Match Report – 1XI League vs Merrow (24.11.18) – 1-1 draw

Lineup: Hutchinson, Laing, de la Haye, Torr (Cooper), Davies (Tierney), Seymour, Peel, Cross, Guttridge, Perkins, Chadwick (Tulip)

Goals: Torr

Following the unbelievable 13-0 win against West End Village a week earlier, Cubo were in good spirits as they travelled across Surrey as league leaders to face Merrow.

With several new faces in their squad from the previous year, Cubo knew that they would be in for a tough away test and all the talk in the changing room prior to kick-off was around starting quickly and taking the game to the opposition. Unfortunately, as the game got underway, it was Merrow who started the brighter, with the Cubo defence being put under pressure from a combination of good wide play and pace in behind.

With 10 minutes on the clock, Cubo had not been able to get started and struggled to put together a sequence of 3 passes or more. It got worse soon after, with a scuffed clearance from Torr finding the Merrow central midfielder who was able to play a ball over the top of the back four, forcing Hutchinson to leave his box and attempt to clear the ball before the Merrow attacker could latch on to it. Unfortunately for Hutchinson and Cubo, the clearance cannoned back off the forward and luckily fell at his feet, leaving an empty net and Merrow deservedly ahead.

The remainder of the half followed in a similar manner, with the majority of possession being gifted straight back to Merrow at every opportunity, which resulted in several good chances being passed up by the home team. Towards the end of the half, Cubo did manage to hold off the Merrow pressure, with Seymour tirelessly working in the middle of the pitch and the forwards being to produce some of the football that had been on display throughout the first half of the season – one move in particular deserves a mention, with Cross and Peel moving the ball quickly in the centre of park, allowing Peel to find some space and play a pinpoint cross field ball over to Perkins on the right hand side, who was then able to lay it off to Laing to put the ball onto Guttridge’s head and agonisingly over the bar. Other than that there was little to report in the way of Cubo chances and the team were glad to come in at half time only the one goal down.

Every player knew that they could up their game and that they had to if they wanted to get anything from the match. The second half began as the first ended, with the the ball on the edge of the Cubo box and a resulting Merrow free-kick. Luckily, the reaction that was required followed soon after and Cubo started to get some luck out wide and particularly down the right-hand side, with Perkins, Chadwick & Guttridge all regularly interchanging and giving the Merrow defence their first real test of the afternoon. Unlike the first half, the game became an evenly matched contest, with several half chances falling to both teams – including one for Perkins from a Peel cross.

With an hour gone, a freekick was awarded after a clumsy challenge on the edge of the Merrow box on Torr. After a brief discussion between Peel & Cross over who should take it, Peel stepped up and put it whiskers over the bar, followed by his claim “if the goal was full size, that would have gone in!”. As time ticked by, it felt as if Cubo needed something to happen soon if they were to come away with at least a point and their reply followed soon after, with a deep free-kick on the right flank being swung over towards the back post by Peel and on to the laces of Torr / the Merrow defender, with the volley beating the goalkeeper and ending up in the roof of the net….1-1, game on!

Now back in the game and with a quarter of the game to go, Cubo believed they could nick the three points and brought on fresh legs in Tierney and Cooper. Chances feel to both teams as the game moved into its’ final minutes, with Cross firing at the Merrow goalkeeper for Cubo and de la Haye & Hutchinson marshalling the Cubo team when defending several free-kicks and corners. The final few minutes saw Tulip bring himself on to see if he could stretch his (dead) legs and create something, but unfortunately there was not enough time and the referee brought the game to an end with the teams all square – a point that the Cubo team can’t be too disappointed with against a strong and organised Merrow team.

A big month lies ahead, travelling to Ripley next followed by two vital games against Chessington & Westside, two teams who will also be fighting for the title come the end of the season.

MoM – Harry Peel. Constantly wanting & getting on the ball, creating chances from both open play and his dangerous set pieces. It was probably a good thing that the goal “wasn’t full size”, otherwise we wouldn’t have heard the end of it.


Match Report – 1XI League vs West End Village (17.11.18) – 13-0 win (Thirteen)

Lineup: Hutchinson, Seymour, Wensley, Torr (Laing), Frost, Peel, Connolly, Cross (Davies), Guttridge, Chadwick, Tulip (Perkins)

Goals: Guttridge 4, Cross 3, Peel 3, Perkins 2, Chadwick 1

As the autumn sun began to set behind the hallowed turf of Southfields academy, AFC Cubo took to the 3G knowing that a big win could propel them into top spot. They were to face a relatively unknown entity in West End Village, a newly promoted side who had been struggling for form sitting 2nd from bottom.

Cubo looked threatening and dominant from the get-go with Tulip, Chadwick, Peel and Guttridge picking apart a shaky and fragile looking back line. With 15 minutes gone a sweeping Cubo move gave Chadwick the chance to put them ahead. His shot went agonisingly wide, but the West End goalkeeper was late and dangerous, clattering into Chadwick, potentially causing some serious harm. Luckily, Chadwick hobbled away with only a dead leg and the referee, correctly, pointed to the spot. Tulip stepped up but fired wide for the first time in a Cubo shirt and the game remained 0-0.

