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

Barn Elms Utd 3-4 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Date: 5th October, 2013

Venue: King George’s Fields

Starting Line-up: Arnie, Haddon, Jingle, J. McG, Utting, Hooper, Taylor, Thethy (C), Crisp, Smith, MTM.

Subs: Lye, Neville, Keegan.

Cubo 2s finally got off the mark at the 5th time of asking on Saturday, and in process temporarily becalmed the furious demonstrations of disgruntled supporters who marched in protest at Hooper’s reign.

With the availability of the club finally in excess of 30, players were unfortunately left out of the 2 match day squads and this point was made in the pre-match discussion.

After Ralph withdrew injured, Jim McGeown slotted in alongside his namesake Ingle, and the Golden Boy came into midfield. In attack Hennerz was extremely unlucky to drop to the bench.

With an energetic midfield trio, Cubo were hopeful of putting Barn Elms on the back foot and in the early stages they largely did this. Oli had some dangerous raids down the left wing, and MTM looked a threat despite some robust challenges from the all-action Elms defenders who definitely had a tendency to go to ground.

Barnes, who impressed in the double-header against Cubo last season, took the lead mid-way through the 1st half when Cubo failed to properly clear and a pass released the United attacker in the inside right channel to slot across Arnold.

Cubo did not allow their heads to drop though and with Crisp continuing his excellent form, there was always a threat being offered every time the Baby Blues were able to link more than 3 passes.

The message at half time was simple, keep playing, our fitness will tell and take our chances when we get them. This was proved correct 10 minutes into the second half when a lethal counter attack from a Barn Elms corner saw Taylor start and finish a 5 pass move to sweep home from close range.

1 goal quickly became 2, when Jingle, who enjoyed a really imposing game at Centre Half, met a long ball and volleyed in behind the Elms back line to release Crisp. The wiry pace-merchant made no mistake with a shot that befitted his surname, drilling in at the keeper’s near post to notch his first of the campaign.

After replacing the entire front 3 with Lye, Keegs and Hennerz, the latter made a mockery of his role as a sub, with an outstanding half an hour cameo. First he almost created a goal with a dangerous cross from the right which resulted in a corner. This set-piece was delivered with real pace onto BFF and pre-game pooing partner Jingle, who thumped a header into the top right corner.

As is Cubo’s style this season, they then conceded immediately as the Elms centre half used all of his height to flick on a free kick with a back header that Arnie was unlucky not to claw out from under his crossbar.

Undeterred by this minor setback, Cubo then scored again in what was an increasingly pulsating half of football. That man Neville was once again the source with a superb chip from the corner of the box that nestled into the opposite corner. 4-2 Cubo and the game surely put to rest…. JOKES.

4-2 was 4-3 when another set-piece saw a very deep and understandably nervous Cubo backline allowing a deft flicked finish from close range to reduce the arrears.

Barn Elms tails were now up, and after the tireless Salty connected with fresh air from 6 yards from another wicked Neville delivery, another corner was won by the hosts deep in injury time. Elms were possibly unlucky not be awarded an equaliser following a desperate goalmouth scramble but with the referee and linesman unsighted, a goal was not awarded and Cubo escaped with a fortuitous, but on the basis of play, thoroughly deserved  3 points.

Final Score: Barn Elms Utd 3-4 AFC Cubo

Goals: Taylor, Crisp, Ingle, Neville.

Assists: Crisp, Ingle, Neville, ?.

Man of the Match: Jimmy Ingle with a welcome return to top form after a difficult outing in the previous week.

AFC Cubo 2nd XI 3-4 Brentnal

Date: Saturday 28th September, 2013

Starting XI: Arnie, Frase, Wensley, Jingle, J. McG, Taylor, Hooper, Salty (C), Crisp, Neville, MTM.

Subs: Haddon, Milan, Jez.

Cubo sadly fell to their fourth consecutive league defeat against last year’s runners-up Brentnal, and in familiar fashion it was a game they might have got something from on another day.

