AFC Cubo 2-2 Abbey Rangers

Starting XI: Biscuit Tett, Rob Sadler, Rich Gough (c), Joey D, Joke Pat, Ian Clarke, Mark Bradley, Rufus Shedwick, Nick Coates, Martin Ansell, Terry Spokes.

Subs: Alan Clarke, Paul Every

Cubo were within whisker of pulling off an unlikely three points in their first home game of the season against a much-improved Abbey Rangers side. There were only seconds left when a ball pumped forward from Abbey found its way through to the striker to push the ball beyond a helpless Biscuit to deprive the boys in baby blue of what would have been an impressive if not undeserved victory.

For large parts Cubo were second best in this game against an Abbey side that knocked the ball around better and seemed to get to grips more quickly with the overgrown surface. Cubo had taken the lead against the run of play after ten minutes when J Pat coolly converted a penalty awarded for a foul on Joey D in the box. Unable to withstand the continuing onslaught from Abbey, the scores were level when some sloppy defending allowed the Abbey winger to run unopposed onto a through ball and slot the ball easily into the net.

Perhaps thankful that they were still in the game at half time, Cubo improved significantly in the second half although they remain concerned by their inability to keep the ball under pressure. Cubo were rewarded for their improved perfomance on the hour when the energetic Alan Clarke released the excellent Coates to cross for another star performer, Ansell, who had seemed to have held onto the ball for too long before calmly finishing in the corner of the net for a superb first goal for the club.

Cubo did well to maintain the pace and were denied what looked like a certain penalty for a foul in the box on Ian Clarke. The job looked to have been completed with some resolute defending from the excellent Joey D and an outstanding performance from Captain Richard Gough, capably aided by great goalkeeping by the deputising Biscuit. However, the last kick of the game dealt Cubo a cruel blow and left them with a feeling of two points lost rather than one gained.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 2-2 Abbey Rangers

Man of the Match:

AFC Cubo 4-2 Abbey Rangers

Date: Sat 30th March 2013

Venue: Addlestone Moor

Line-up: Gaz Stewart, Rob Sadler, Andy Strickland, Hung Nguyen, Richard Gough, Mark Bradley, Ben McGeown, Jonny Patterson, Jake Flower, Greg Tett, Ryan Shedwick

Subs: Sabby Sabahatin, Eddy Jackson

Cubo made the now familiar trip down to Addlestone Moor to fulfil their home fixture against Abbey Rangers, who had kindly offered to host the game after Barnes had been unable to accommodate a 3pm ko.  Injury and Easter weekend absences meant that Eddy Jackson, Greg Tett and Sabby were brought back into the fold, though the side retained a familiar feel to the one that turned out against Yateley 3 weeks previously.

With the normally excellent surface showing signs of wear and tear it was clear that Cubo would have to adapt the passing game that has served them well during previous visits to Abbey.  Choosing to kick with the wind in the first half the intention was clearly to get the ball forward early and force the game to be played in Abbey’s half.  The wind was making it difficult for Abbey to clear their lines, and coupled with some aggressive pressing by the front-line Cubo were able to regain possession in some dangerous areas in the Abbey third.  The first clear chance fell to Shedders who did well to get on the end of a Jake Flower cross from the left only to see his effort pushed wide of the post by an excellent save by the Rangers keeper.  Greg Tett then popped up in acres of space in the inside left channel but could not generate enough power in his finish to trouble the keeper who gratefully picked up the gift-wrapped back pass.  The tricky Scot was not to be denied though and when released in the same area lifted a finish over the on-rushing keeper to make it 1-0 Cubo.  A well-deserved lead for the Cubans after a positive start.

Whilst the rejigged front-line appeared to be clicking the same could not be said of the rejigged backline.  Abbey’s decision to push their big number 5 higher up the pitch onto Cubo’s centre halves was creating holes in the man for man system and led to the equalising goal.  The Abbey number 7 was given too much time in the middle of the park to clip a seemingly innocuous straight ball behind the Cubo defence and after failing to clear their lines the ball dropped twice to the Abbey striker who made no mistake to level the scores.  Cubo continued to have the better of the contest following the goal and were soon back in front when a clumsy challenge by the Abbey defender on Jonny Patterson in the box allowed the referee to award a penalty.  Going against many lesser players’ (Henry, etc..) beliefs, J-Pat picked himself up from the turf to side-foot an unstoppable strike into the top corner.  2-1 Cubo at half time.