Just 5 minutes later however, Matt Cross latched onto a searching ball from the back and drove towards goal. He finished well, slotting past the Goalkeeper to put Cubo in front. 3 minutes later it was 2. A smart move from the boys in blue culminated in a tidy, Chadwick finish.

With 10 minutes to half time a moment of controversy. Peel with a delicious lob from 18 yards out beat the keeper and defender on the line. The ball dropped in and Peel wheeled away to celebrate his 2nd of the season. Or so it seemed. The desperate West End goalkeeper claimed the ball had gone behind and not into the goal. This was due to a hole in the bottom of the net which was where the ball gone through after it had landed IN the goal. With the West End linesman confidently confirming the ball had NOT gone in, the referee had no other choice but disallow the goal. Luckily the decision would pale into insignificance.

A third came moments later, Jordan Guttridge getting in on the act with another good finish after leaving the hapless keeper on the deck. Cross added a 4th smashing the ball into the corner from a difficult angle. Peel scored the 5th with lovely volley and Guttridge the 6th with a gorgeous curling effort from just inside the penalty area.

A magnificent half for Cubo, pressing the ball in the attacking 3rd, playing confidently from the back and winning everything in the midfield. Perkins came on for the injured Tulip at half time and the mentality was to keep going and put an emphatic result on the board.

Cubo would surely have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas in the second half but no such respite was given to the dumbstruck opposition. A 7th from Guttridge, completing his hatrick, another pearler from Peel and Matt Cross rounding off his impressive hatrick with another fine piece of finishing.

Perkins took the Cubans into double figures following a mazy run and finish. Peel then grabbed HIS hatrick with a sumptuous volley past the forlorn goalkeeper and Guttridge grabbed his 4th after latching onto a fumble. Perkins finished off the mauling connecting with the ball and nearly the post with a header after a terrific delivery from Peel.

A scintillating attacking display from the home team with the most frightening fact being that it so could easily have been more. A special mention to Hutchinson and the solid back line too for keeping a well deserved 2nd clean sheet of the season. Controversy followed after the game as both old and current chairmen argued over whether or not this was a record result, all that matters though is that it was a result the rest of the league will have their eyes on – what a day!

AFC Cubo travel to Merrow this Saturday looking to solidify their place at the top of SEIFL as we move into the Christmas period.

MoM: Tough one when the result has been so emphatic and three hat tricks were scored, but Cross wins it for sparking the goalfest and being the driving force throughout.

Match Report – 1XI League vs Worcester Park (10.11.18) – 3-1 win

Lineup: Hutchinson, Seymour, Wensley, Torr, Davies (Frost), Shaw, Tierney (Connolly), Cross, Guttridge, Chadwick, Tulip

Goals: Tierney, Tulip (2)

Cubo made it 3 wins in a row on a very, very wet November afternoon, welcoming ex-Combined Counties Worcester Park to the Aspire centre. The lads were met with warm, sunny conditions on arrival for dugout duty, but it wasn’t long before the storm clouds gathered just in time for the warm up, and things only got worse from there.

Managers Torr and Tulip were able to name another strong squad and lineup, with Connolly taking a well-earned rest and the impressing Seymour slotting back in to the defence. Facing an unknown quantity in WP, pre-match chat was all about playing it safe and scoping out the opposition before using the width early in attack. By the time kick-off arrived, the monsoon had also started and both teams had to contain with a relentless downpour in the early exchanges. WP’s strengths were clearly in energetic youth and it was the pacy right winger who gave Davies an early scare with one sprint. Gradually though, the Cubans grew into the game with Cross and Chadwick showing great ability in driving at their man.

Cubo were finding space and chances began to come. First Tulip had a goalbound volley cannon off a back-peddling defender, and Guttridge had two close efforts from set pieces, Chadwick, Cross and Tierney were all threatening. It was the no. 9 Guttridge though who played a lovely 1-2 with Chadwick on the right before driving into the edge of the box and playing a crisp cross along the corridor of uncertainty in the penalty box to find Tierney, who scrambled the ball off about 3 body parts into the net to make it 1-0 Cubo. Soon after, Guttridge found himself clean through on goal, setting himself well and looking to arc the ball nicely round the keeper, but the striker saw his effort go centimetres wide. Tierney then went clean through and round the keeper only to sky the ball out of the Southfields cage.

With conditions now horrendous and the all-weather pitch struggling to cope with the surface water which was trapping the ball, players were becoming weighed down by the excess water and boots starting to weigh twice as much. WP found themselves level when the central midfielder, picking the ball up 30 yards out, drove a hard low shot straight at Hutchinson who adopted the classic cricket fielder position to gather the shot, but with the ball skidding all over the keeper saw the ball bounce off his gloves and into the goal. 1-1 and WP’s first effort on target saw them level. Half time came and the referee gathered both managers to ask if they were comfortable for the game to continue, and given the competitive nature of the first half it was only right to keep going following the wringing of soaking shirts.

