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