AFC Cubo 2nd XI 2-1 Claremont AFC

Date: Saturday 10th November 2012, 2pm KO

Venue: Wimbledon Common Extensions

Starting XI: Gaz Stewart, Dave Wall, Ralph Wensley, Alan Clarke, Jim McGeown, Tom Hooper, Salty, Conor Callaghan, Pete Hill, Stevie T, Pete Smith.

Subs: Matty Kilner, Ben Rushall, Rich Crisp.

The Cubo 2s have had a difficult start to the season and went into this November fixture with Claremont still seeking their first win of the season, despite a very encouraging preseason. Pete was able to name arguably his strongest 14 of the season with Gaz Stewart back from his studies and back in nets, while a spine of Alan &Ralph, Salty & Conor and Stevie and Pete Smith up top looked very good on paper.

Dave Wall was asked to play at right back where his composure and desire to get on the ball gave the team a good platform to play out of defence, especially given the fact that the opposition only had 10 men for the duration of the match.

Cubo were able to move the ball comfortably, using the extra man intelligently although the boys in Baby Blue were still guilty of trying to force the killer ball a little bit early. Pete Smith was buzzing around into the channels and with Stevie T dropping in between the lines to pick up the ball and link play, there were plenty of options for Cubo’s ball players – particularly Conor who was showin for the ball at every opportunity.

The deadlock was broken midway through the first half when a fine ball from Ralph down the inside right channel found both Hooper and Smith in behind the Claremont backline. The latter, despite carrying the burden of a prematch Nando’s, was able to get their first and although his first time effort was well saved, he calmly rolled the rebound in from a tight angle. 1-0 Cubo.

The lead was soon doubled when another move down the right saw Hooper again evade his marker. He squared the ball to Smith who forced another good save from the keeper. Stevie T was able to pounce on the rebound and find the onrushing Wensley who had Rolls-Royced up the pitch from centre half to crash the ball into the roof of the net with his supposedly weaker left foot.

Claremont forced a good save with his foot by Stewart after the ball was given away, but the keeper was left with little chance just before half time. The typically busy Thethy had a moment to forget when a blind pass from midfield went straight to Claremont’s lone striker who duly advanced on the Cubo goal before slipping the ball to his left where the arriving player converted to reduce the arrears.

Cubo had been pouring forward and might have put the game out of sight but instead they found themselves with a solitary goal advantage at the break.

Understandably nerves set in a little bit in the second half with Cubo playing a bit more directly in an attempt to ride out the win. Matty Kilner and Rich Crisp were introduced and freshened the side up, with attempts from both men scrambled clear by the visitors. Pete continued to threaten and second half substitute Ben Rushall and Jim were offered space to move into from full back.

Despite failing to score again Cubo were relieved to ride out the majority of the second period without incident and confirm a much needed and deserved three points.

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

Scorers: Pete Smith, Ralph Wensley

Man of the Match: Ralph – a goal and an assist from centre half and an assured display alongside Alan at the heart of the defence.

Manager’s Thoughts: “Pleased to finally get a deserved win under our belt. We showed character to ride a nervy final 10 minutes. Great performances through out and looking forward to building on it next week.”

Match Report: Thom Hoops

Claremont AFC 1-0 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Date: Saturday 14th January 2012

Starting Line-up: Fake Clarky, Luke, Alan, Joe, Noodle, Trev, Salty, Burt (Seb Brain), Pete Hill, Stevie T, Jim Dennison

Sub: Seb Brain

Cubo travelled to the Clapham region of Siberia to honour their away fixture against Claremont in the most inhospitable of conditions. Cubo were seeking to secure a double over their mid-table opponents following a hard fought 1-0 victory at The Theatre of Elms in the second game of the season and simultaneously lift themselves away from the relegation zone and raise spirits before the cup semi-final next week.

The boys in baby blue sought to impose their superiority on the game in the opening stages, but were increasingly frustrated by a lack of fluency in possession, no doubt not helped by a thawing bobbling mud bath of a surface. In spite of this, the away side was increasingly dominant in the first half.

When Cubo were able to get the ball down, some impressive attacking down the left and interplay between Mr T and Jim Dennison up front were causing the Claremont central defenders problems. Half way through the first half, Jim did excellently to wriggle away from his marker to bear down on goal, his shot rolling mere inches past the post.

Minutes later a flick from Stevie sent Jim through again. This time the keeper made an excellent save only to see the rebound fall invitingly to Mr Peter Hill inside the six-yard box. Inexplicably, almost certainly in an attempt to prove his self-styled tag of being ‘great in the air for a small man’, Peter Hill tapped the ball up and headed it towards the net as the Claremont defender swept the ball clear. Whilst replays showed that the ball was clearly over the line, it was unlikely that the referee or the Claremont linesman was going to give it.