The 2nd half was a lot more balanced with the rain relenting a little but ponds remaining on one side of the pitch. WP were threatening more and more from corners but Cubo were still getting the lions share of the attacking joy, with Tulip cutting inside and drilling a low shot which was saved by the keeper, only for Chadwick’s follow up to be offside. With Shaw snuffing out all danger from midfield and the defence, led by Torr and Wensley well, remaining resolute, Cubo remained relatively solid as the half went on. Connolly replaced Tierney (who had ran his arse off) and immediately began shifting the ball out to the wingers early, but it was a brilliant counter attack that took the Cubans back in front. Running after the ball following a cleared corner, Cross proceeded to run the length of the pitch chased by 4 WP players who couldn’t keep up with him, before he cut inside and drilled the ball across to Tulip who controlled and finished through the keeper’s legs. 2-1 Cubo and a goal that was all down to Matt Cross.

Cubo withstood a bit more pressure and introduced Frost who offered some natural width at left back to keep the ball in dangerous attacking areas. But it was Chadwick – a menace to WP’s left side all day – who once again drove at the full back and smashed a fizzing cross into the box which evaded all defenders except Tulip who again controlled and slotted home to grab his 9th of the season and close the game out.  There was still time for WP’s 2nd shot on target as their forward drove through and looked to have slotted home into the bottom corner, only for Hutchinson to redeem himself with a brilliant low save to keep the game in check as full time came.

Another great win in mental weather to mark two professional performances in two weeks, but credit to Worcester Park who are a good young side that will only improve. The lads were all buzzing to keep the run going as we get into the tricky winter months, but every man played a key role yet again.

Special shout out to the Southfields social club who let the lads in for post-match beers.

MoMChadwick just edged Cross with both playing key attacking roles. The marauding wide man deserved it after leaving his opposite numbers with nightmares to contend with for the rest of the weekend



Match Report – 1XI League vs NPL (03.11.18) – 3-0 win

Lineup: Touaita, Laing, Wensley, Torr, Davies, Shaw, Connolly (Tierney), Peel, Guttridge, Perkins (Chadwick), Tulip (Frost)

Goals: Tulip (2), Guttridge

With the rest of the league in cup action this weekend, Cubo had a chance to take advantage of their game in hand and rise to joint top of the Surrey Elite table with their local rivals Battersea. In order to do so, the Cubans had to travel over to Teddington (with the commute busy than usual because of some inferior sporting event going ahead at Twickenham) to take on previous league champions NPL.

This season, the NPL pitch lived up to Tulip’s billing and everyone was eager to get the game underway. The game got off to a slow but steady start from the Cubans, with plenty of the ball and little threat from the NPL side. The first chance fell to Cubo, coming from a partnership between two of the clubs longest standing players and a move that has been replicated on hundreds of occasions over the years, with Tulip standing the full back up on the left hand side before performing a couple of step overs to beat his man and sliding the ball across the six yard box for Perkins to tap into the NPL net. Unfortunately, on this occasion the linesman put a halt to the early Cubo celebrations with his flag raised aloft for a very tight offside call.

The left-hand side continued to bring joy to Cubo, however to little reward, with Tulip again beating his man on the outside and forcing a good save from the NPL keeper (although Guttridge is still moaning that the ball wasn’t squared to him) and Perkins having a penalty shout turned down for what looked to be a clear penalty. In a game like this, it is vital to make sure you take your chances when on top, otherwise the opposition have a chance to grow into the game and that is exactly what happened, with the busy NPL midfield starting to see more of the ball and create a few half chances. Luckily for Cubo, their back four and Tom Shaw, the pitbull in the middle of midfield, ensured that these chances were kept at a minimum and the NPL trio had little time to pick out the passes.20181103_154614

With around ten minutes of the first half remaining, a key 5 minutes for the game played out…with a ball over the top of the Cubo centre-backs making its way to the NPL right winger, who with acres of space looked destined to score. This was until out of nowhere, Cubo’s left back Davies, on his return from suspension, somehow got back and with an outstretched leg got a toe to the ball as the forward looked to pull the trigger, putting the ball out for a corner. The next attack saw Cubo down the other end and resulted in several corners coming their way, of which the second fell to Laing on the 18-yard box, who was able to get the ball under control and attempt a ball back out wide, only for his heels to be clipped and the referee awarding a penalty. Tulip stepped up and coolly tucked the ball away into the corner, putting himself as the clubs outright top scorer this season (which is no surprise seeing as that was his 3rd penalty so far). The half time whistle shortly followed, with Cubo confident that they move up a couple of gears and extend the 1 nil lead in the second half.