Despite having the wind against them Cubo made a good start to the second half but were undone when a sloppy pass in the middle of the park gave the Abbey winger a clear run on goal and his shot deflected off Goughy to loop over a stranded Gaz Stewart.  2-2.  Eddy Jackson and Sabby were introduced at this point to add some fresh impetus to the side who once again appeared to be their worst enemies when it comes to conceding.  The goal buoyed Abbey who, with the wind behind them, were able to keep Cubo penned in their half for long periods and a succession of corners and long throws rained in on Gaz Stewart’s box.  However, as against Yateley, the Baby Blue backline were able to weather this storm through a combination of luck and stout defending.  The next goal would clearly be crucial in deciding the fate of the game and it came under slightly controversial circumstances.  A corner ‘whipped’ into the near post was controlled by Flower with what appeared to be his hand before he and Sabby were unceremoniously dumped to the turf by a pair of robust challenges.  The referee had seen enough and blew up to award Cubo their second spot kick of the game.  Abbey were understandably angry that the handball had not been awarded prior to the foul being given but the referee would not be swayed.  This gave J-Pat a chance to put Cubo back in the lead, which he duly did, coolly sending the keeper the wrong way to make it 3-2 Cubo.

With the gusting wind was making it difficult to clear their lines with any conviction the dribbling ability of Ryan and the newly introduced Sabby meant that Cubo had a real threat when they could get the ball forward.  Jake Flower had a great opportunity to put the game to bed when he latched onto a through and had the trigger pulled only to see the ball taken away from him at the last second by a superb recovery challenge by the Abbey centre half.  Unfortunately for the defender in question the respite this granted Rangers did not last long as with a couple of minutes to Jake Flower again raced clear of the high defensive line and this time was able to flick a precise finish past the keeper to make it 4-2 Cubo.

Abbey could well have scored in the limited time remaining as lackadaisical defending by Cubo saw the ball flash across the box twice, both begging to be tapped in, before the referee blew up for full-time.

The cold and blustery conditions probably contributed to an error count that was significantly higher than would normally be expected in games between these two sides and Cubo probably played the conditions slightly better than their opponents.  Not a vintage performance in that respect but the front line looked dangerous throughout and the defence stood up to another aerial bombardment in the second half.  Stand-out individual performances came from Gaz Stewart, Jonny Patterson and Jake Flower who provided the spine of a performance that was good enough to secure 3 points on the day.

Goals: Greg Tett, Jonny Patterson (2), Jake Flower

Man of the Match: Jonny Patterson

AFC Cubo 2-2 Abbey Rangers

Date: Saturday 7th January 2012

Starting Line-up: Gaz Stewart, Eddy Jackson, Goughy, Rob Sadler, Tom Hooper, James McGeown, Mark Bradley, J-Patterson, Ben McGeown, Andrew Noble, Simon Daunter

Subs: Chris Gray, Oli Watkins

Cubo started the New Year sitting in a very respectable 2nd place in the league (albeit having played quite a few games more than most of the sides around them in the league) and looked to continue their good form against mid-table Abbey Rangers.  The first fixture between these sides had ended 0-0 after a very even game which saw Cubo produce their best 45 minutes of football of the season in the first half before falling away in the second half where the home side probably felt they should have nicked it.  With skipper Oli Watkins returning from his mid-season vitamin D boosting session in Australia and Chrissy Gray getting a rare respite from babysitting duty Cubo were able to name a very strong bench.

With the pitch showing signs of wear and tear following the mickey mouse kickabout that the groundstaff had scheduled prior to Cubo’s game, a game of passing football was never going to materialise.  The early exchanges were testament to this as both sides struggled to get the ball down on the bumpy and sticky surface.  The first chance fell to the home side when Noble broke through a tackle to leave himself clean through on goal.  The Rangers keeper did well to get off his line to block Noble’s effort but the ball span up nicely for Ben McGeown though his blocked volley was never on target.  His subsequent efforts to pick up the loose ball led to him picking up a dead leg which he never recovered from and saw him replaced by Chrissy Gray after 25 minutes.

The change coincided with Cubo’s best patch of the game.  Having struggled to get the ball down on the deck in the opening period J-Pat and Bradders were beginning to find their range spreading the ball to Jim and Hooper on the flanks.  The first goal came soon afterwards when J-Pat picked out Daunter on the right touchline, who beat his man before delivering a peach of a cross to the back stick where Noble was at full stretch to direct his header past the Rangers keeper to make it 1-0 Cubo.