With MTM out of retirement and leading the line as if he’d never been away, Cubo started the game brightly. However Brentnal are always a well organised side who look like they’ve played together years, and that’s mainly because they have. They took the lead after Cubo failed to react to a short corner and the ball was driven in low at Arnie’s near post from just inside the box.

A one goal lead became two mid-way through the first half when a very swift succession of one-touch passes saw the hosts horribly opened up and Bentnal’s supposedly deepest sitting midfielder ran untracked to finish.

Cubo were stunned, but had fashioned chances of their own with MTM firing across the box where Crispy couldn’t control a sharp volley and both wide men getting into dangerous positions.

After half time Cubo were back in the game in fortuitous circumstances. A hopeful ball from the left channel appeared to be rolling to the keeper, but Captain Salty burst from midfield and managed to toe-end the ball before being clumsily upended by the keeper. MTM kept his never to side foot the ball firmly past the keeper to reduce the deficit to one.

Almost immediately Cubo were level in unlikely fashion. A neat move from the left saw Hennerz pick up the ball between the lines, and he rolled the ball into MTM, 25 yards out. Hooper called for the ball to be moved on one more and Neal dummied the pass allowing Hoops to shoot (!), first-time, unerringly into the top right corner to make it 2-2.

Cubo were bouncing and as well as half the 1s squad they were being cheered on by a random convoy of burly eggchasers who were offering vociferous support.

Sadly the optimism didn’t last long as after losing possession in their own half, Brentnal released their striker in the inside right channel and he made no mistake with a clinical strike across Arnold and into the bottom left corner.

Three became four when another excellent long range strike crashed into the roof of the net before Milan scored on debut, pouncing to head home after Jez’s wonderful curling shot had bounced off the upright.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 2nd XI 3-4 Brentnal

Goals: Neal (Pen), Hooper, Cooper

Assist: Thethy, Neville

Man of the Match: Hoops

Sporting Duet 4-2 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Date: Saturday 21st September, 2013

Venue: King’s House Sports Ground, Chiswick

Starting XI: Bush, Fraser, J. McGeown, Wensley, Ingle, Wall, Hooper. Thethy (C), Neville, Taylor, Keeegan.

Subs: Haddon, Glenn.

Cubo Reserves ventured North (!) of the river this week to the excellent facilities of the King’s House Sports Ground. In opposition were Sporting Duet, last season’s league top scorers and a side that did the double over Cubo in 2012/13.

Cubo started the game brightly, and the gameplan of working the Duet defence hard to stop them monopolising possession was working well, forcing Sporting to go uncharacteristically long from the back.

Although Cubo were very hesitant to go long themselves against a side featuring about 10 six foot plussers, they ironically took the lead when Bushy’s long kick forward was allowed to bounce by a hesitant Duet defence. In the ensuing confusion, Stevie T latched on to the bouncing ball and used the outside of his brand new Adidas Copa Mundial (Mikey Cain take note) right boot to lift a composed finish into the top corner.

Unfortunately this bright start was cancelled out immediately, when a corner from the left wing found the head of Duet’s biggest player inside the 6 yard box. He made no mistake with his downward header and parity was restored.

Despite a couple of uncomfortable moments resulting from long balls in the channel between right back and centre half, Cubo were more than matching their opponents. After Bushy produced a couple of good saves to keep the scores level, Hennerz made it two goals in two with a quite brilliant finish. After some incisive passes saw the Baby Blues find Keegan just inside the home side’s half, he boy from Boro cleverly delayed his pass before rolling in Neville down the left side in behind the high line of Duet. Moving with considerable grace, befitting his All Saints Autumn/Winter 2013 styling, Henry cut into the box before lofting a wonderful dinked finish over the onrushing keeper. A superb goal which allowed Cubo to get some half time drinks on board holding a 2-1 lead.