Following a half-time break that saw Seb replace the injured Burt, Fake Clarky demonstrate his usual petulance towards the official and a stirring barking of orders from Field-Marshall Salty, Cubo came out seeking the all important goal. However, with Cubo increasingly taking the aerial approach, Claremont centre half and Pascal Cygan lookalike was able to clear convincingly in the air.

Chances were of a premium in the second period with some flowing Claremont football fashioning the best of those that were created, despite excellent performances at the heart of defence from Joe and a less clumsy looking Alan. With only seconds left and the referee opting to play-on with Claremont having been flagged offside, the home side broke through with the striker applying a cool finish to take all three points. In the angry exchanges that ensued, Cubo’s skipper was reprimanded by the referee and a supporter was ejected, in a scene reminiscent of the SPL at any game at any time of the year.

It was a cruel ending to a game that Cubo on balance had not deserved to lose and where both teams had struggled to play their passing games on a difficult pitch. However, Cubo can take a positive performance in many areas into their game next weekend as they seek London Cup glory.

Final Score: Claremont AFC 1-0 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Man of the Match:

Match Report: Real Clarkey

AFC Cubo 2nd XI 1-0 Claremont AFC

Date: Saturday 17th September, 2pm KO

Starting Line-up: Neil Clark, Luke Haddon, Rick Utting, Pally, Alan Clarke, Trev, Denno, Salty (c), Bradders, Stevie T, Pete Hill

Subs: John Glenn, Andy Burt, Banksy

Denno gets his lean on

The 2s and 3s arrived at Barn Elms with the majority of the pre-match excitement focussed on the new kit. It was worth the wait, as was seeing Denno turn up with a 2 inch nail driven through the front tyre of his 1975 racer. It is special; from the sleazy red velvet Lotto patch all the way down to the padded white bit on the socks. Salty completed the look with a fetching white sweat band to win Barn Elms best dressed. The match was played on Cubo’s new pitch, staked out carefully before the game by Pally and Stevie. With a good trim, it will be lovely to play on, which bodes well for the passing game all three Cubo teams like to play (aside from the interference from the Oak at the far end which we have been assured will be cut back).

Taking to the field after a pre-match chat from Pally centred on concentration and getting the ball out to the wide men, Cubo started brightly, releasing Trev early on the left wing to run at the Claremont right back. With Trev linking up well with Pete, Claremont were immediately pushed onto the back foot, and after some nervous early moments from the keeper including a fumbled catch and some poor kicking, it seemed only a matter of time before Cubo went one-up. With Stevie winning nearly all flick-on’s for Denno and Pete to run on to, it was only some desperate last-ditch defending that kept the score level. A salvo of corners from Pete and Denno added to some long-range shooting from Trev kept Claremont on the back foot throughout the opening 30 minutes.

However, with the quality of Cubo’s final ball slightly lacking, Claremont began to gain a foothold, and Luke and Rick were called upon more and more as the half went on to support the excellent Alan and Pally in the centre. The first half finished level, with both sides feeling they could have perhaps done more with a little extra composure in the final third.

With the rain now hammering down, the half-time team talk was taken under the shade of a convenient tree. After Clarkey’s quite frankly pathetic tantrum: ‘onevoiceonevoiceonevoice’, the overall consensus was to keep playing the same way and to concentrate on keeping it tight at the back. With Banksy coming on for Pete, and Andy for Trev five minutes later, Cubo started strongly and exerted more and more pressure on the Claremont back three. Salty and Bradders were performing like a pair of dogs hunting in a pack, refusing to let Claremont play, and Rick and Luke were composed on the ball, feeding the midfield well with passes to feet. When Bradders released Andy down the left who turned his man, he was able to loft in a cross to the back post for Stevie to nod it in to a gaping net. 1-0 to the goodies.

Claremont still pressed and Clarkey was called into action 3 times in as many minutes, making three superb flying stops with no sign of chocolate wrists. It mattered not that all three chances were deemed offside, the saves were still made. Alan Clarke was again unfortunate to have what seemed from the sidelines a perfectly good goal disallowed following a superb leap from an accurate Denno corner. With ten minutes remaining, Glenn replaced Denno, and with Banksy holding the ball up superbly and occupying the Claremont defence almost single-handedly, the clock was run-down for a well-deserved and hard fought victory. With a week off next week, the 2’s can look forward to the rest of the league knowing they have beaten a team who twice caused problems in the corresponding fixtures last year.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 2nd XI 1-0 AFC Claremont

Man of the Match: the composed and hard-working Luke Haddon

Goal: Stevie T

Match Report: John Glenn