The second half began with NPL looking for a quick response, pushing their wingers higher and pumping balls long, which were proving difficult for Cubo to cope with as the sun began to set, hindering visibility somewhat. The first chance of the half fell to NPL, with a ball down the left allowing their forward in behind the Cubo defence and round Touatia in goal before squaring the ball across the empty net – luckily the Cubo defence had not given up and Torr was able to clear the ball on the line and Cubo narrowly escaped. For the next ten minutes, Cubo uncharacteristically struggled to keep hold of the ball and Tierney was brought on to add some energy and composure, of which he provided superbly.

The next goal was always going to be important and with Cubo having scored from four set pieces the week before and the long throw of Shaw in their armoury, a throw in from the edge of the NPL box allowed Cubo to put themselves two up and in control. Shaw’s throw was aimed towards Torr at the front post, whose challenge meant that the NPL defender could only head the ball back towards his own net, where Guttridge rose like a salmon above the NPL keeper to supply the final touch into the net. It felt like Cubo were now in total control, Peel was finding more and more space through the middle and any NPL charge was easily dealt with. That was until, a rare NPL entry into our box resulted in their forward being taken down and a penalty awarded. This was a big moment in the game, with 25 minutes left 2-1 would make it a nervy finish to the game, but Touatia came to the rescue and stood strong to save the penalty with his legs – a huge relief for the Cubo defence who were desperate for their first clean sheet of the season!

More energy was injected by Cubo, with Chadwick replacing Perkins on the right, which resulted in some nice interplay down that flank between himself, Laing and Guttridge. As NPL began to push more men up the field, Peel came into his own, picking up the ball and splitting the NPL defence with some exquisite passes, one of which provided the assist for the final Cubo goal – weighted perfectly with the outside of his right boot, the ball bamboozled the centre back and put Tulip through one on one, and after giving the goalkeeper the eyes, sent him the wrong way and the ball into the bottom left hand corner.

20181103_154638With twenty minutes remaining, Tulip sacrificed himself and his potential hat-trick by brining on Frost to sure the left flank. The game management from this Cubo team in the final quarter of the game was outstanding, keeping the ball and frustrating the tiring NPL team. With the game all but won, the key for the Cubans was to ensure they went away with a clean sheet as well as the three points, and this was guaranteed following some nervy moments in the final few minutes, with Wensley tracking back and blocking a close range effort and Touatia coping well with some tricky in-swinging corners.

All in all, this was an excellent performance from Cubo, with patience, quality and game management each on display as and when required. A big couple of months lie ahead, but with Cubo now only being held back from the summit of the league by goal difference, it is in their own hands and they should be confident of staying at the top moving forward through the season.

MoM – Tom Shaw. Epitomised the Cubo performance, with energy, aggression and leadership. Tom put a halt any NPL counter attack with his perfectly timed tackles and provided the base from which the Cubo attacks began.


Match Report – 1XI League vs Royal Holloway Old Boys (27.10.18) – 4-3 win

Lineup: Hutchinson, Torr, Wensley (Dickens), de la Haye, Seymour, Shaw, Cross (Brooks), Peel, Guttridge, Perkins, Tulip (Male)

Goals: Torr (2), Tulip, Perkins

Cubo welcomed last season’s Championship runners up to the Aspire on a noticeably colder October afternoon. After each side enjoyed close 2-1 successes at home in the corresponding fixture last season, and with both teams locked on 17 points – the expectation was that we were in for another close encounter.

A few absentees in defence saw previous 1’s Captain and recently married Ralph Wensley slot into centre half alongside de la Haye for his first game of the season, with manager Torr moving to right back and Seymour completing a new look defence at left back.

Pre-match chat was all about getting back to winning ways, not panicking as a team and individually getting back to the level seen in September. The first 5 minutes however were all Holloway, with the central midfield threats finding pockets of space and testing the Cubo goal with a few long range efforts. Gradually Cubo began to find their rhythm however, finding passes along the back line and affording Tulip and Perkins a few occasions to test their full back out. It was Matt Cross who sparked what was to be a dominant first half – collecting the ball in central midfield, Cubo’s no.7 drove forward with strength taking 3 Holloway players with him, before unleashing a powerful deflected shot just outside of the post. Moments later, Perkins threaded a fantastic ball through to Tulip after a typically mazy run, and the winger controlled and blasted a shot at the side netting. 0-0 but all Cubo who were enjoying wave after wave of attack.

Midway through the first half, Cubo were awarded a free kick on the attacking left side after some good persistence from Tulip and Peel. Peel stepped up and delivered a beautifully whipped ball to the back post and following loud shouts of ‘MARCUS’ – the manager planted a bullet header in the goal to put Cubo 1-0 up. After taking inspiration from Harry Maguire’s legacy in the World Cup, the titanium-headed Cuban had already notched his 3rd goal of the season. After another set of chances, it wasn’t long before Cubo had their 2nd – Tulip received the ball out wide left and following the usual stepover, sent a cross into the box for Guttridge which was nervously cutout back into the same wide position, and with neither Holloway defender reacting quickly Tulip was able to scoop the ball in between both players and draw a clear cut penalty. Cubo’s co-manager stepped up and calmly slotted home to put the baby blue army into a well-deserved 2-0 lead. An excellent, disciplined performance to a man and one of the best 45’s seen from the club in a long time with Holloway barely getting into the Cubo half.