With their tails up Cubo added a second soon after, more good work down the right side involving Sadler and Hooper led to Chrissy Gray putting in a block which put Noble clean through on goal.  The big man made no mistake this time round, slotting his finish beneath the onrushing keeper, 2-0 Cubo.  The home side continued to dictate affairs with James and Hoops able to get forward with good effect.  The only threat to the home side appeared to be the Rangers keepers wind assisted kicks which were causing Cubo issues, leading to a couple of hairy incidents.  That being said, aside from some good takes from corners, Gaz Stewart had remained relatively untested in the first half, though unfortunately he was picking the ball out of his own net with the half time whistle approaching.  A well worked move by Rangers saw Cubo’s backline pulled out of position and a nicely weighted pass released their striker who steered his finish past Gaz to give Rangers the ideal fillip before half time.

The goal changed the dynamic of the game completely as Rangers emerged in the second half reinvigorated, whereas the home side looked a pale imitation of the side who had raced into a 2 goal lead.  With the festive period appearing to catch up on some of the Baby Blue Army the game was becoming increasingly stretched, leaving Noble and Daunter isolated up front and creating plenty of space for Rangers to play in.  Rangers were pushing their full backs on to good effect and the space being afforded to their big centre midfielder was allowing him to dictate affairs.

Cubo were playing a dangerous game and almost paid the price for it when the ball broke to a Rangers player whose effort had Gaz but not the post beaten.  With the away side pouring forward there were chances for Cubo to put the game to bed but time and again the ball was given away cheaply.  The introduction of Watkins to the backline helped to steady the ship, the skipper making his first touch a real statement of intent – going straight through the Rangers striker.  Despite this Cubo’s inability to hold on to the ball meant that the ball was continually coming back at the backline who were not being given the time to get out of their own third.

The goal had an air of inevitability about it when it came and was symptomatic of the second half.  Possession was given away cheaply allowing Rangers to work the ball into the box, and with Cubo failing to clear their lines Rangers levelled the score with a minute left on the watch.

A fair result overall given Rangers dominance of the second half.  Whilst the pitch made playing football difficult Rangers showed in the second half that it was possible to look after possession and Cubo will need to learn to protect leads better than that if they have any intention of maintaining their league position.  Despite the disappointment at throwing away a two goal lead, especially given the timing of the equiliser, there were some positives for the home side, particularly in the 20 minute period before half time where they looked threatening every time they got the ball down and they will hope to produce this in greater spells in next weeks fixture against in-form Reigate Priory.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 2 -2 Abbey Rangers

Goals: Noble (2)

Man of the Match: Noble

Match Report: Benny Mac

Abbey Rangers 0-0 AFC Cubo

Date: Monday 29th August 2011

Starting line-up: Neil Clark, Sadler, Patterson, Jackson, Watkins (c), Hung
Nguyen, Ben McGeown, Ian Clarke, Chris Gray, MTM, Noble

Subs: Northy, Bradley, James McGeown

One of the implications of last years promotion is the guarantee of a game every
bank holiday Monday, something that will test squad availability given the jet-set life-styles of certain members of the club. Luckily for the gaffer a strong squad was available to pick from with Clarkey no.1 and Clarky no.2 coming into the starting eleven.

In contrast to Saturday Cubo made a bright start, with the quality of the surface
allowing them to move the ball around with confidence, allowing Sadler and J-
Pat to get in advanced positions in the Abbey Rangers half. Cubo were getting
particular joy down the right side but time after time the delivery into the box
failed to beat the first man allowing the aging Abbey Rangers backline to clear.
Some well worked moves created some good shooting opportunities but Cubo
were unable to fully test, their best effort an attempted lob from Clarkey which
was comfortably saved by Abbey Rangers stand in keeper. A couple of corners
aside the hosts had shown very little going forward and Clarky had yet to make a
save of note.

Cubo continued to press at the beginning of the second half but without the
fluency in possession that they had shown in the first half, and their failure
to score in the opening period was beginning to look like it might be costly as
Abbey Rangers grew into the game. The home side were centimetres from
taking the lead when an in-swinging free kick looked destined for the far corner
until Northy somehow managed to flick the ball onto the post and away. Whilst
Cubo could consider themselves lucky not to be a goal down from this it was
soon the hosts turn to be counting their lucky stars. First a header from Jim McG, arriving late at the back post, was cleared off the line and then with 5 minutes to go Chris Gray somehow put the ball wide from 6 yards out with only a defender on the line. To be fair to Chris, a man raised on the striking exploits of Dion Dublin and Noel Whelan is hardly going to have seen much decent finishing in his formative years.

Final Score: Abbey Rangers 0-0 AFC Cubo

Overall a decent point for Cubo following Saturday’s disappointing performance
and should draw confidence from the first half in particular where they played
some excellent football.

Man of the Match: Rob Sadler / Jacko (joint winners)

Scorers:

Report: Benny Mac