Brentside 4-1 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Date: Saturday 7th September 2013

Venue: Wandsworth Common

Starting XI: Arnie, R. Jones, Nguyen, Fraser, J. McGeown, Wall, Hooper, Salty (C), Utting, Crisp, Oli.

Sub: Jez.

The 2s got their Wimbledon District League, Premier Division, campaign underway with the short trip (for some of us anyway) to Wandsworth Common to face newly promoted Division 1 champions Brentside, who looked a physically big and experienced side.

Despite 2 late drop outs on the eve and morning of the fixture, new manager Hoops took a good squad and was optimistic of a strong result to kick off the season.

Looking to get in behind a particularly big backline, Cubo could have taken the lead inside 120 seconds when a ball across the face of goal from the effervescent Crisp was turned onto the post from just a couple of yards out from Skipper Salt Dogg.

Cubo were playing at a good tempo, working the ball wide effectively, with front man Oli Perkins drifting into the left wing channel and consistently rolling his marker and leaving him for dead.

Despite an imposing start, the Baby Blues went behind midway through the first half. Brentside won the ball in midfield and worked the ball to the right wing, where a good across was nodded in from point blank range at the back post.

The setback didn’t derail Cubo’s good play though, and Perkins saw his volley crash against the crossbar, and another good snapshot on the turn pushed away by the home keeper. Crisp also had a good chance when put in via a diagonal ball, but in trying to lift the ball over the advancing keeper he just overcooked it.

On the stroke of half time an incredible piece of bad fortune saw Crisp’s squared ball across the face of goal clipped over the crossbar from fully one year out by Perkins, who was wondering what he’d have to do to open his account.

Despite the frustrations at the 1-0 deficit, Cubo regrouped at half time and equalised almost immediately in the second half. Hooper, making some amends for losing the ball for Brentside’s opener, won the ball in midfield, and after Rick Utting was freed down the left hand side his measured early ball was deservedly converted at the second attempt by the relieved Oli P.

Cubo were now pulsing with belief and with Crisp surging past his opponent at will, and the Cubo midfield trio largely dictating things, it seemed a matter of time before they were to take the lead.

A hammer blow of a second goal followed when a needlessly given away throw-in was nodded in by Brentside’s powerful skipper. Arnie attempted to come for the ball, but met a crowd and the resulting header found it’s way into the vacated net.

Cubo looked, once again, for an equaliser that was the least they deserved but despite a Thethy shot just arcing the wrong side of the right post, and 2 or 3 occasions where a lack of ruthlessness saw excellent opportunities in the Brentside box spurned, the home team scored a third scrappy goal from a long free kick into the box.

The most galling thing about the 3rd goal was the Cuban backline was defending well, and the hosts did not look remotely threatening from open play. Hung was marshalling well and De La Frase was getting tight to the talented striker of Brentside and keeping him relatively quiet.

Jones and substitute Jez continued to get forward well from full back, and despite more good opportunities a very stretched Cubo conceded a fourth late on.

A truly bizarre game, where on chances alone, Cubo should have won comfortably. Going forward we need to be more streetwise and ruthless in attack, but despite the scoreline the positives vastly outnumbered the negative issues. The formation worked, we looked the fitter and more mobile team, but we will need to quickly learn how to deal with teams at the more direct end of the spectrum.

Final Score: Brentside 4-1 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Goal: Perkins

Assist: Utting

Man of the Match: Rich Crisp was the overwhelming vote, enjoying comfortably his best performance in a Cubo shirt. He consistently beat his man, and was able to create a number of excellent chances for his colleagues.


Brentside 0-3 AFC Cubo 3rd XI

Date: Saturday 22nd September

Venue: Wandsworth Common, KO 2pm

Starting line up: Richard Bush, Nick Tubb, Antonio Valencia, Ralph Wensley, James Ingle, Henry Neville, Timmy Field, John Watson, Conor O’Callaghan, Ben Young, Paul May

Subs: Satal Thethy, Tim Jones, John Glenn

Scorers: May, Young 2

After a difficult Thursday juggling players between teams due to a sudden holiday and injury crisis across the club, some good news on Saturday morning saw Conor bring old friend John Watson into play, and Bushy return earlier than expected from holiday. A very strong line up resulted as Cubo 3rds took to the field against Brentside, unbeaten and yet to concede, scoring 8 in their previous 2 games.

Playing uphill on an unforgiving, hard pitch; under a hot sun, Cubo struggled in the first 15 minutes, Brentside twice going close with long balls through to their wide men. However, as the half wore on, Cubo began to look more threatening, especially on the counter. Watson and Big Paul combined well to release May into the box, Paul shot narrowly wide, Ben blazing 85 yards over the bar when it seemed easier to score, from pretty much directly under the cross bar. With the defence marshalled well by Ralph, Jimbo stepping authoritatively forward to intercept play, and Nick and Tonio easily covering the Brentside wingers, Cubo took control. Like lads. A long clearance from Bushy saw Paul released down the right hand side. Gassing their 6 foot 10 centre back, not for the first time, he slotted the ball across the goal into the bottom left corner. Half time 1-0 The Cubo.

Half time felt strange without the usual display of imaginative profanity from Turner. It was actually positive. It seemed to work, as Cubo started the second half as they finished the first, in control. A rare break from Brentside saw a cross from the right wing canon off the head of their striker onto the cross bar, but apart from that, the blues remained on top. Conor especially stood out with intelligent movement and strong running. A pass from Antonio down the left wing again released Big Paul, who steam rollered over a couple of challenges, and unbelievably, and to the incredulity of everyone watching, actually passed the ball, cutting it back to Ben who slotted home from the penalty spot. Ben said it was a mis-hit shot from Paul.

With 15 minutes to go, and with Brentside having used their 3 subs, Bushy claimed a ball under pressure from their striker. A collision resulted in the Brentside striker having to come off, leaving the home side with 10 men for the remainder. With Paul now having completely subdued the entirety of their back 3, yet another marauding run saw him AGAIN cut the ball back for the waiting Ben to socre his second, and final goal of the match.

Final Score: Brentside 0-3 AFC Cubo 3rd XI

Scorers: May, B. Young (2)

Massive thanks to Salty and Jonesy who a) navigated horrendous traffic to get to the game to act as subs (as without them we only really had 11) and b) played superbly when they came on, adding bite and tenacity to an already well-oiled midfield.

Man of the Match: Impossible to split Jimbo and Ralph – absolutely bloody brilliant the pair of them. So good, they were better than Paul with a goal and two assists, and Ben with two goals.