Half time had been all about not panicking and continuing to play with assurance. However, it wasn’t long before Holloway were back in the game, following a long ball forward, a quick game of head tennis resulted in a loose bouncing ball at the edge of the box, and Holloway’s right winger drilled a brilliant volley past the outstretched hand of Hutchinson to make it 2-1. With the bit between their teeth the game had now taken a different vibe, and Cubo were now in a defensive mindset. Frustratingly for the Cubans the equalising goal was soon to follow, and once again it was a well-executed volley from Holloway’s midfielder, who banged one in from 20 yards over the head off Hutchinson – and what felt like the first two shots on target had resulted in a square game.

This season’s Cubo are made of strong character though, and despite Holloway being in the ascendancy the home team were quick to get back on top with the marauding runs of the wingers and advanced midfielders causing problems. Something had to give and eventually it did, as another pearler of a corner from Peel found the head of Perkins who bravely got in front of an inevitable smash from the keeper to put Cubo 3-2 up. Plans to get on top just like the 1st half were quickly dashed however when Holloway’s right back found free space to swivel superbly in the box and plant a header over Hutchinson. Yet again the scores were level and the game had turned into an absolute cracker.

Both teams continued to push and it was ultimately the home team whose attacking prowess from set pieces made the difference. Yet again it was Peel (following a brilliant save from the goalkeeper to stop one curling free kick from the no.10) – whose deliveries had been different class all day – crossing in another outswinging corner and there was only one steel-encrusted cranium that the ball was going to find. Torr’s header smashed into the goal, 2 goals for him, 3 assists for Peel and the game all but won. Some excellent last minute defending and added energy from Cubo’s subs brought the points home, and a batshit crazy 2nd half ended with Cubo finding themselves in 3rd place in the league, 3 points off the leaders. A superb performance full of character against a very good Holloway team who will be right up there whenever the return fixture falls.

MoMTorr. Cubo’s tungsten-headed leader just shaded the votes this week, defending well, attacking well and scoring well. Peel was just behind, selflessly providing 3 assists even though he may lose a top scorer bet with the manager, and allowing the club to forget about his terrible kit-washing skills.

Match Report – 1XI Cup vs Chessington KC (20.10.18) – 2-1 Defeat

Lineup: Hutchinson, Laing, Torr (Frost), de la Haye, Davies, Connolly, Cross (Seymour), Peel, Chadwick (Golding), Perkins, Tulip

Goals: Chadwick

After reaching the semi-final of the league cup in the 2017/18 season, the Cubans were hoping for another solid run with a chance of some silverware this year. And it was a replay of said semi-final fixture that would kick off this year’s campaign, as perennial bogey team Chessington welcomed the baby blue army to the Kingston Uni pitches on a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.

Cubo were able to name a very strong team and on a flat but compact pitch, but both teams started fairly cagily, with the stand out player in the early stages being Chessington’s pacy forward Marcel, who was stretching both the full backs and midfield with his dribbling on the ball. Cubo were struggling to get a foothold in the game with KC picking up the pockets of space in midfield and warding off any threats from Cubo’s wingers.

It was Cubo though who, against the run of play, found the opening goal as some intricate passing from defence to midfield found Matt Cross who played a brilliant first time angled pass from the halfway line down towards the onrushing Tulip. KC’s full back was unable to read the pass and Tulip found himself 1-on-1 with the goalkeeper, but instead of going for goal he played the ball across for the supporting Chadwick who took one touch and slotted home. 1-0 Cubo and a chance to settle into the game.

That chance wasn’t properly afforded to the Cubans though, as a simple through ball to KC’s onrushing striker saw Laing, Torr and de la Haye all get caught up with the forward to successfully clear the ball. To the away team’s bewilderment however, the referee pointed to the spot, and despite protestations from every player the penalty was given. It was KC’s danger man Marcel who stuck an unstoppable penalty into the side netting, and the game moved to half time as a fairly scrappy 1-1.

Despite half time intentions to do the simple things well, Cubo simply couldn’t get a foothold in the game and found themselves 2nd best in too many areas. Despite this, clear cut chances for both teams were at a premium, and it wasn’t until KC’s winger found himself with space outside of the box to stick a looping long ranger over Hutchinson’s head and off the bar to make it 2-1. A great goal albeit a placement in the goal the player didn’t look to mean…. The game ticked on in a scrappy manner until a KC corner was headed goalwards and stopped superbly by the outstretched upper arm of….Rob Davies. Not deliberate as the full back clearly tried to move his shoulder in front of the ball but failed, so the inevitable red card followed and Cubo’s job was made even harder. Marcel stepped up again and fired into the same place, however the ref called for another penalty to be taken given another KC player had practically ran to the penalty spot as well. Marcel stepped up and…. fired 5 yards wide!

