dealt with well by Cubo who enjoyed a height advantage across most of the side. Following a scrappy start the away side began to settle into the game and found themselves ahead when the ball was worked to Harry out on the left who beat his man before delivering a cross that Yateley failed to deal with and Nick Flower was on hand to make it 1-0. The lead was doubled with the very next attack as a superb reverse pass from Jonny Patterson again found Harry out on the left. Yet again the Geordie’s quick feet saw him beat his man before his cross found an unmarked Oli Perkins for a simple tap in. Cubo were now in full control of the game and looking dangerous whenever they went forward, particularly down the right where Ralph was getting into som dangerous crossing positions. Unfortunately for both sides the referee made the decision to send off the Yateley centre half for a reckless challenge in the middle of the park. The kind of decision you see in the Prem regularly but rarely dealt with so severely at this level. This inevitably had an pact on the game with the home side dropping off allowing Cubo plenty of time on the ball at the back where Oli and Sam were able to knock the ball around without much pressure on them. Cubo extended their lead early in the second half when Oli Perkins followed up a rebound to grab his second of the game and fifth of the season. The game then saw it’s second red card when Gaz Stewart pulled down the Yateley striker who was clean through on goal….an unavoidable decision for the ref to make and a bizarre decision by the Cubo stopper given that even at 3-1 the game was pretty much in the bag. The volatile Welshman has been in great form this season and his absence through suspension will be a big blow to the Cubans. Rumours circulating on the Cubo supporter’s online forum that he had deliberately sought a suspension to accommodate another spa weekend away with his missus have been quashed by the player…..A quick reshuffle saw Ben McGeown take Gaz’s place inbetween the sticks sporting a pair of Gabor Kiraly endorsed trackie bottoms. The lack of warm-up clearly had an effect as the usually dependable keeper was caught in no-mans land whilst half-committing to a long ball over the top, indecision which the Yateley striker exploited with a well-taken lob. Cubo had further chances to extend their lead with the Yateley keeper saving well when Martin had been played through on goal and Harry going close but there were to be no more goals.

A good win for Cubo against a Yateley side who will feel hard done by the first half sending off which effectively ended the game as a contest. Despite this the away side were well worth the win whlist it was eleven on eleven with some strong performances from Ralph, Elliot and Harry. With a majority of the league taking part in the Cup the win lifts Cubo to third in the league ahead of some tricky fixtures ahead, including the Club’s bogey team Virginia Water.

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

Sporting Duet 4-2 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Date: Saturday 21st September, 2013

Venue: King’s House Sports Ground, Chiswick

Starting XI: Bush, Fraser, J. McGeown, Wensley, Ingle, Wall, Hooper. Thethy (C), Neville, Taylor, Keeegan.

Subs: Haddon, Glenn.

Cubo Reserves ventured North (!) of the river this week to the excellent facilities of the King’s House Sports Ground. In opposition were Sporting Duet, last season’s league top scorers and a side that did the double over Cubo in 2012/13.

Cubo started the game brightly, and the gameplan of working the Duet defence hard to stop them monopolising possession was working well, forcing Sporting to go uncharacteristically long from the back.

Although Cubo were very hesitant to go long themselves against a side featuring about 10 six foot plussers, they ironically took the lead when Bushy’s long kick forward was allowed to bounce by a hesitant Duet defence. In the ensuing confusion, Stevie T latched on to the bouncing ball and used the outside of his brand new Adidas Copa Mundial (Mikey Cain take note) right boot to lift a composed finish into the top corner.

Unfortunately this bright start was cancelled out immediately, when a corner from the left wing found the head of Duet’s biggest player inside the 6 yard box. He made no mistake with his downward header and parity was restored.

Despite a couple of uncomfortable moments resulting from long balls in the channel between right back and centre half, Cubo were more than matching their opponents. After Bushy produced a couple of good saves to keep the scores level, Hennerz made it two goals in two with a quite brilliant finish. After some incisive passes saw the Baby Blues find Keegan just inside the home side’s half, he boy from Boro cleverly delayed his pass before rolling in Neville down the left side in behind the high line of Duet. Moving with considerable grace, befitting his All Saints Autumn/Winter 2013 styling, Henry cut into the box before lofting a wonderful dinked finish over the onrushing keeper. A superb goal which allowed Cubo to get some half time drinks on board holding a 2-1 lead.

After squandering a lead in their previous outing, Cubo were well aware of making a solid start to the second half and the energy of Salty combined with Wall and Hooper making a number of challenges in midfield saw Cubo holding a good footing. Haddon replaced the tiring Keegan and moved to the right side, with Taylor now operating in a central position.

Unfortunately, as has been the case too often this season, Cubo fell behind after an individual error. Ralph, man of the match last week, was caught out by a hopeful ball forward and as the ball squirmed past him, the Sporting striker rushed in on goal and made no mistake.

Cubo again responded well and were within inches of being clean through, only to see the final throughball or squared pass just being underhit. Cubo were made to pay when an excellent last ditch block from Fraser was ‘cleared’ woefully by Hooper and the Duet right back, up on the counter, converted from 10 yards.

As Cubo became more stretched in search of a deserved equaliser, chances were appearing at both ends. Henry beat two men but his curled finish from an angle was far to close to the keeper, while a Wall drive from 20 yards was helped over the bar.