Smelling blood, Cubo then went into all-out attack mode with 10-men, peppering the KC backline as the game switched to an end-to-end attack. But it wasn’t to be, and this year’s cup campaign was over at the first hurdle. Good luck to Chessington who are a very strong and solid outfit across the pitch, we’ll get you eventually.

Match Report – 1XI League vs Staines Lammas (13.10.18) – 2-2 Draw

Lineup: Hutchinson, Seymour, Laing, de la Haye, Davies, Connolly, Shaw, Tierney (Brooks), Chadwick, Perkins, Golding (Dickens)

Goals: De La Haye, Davies                                                                    

After a disappointing defeat the previous week, Cubo were looking to bounce back to winning ways against a somewhat recognisable Staines Lammas side. League new boys after dropping down a division, they had acquired plenty of talent since merging with Lalelham FC this year, historically a Cubo “bogey team”.

An unseasonable, mid-October scorcher greeted the players as they took to the hard, bobbly pitch at Lalelham Recreation Ground. Cubo started well with a couple of buccaneering runs from Chadwick on the right hand side and Golding down the left, an unfamiliar position for the seasoned full back.

Midfield maestro Connolly begun to control the game after 15 minutes of frantic action, linking up with Perkins and Tierney well and creating some good opportunities in the final third. However, Cubo’s final ball was lacking in quality with Perkins spurning a long range effort wide and Davies trying his hand from 30 yards on 2 occasions with both efforts certainly not troubling the Staines goalkeeper.

The break-through came 5 minutes before the half and it was the impressive Staines No. 9 who came up with the goods. The striker latched onto a speculative ball down the right channel showing pace and composure to finish and send Staines in 1 up at half-time. On reflection in the dressing room, Cubo had not clicked out of 2nd gear and were ambling along in the contest. They had played some good football but the lack of cutting edge was evident which had to change in the 2nd half.

The shift in intensity was obvious with the Cubo front 3 pressing high and applying pressure to an awkward looking back three. This pressure told after 15 minutes of the 2nd half when a beautifully flighted Connolly corner was headed down and in by Tim de la Haye with precision and power, 1-1.

Cubo begun to exert their authority on the game with Perkins and Chadwick creating some excellent chances but there continued to be stalemate until 10 minutes before the end. Again, it was Staines who took the lead with another ball down the line which their substitute winger gladly picked up and drove towards goal. His shot was saved brilliantly by Hutchinson but there was the Staines star No. 9 again, to tap home and give his side underserved lead.

Cubo begun to panic, crestfallen at the fact they could come away with not even a point to show from their strong 2nd half performance. However, it was Matt Laing who brought order the chaos around him. He calmly brought the ball down on the right hand side and floated an inviting cross toward the back post where Rob Davies had ghosted in, unmarked, to plant a beautiful header over the Staines Keeper and into the corner of the net.

The points were shared and Cubo, although disappointed not to win, escaped a damaging defeat. With results elsewhere being favourable, a break from the league and a trip to Chessington in the cup next week may be just the tonic for this slight dip in form.

MoM: Davies – mr dependable has been exactly that all season after switching to the unfamiliar left-back position, but he’s been superb, and deserves MoM for popping up with the equaliser (a header, from full back, would you believe it)

Match Report – 1XI League vs Spartans Youth (06.10.18) – 3-2 Defeat

Hutchinson, Laing (Tierney), Torr, de la Haye, Davies, Shaw, Connolly, Cross (Peel), Guttridge, Chadwick (Tulip), Perkins

 Goals: Own goal, Tulip

With an unbeaten September under our belts, Cubo looked to start October in the same manner against a young and energetic Spartans Youth, who got the better of us during pre-season.

On a miserably wet Saturday afternoon it was going to be key to get on top early and during the first five minutes it looked as if that may be the case, with Cubo putting some early pressure on the Spartans goal following a number of set pieces. Sadly, that was pretty much the only positive thing to say about the Cubo start and the following 15 minutes were something of a nightmare. After being dispossessed in midfield just outside the box, the Spartans striker began what would be a prolific 15 minutes for himself, slotting home well from 20 yards out to put the opposition one up.

Cubo hoped for a quick response but just couldn’t get going or hold onto the ball for more than a few passes, partly down the high pressing from Spartans and partly down to sloppiness from ourselves. After losing the ball in a dangerous position again, the Cubo defence were outnumbered and the Spartans right winger was able to pick out the clinical striker who, with his second shot of the game, scored again from the edge of the six-yard box. Now 2 nil down, it should have been time to regroup and shut up shop but the Spartans third followed shortly after following a longball over the Cubo back four was chased down by the high on confidence Spartans striker and was able to block Hutchinson’s clearance before cooly finishing from a tight angle into the open net.

The first quarter of this game could not have gone much worse for Cubo, but after such a strong start to the season there was still belief and plenty of time to get back into the game. The first meaningful Cubo chance was carved out after exploiting the right hand channels with Chadwick getting behind the defence before putting the ball across the six-yard box where Perkin’s couldn’t quite get enough contact on the ball and saw it slide past the far post. Cubo kept pressing and knew that a goal before half time could change the dynamic of the game completely, and it looked as if that would be the case after a deep wide free kick from Connolly wrong footed the Spartans keeper who could only palm the ball into the top corner. The referee seemed to have allowed the goal until, after what seemed like a long time deliberating, blew his whistle and disallowed it, claiming that Guttridge had impeded the goalkeeper. The referees whistle shortly followed to put an end to a half we can forget and hope is not repeated this season.

After a frank conversation in the changing room amongst the entire team, Cubo came out for the second half looking to start quickly and aggressively and that is exactly what happened. Our midfield began to see more of the ball and the pressure began to grow on the Spartans back four. There seemed to be a period where it was Cubo attack followed by Cubo corner over and over again, with our best chance falling to Perkins who lifted the ball over the bar as the ball fell to him at a set piece.

With the clock ticking and Cubo still goalless, it was time to inject some pace and energy into the game, with Peel and Tulip replacing Chadwick and Cross. Tulip immediately looked sharped and had success against the Cubo right back, while Peel started picking up the ball in some dangerous pockets of space. The Cubo goal eventually came with 25 minutes to go – Tulip collected the ball out wide and squared up the Spartans full back and cut inside before firing the ball across the six-yard box, where the outstretched leg of the Spartans centre back diverted the ball into the back of the net. Now there really was a belief that we could get back into this game and that belief grew even further after a flick on from a Cubo corner hit the arm of a Spartans defender and we were awarded a penalty. Tulip stepped up and calmly slotted into the bottom left hand corner to make it 3-2 with 15 minutes to go.

As the minutes ticked by, Cubo saw several half chances pass by and one great save by the Spartans keeper in particular kept them ahead going into the final few minutes after an exceptional touch / turn by Tulip. The game then slowed down to a halt following a very poor challenge on Perkins by the Spartans number 6, who was lucky to escape only a yellow card. A final chance nearly fell to Torr, who was narrowly beaten to the ball by a Spartans defender after Guttridge rounded the keeper and pulled it back across the box. Unfortunately, this was to be the last chance of the game and it finished 3-2 with Cubo coming away with nothing. This really was a game of two halves and despite the very poor start to the game, Cubo can be buoyed by the way they came out in the second half and took the game to Spartans. We have a tough set of fixtures ahead but if we can play like that consistently for 90 minutes in these upcoming games, we continue to be challenging at the top of the table.

MoM – Harry Tulip: starting on the bench after landing from Japan less than 24 hours earlier and changed the game, adding energy, pace and final product.


Match Report – 1XI League vs Horsley (29.09.18) – 5-2 Win

Lineup: Hutchinson, Tierney, Laing, Torr, Davies , Shaw, Connolly, Peel (Cross), Tulip (Guttridge), Chadwick, Perkins

Goals: Tulip, Perkins, Chadwick, Torr?, Connolly

Cubo looked to round off an unbeaten September by welcoming Horsley FC – back in the league after a 1 year hiatus – to the Aspire Academy on a hot and sunny autumn afternoon. Recognising a few familiar faces from the previously dominant treble winning side, the Cubans knew it would be a tough game and recent results for the oppo indicated so.

An incredibly strong squad saw Tierney drop back in at RB, with Laing stepping in for the previously ever-present de la Haye alongside Torr. The unofficial ‘best looking central midfield’ in the league remained unchanged, whilst Tulip just edged Guttridge for a starting position as part of the front 3 to offer extra width after both were absent from the previous game.

Both sides started brightly but it was Horsley who enjoyed the lions share of possession, with the central no.8 finding time and space, but with two strikers dropping deep to receive the ball, there was rarely any danger beyond Torr’s backline. One or two openings for the front 3 of Cubo showed potential to beat their men on pace, but it was Horsley who had the best chance of the opening 20. Horsley’s ‘Taz’ found himself in the 18 yard box, edging the ball past Laing who almost brought him down, but credit to the striker who kept going, playing the ball across the goal and following a brief goalmouth scramble, Cubo had Chadwick to thank for lunging himself in front of the ball and saving a certain goal.

Moments later, Horsley’s right winger pounced on some brief hesitation in the backline to find himself through on goal, slotting the ball past Hutchinson into the side netting to put Horsley 1-0 up, and given the strong reaction to the goal from both home and away players, it was a clear that we had a good game on our hands between two good teams. As they’ve done so often this season, Cubo didn’t panic – growing into the game with time afforded to the full backs and central midfield to start shifting the ball. Perkins and Peel both had shots on goal with Perkins in particular finding himself able to control and run at the defence. One such attack from Chadwick and Tierny saw the ball pulled back to Peel, who in attempting to get the shot off was tackled, cannoning the ball off Perkins’ face and on to Tulip who controlled and slotted home to make it 1-1. Not the prettiest, but after turning up one gear Cubo found themselves looking sharp.