At the other end Bush produced an excellent save to claw a cleanly hit half-volley from the edge of the box out of his top right hand corner.

With minutes left Duet scored their 4th when a thrown in from the left wing saw an untracked runner waltz through a crooked Cubo back line, and convert.

Final Score: Sporting Duet 4-2 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Goals: Taylor, Neville

Assists: Bush, Keegan

Man of the Match: Salty, just pipped Dave by one vote, after putting in a hugely effective shift as the link between the front 3 and the midfield.

Another really tough loss to accept for the 2s, but as in the previous weeks we are genuinely playing some good stuff with lots of width in our play, and a real attempt to pass through the team. Despite the lack of points there are many causes for optimism, especially as Duet will be right up there at the end of the season. Cutting out individual errors at the back, and showing a bit more care in the final third will see us get what we deserve.

AFC Cubo 2nd XI 1-2 AFC Battersea

Date: Saturday 14th September, 2013

Venue: Barn Elms Sports Centre

Starting XI: Van der Light, R. Jones, Wensley, Nguyen, J. McGeown, Wall, Hooper, Thethy (C), Crisp, Durrant, Spokes.

Subs: Fraser, Neville, Taylor.

Cubo 2s took on experienced campaigners AFC Battersea on Saturday, hoping to register their first points of the season, at the second time of asking, following last week’s strange defeat to new boys Brentside.

A strong 14 was available, and that was in the absence of the likes of Jez, Utting, Jacko, Perkins, Keegs and Jingle-all-the-way.

Cubo started brightly although the two Battersea central midfielders form one of the better partnerships in the league and a need to get tight to numbers 14 and 10 was paramount.

Battersea enjoyed the better of the attempts on goal in the first 45, although in truth they were very much long range efforts that were straight down the throat of the retuning keeper Brett VdL.

Cubo were having some joy down their left with Jim and Henry D linking up very well, although the lack of quality when it came to the final ball was the only blot to their first half copybook.

Before the game the gaffer talked about the fact the game would be very tight, and scoring the first goal, it was felt, would be absolutely crucial. As it happened, Cubo broke the deadlock on 65 minutes when Neville, on for his namesake Durrant down the left flank, scored with his very first touch to convert Crisp’s inviting low cross from the right wing.

Cubo were now buoyant and skipper Salty was denied in a 1-on-1 by a fine stop from the Leeds United shirt wearing keeper. However despite looking to protect what they had with Stevie T replacing the first team covering Wall, and Frase slotting in at full back for Jones, the baby blue red army were struggling to keep possession and subsequently the visitors, cruelly sporting a brand new strip that looked extremely familiar to followers of this website, poured forward.

The equaliser came when a promising Cubo break was snuffed out and with men out of position a cross from the right found its way to the back post where Hung was just unable to keep a powerful shot from creeping over line.

Despite the need for calm heads, the home side were still struggling to replicate their incisive first-week football on a regular basis. With 5 minutes to go Battersea slung a diagonal ball into the Cubo box and a brave header just beat the onrushing keeper, kissed the inside of the post, and agonisingly rolled over the line.

A tough defeat for the second consecutive weak for the 2s. A bit more savvy game management to see out matches like this will be crucial in a very competitive league where all the sides will feel they have a legitimate chance of victory each week. Sporting Duet, an easy on the eye side who enjoyed a good season in 2012/13, are next up on the 21st.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 2nd XI 1-2 AFC Battersea

Goal: Neville

Assist: Crisp

Man of the Match: Ralph – an imposing performance from the returning centre half, who formed a very solid partnership with Hung.

AFC Cubo 1-1 Yateley United

Date: Saturday 14th of September 2013

Cubo were again left with a feeling of two points lost after conceding a late equaliser for the second week in succession. Against last season’s champions, the Baby Blue Army produced a lacklustre first half performance during which they relinquished possession far too easily and invited pressure from their opponents.

Cubo struggled to gel at all on the ball in a first half in which they failed to create any meaningful chances and which saw Yateley dominate for large periods. On more than one occasion Cubo were thankful to the big noisy Welshman in goal for some excellent saves, most notably a stunning one-handed effort down to his right when unsighted from a close-range header. Although wasteful in possession, Cubo were defensively solid and matched their opponents physically and Yateley were lucky to end the half with 11 men after their central midfielder escaped with only a booking following a ‘series of indiscretions’.

Cubo were much-improved in the second half and deservedly took the lead when Clarke turned on a long throw inside the box and the ball ran to the ‘fitter’ Flower who produced a superb snap finish into the top left corner. After the goal Cubo were able to retain possession much better and seemed to settle into their football, moving the ball around the defence and midfield with added sharpness.

An excellent defensive display, spearheaded by the outstanding man of the match and soon-to-be engaged Oli Watkins stepping in for the absent skipper, looked to have earned Cubo a well-deserved victory until their curse of conceding late struck again. It appeared to be a foul on Stewart when he was challenged for a loose ball, but the referee allowed play to continue and the subsequent shot found its way via a Grayson boot into the Cubo net.

It was a devastating blow for Cubo who had looked on course for three points. Again, concerns will be raised about the inability to keep the ball and to convert possession into chances. However, they will be buoyed by an excellent defensive display and a more positive second half performance.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 1-1 Yateley United

Man of the Match: Oli Watkins