The second half began with a markedly different tone from the Cubans who suddenly found much more time and ability to shift the ball quickly against a clearly fatigued Horsley. It wasn’t long before Tulip, collecting a pass from Connolly, knocked the ball and burned past his right back to slot in for Perkins who made no mistake in tapping home for 2-1, more chances followed for Torr and Perkins but Cubo needed another to kill the game off. Whilst appearing to knock the wind out of Horsley’s sails, the away team quickly found themselves back on level terms after some superb skill from Horsley’s striker, spinning Torr on the touchline and pulling back for Taz to make it 2-2.

The managers made swift substitutions to bring new energy into the game, and Guttridge made an instant impact, collecting the rebound from peel’s shot, before controlling and crossing for Chadwick to get ahead of his man and make it 3-2. Shortly after, Chadwick found himself beating the offside trap to cross for the still-forward Torr who claims to have made the final touch to take his tally for the season to 2 goals. After a long deliberation between linesman and referee (rumour has it the referee was just aghast that Torr would claim it as his own), the goal was confirmed and Cubo had all but sealed the win.

The 5th goal didn’t take long, as Connolly was gifted the ball following a miskicked pass from the Horsley goalkeeper who had found himself playing right back momentarily. The cultured midfielder controlled and slotted home with his left foot for his annual goal. The goal was given an extra poignancy later in the week with Connolly announcing he will be moving to New Zealand in the new year, after taking inspiration from the love, care and attention that Cubo old boy Martin Ansell was able to devote to his Mrs on the other side of the world since leaving the baby blue army.

The result left Cubo joint top of the table, with a very difficult run of games to come in a busy October, but no bigger obstacle than what this very good team have overcome this season.

MoM – Chadwick’s running, goals and assists tied for MoM with Connolly who dictated the entire game from Midfield.


Match Report – 1XI League vs Westside (15.09.18) – 2-1 Win

Lineup: Hutchinson, Laing (Tierney), de la Haye, Torr, Davies (Frost), Shaw, Connolly, Peel, Shedwick (Hannaway), Chadwick, Perkins

Goals: Perkins (2)

Sitting in fifth place, only 2 points behind the leaders, and with several of the teams ahead of them playing each other, Cubo had an opportunity to make a move towards the summit of the table this weekend. Westside, the only team to have won all their games this season, were today’s opposition.

Back at home on the hallowed artificial turf of the Aspire Cage, both teams who like to get the ball on the deck and play attractive football were hoping to get off to a quick start. It was Westside who in fact started the brightest, exposing some gaps in the Cubo team, playing between the lines, and creating a couple of early chances, one of which rattled against Hutchinson’s post, another drawing an excellent save from the keeper. After taking the lead in all of their previous 5 games this season, Cubo were in an unfamiliar position after a chipped free kick over the Cubo defence was latched upon by the Westside number 9 and fired into the Cubo net, putting them one behind early on.

This seemed to set something off within the Cubo team and they responded excellently, keeping the ball much better and taking advantage of the high Westside back line with Perkins, Peel, Shedwick and Chadwick regularly running behind in the channels. After spurning several chances, the Cubo pressure was finally rewarded with the equalising goal, with Perkins peeling off at the back post, bringing the ball down well and firing into the back of the next from a tight angle. Cubo went from strength to strength after that, with some liquid football (one move between Laing, Connolly and Shedwick in particular) and constant pressure on their back four, the momentum was ours going into the break.

The second half carried on in the same manner as the first ended, with the Cubo defence having plenty of time of the ball to start the attacks through the busy midfield duo of Shaw and Connolly. Perkins, pretty much unplayable all game, constantly got the better of the Westside centre backs and Peel started to find more and more space, picking up the ball in dangerous situations. As the game moved into the final stages it looked as if the game was going to finish with the points shared at Southfields and several Cubo changes were made looking to add some energy for the final push. One of these substitutes, Hannaway, found himself high on the left wing and had the composure to take time and spot Peel drifting in to the box, who nicked the ball just ahead of the Westside centre back’s outstretched leg, going down and winning a Cubo penalty with five minutes to go. Perkins with his confidence high stepped up and slotted home to make it 2-1, leaving a very organised Cubo having to withstand a barrage of long balls to ensure they came off the pitch with the three points.

Results amongst the teams around us in the top half of the league meant that we finished the weekend joint top of the league. The work rate of this Cubo team is exceptional and that, added with the high quality football that is being played, really should give the whole team confidence that we can challenge at the top of the Surrey Elite League come the end of the season.

MoM – Oli Perkins gave an all round near perfect Number 9 performance, superb hold up play and terrorised the Westside centre backs for the entire 90 minutes, topped off with a deserved brace before running a 1 hour 37 minute half marathon less than 24 hours later – what a guy!