After squandering a lead in their previous outing, Cubo were well aware of making a solid start to the second half and the energy of Salty combined with Wall and Hooper making a number of challenges in midfield saw Cubo holding a good footing. Haddon replaced the tiring Keegan and moved to the right side, with Taylor now operating in a central position.

Unfortunately, as has been the case too often this season, Cubo fell behind after an individual error. Ralph, man of the match last week, was caught out by a hopeful ball forward and as the ball squirmed past him, the Sporting striker rushed in on goal and made no mistake.

Cubo again responded well and were within inches of being clean through, only to see the final throughball or squared pass just being underhit. Cubo were made to pay when an excellent last ditch block from Fraser was ‘cleared’ woefully by Hooper and the Duet right back, up on the counter, converted from 10 yards.

As Cubo became more stretched in search of a deserved equaliser, chances were appearing at both ends. Henry beat two men but his curled finish from an angle was far to close to the keeper, while a Wall drive from 20 yards was helped over the bar.

At the other end Bush produced an excellent save to claw a cleanly hit half-volley from the edge of the box out of his top right hand corner.

With minutes left Duet scored their 4th when a thrown in from the left wing saw an untracked runner waltz through a crooked Cubo back line, and convert.

Final Score: Sporting Duet 4-2 AFC Cubo 2nd XI

Goals: Taylor, Neville

Assists: Bush, Keegan

Man of the Match: Salty, just pipped Dave by one vote, after putting in a hugely effective shift as the link between the front 3 and the midfield.

Another really tough loss to accept for the 2s, but as in the previous weeks we are genuinely playing some good stuff with lots of width in our play, and a real attempt to pass through the team. Despite the lack of points there are many causes for optimism, especially as Duet will be right up there at the end of the season. Cutting out individual errors at the back, and showing a bit more care in the final third will see us get what we deserve.

AFC Cubo 2nd XI 1-2 AFC Battersea

Date: Saturday 14th September, 2013

Venue: Barn Elms Sports Centre

Starting XI: Van der Light, R. Jones, Wensley, Nguyen, J. McGeown, Wall, Hooper, Thethy (C), Crisp, Durrant, Spokes.

Subs: Fraser, Neville, Taylor.

Cubo 2s took on experienced campaigners AFC Battersea on Saturday, hoping to register their first points of the season, at the second time of asking, following last week’s strange defeat to new boys Brentside.

A strong 14 was available, and that was in the absence of the likes of Jez, Utting, Jacko, Perkins, Keegs and Jingle-all-the-way.

Cubo started brightly although the two Battersea central midfielders form one of the better partnerships in the league and a need to get tight to numbers 14 and 10 was paramount.

Battersea enjoyed the better of the attempts on goal in the first 45, although in truth they were very much long range efforts that were straight down the throat of the retuning keeper Brett VdL.

Cubo were having some joy down their left with Jim and Henry D linking up very well, although the lack of quality when it came to the final ball was the only blot to their first half copybook.

Before the game the gaffer talked about the fact the game would be very tight, and scoring the first goal, it was felt, would be absolutely crucial. As it happened, Cubo broke the deadlock on 65 minutes when Neville, on for his namesake Durrant down the left flank, scored with his very first touch to convert Crisp’s inviting low cross from the right wing.

Cubo were now buoyant and skipper Salty was denied in a 1-on-1 by a fine stop from the Leeds United shirt wearing keeper. However despite looking to protect what they had with Stevie T replacing the first team covering Wall, and Frase slotting in at full back for Jones, the baby blue red army were struggling to keep possession and subsequently the visitors, cruelly sporting a brand new strip that looked extremely familiar to followers of this website, poured forward.

The equaliser came when a promising Cubo break was snuffed out and with men out of position a cross from the right found its way to the back post where Hung was just unable to keep a powerful shot from creeping over line.

Despite the need for calm heads, the home side were still struggling to replicate their incisive first-week football on a regular basis. With 5 minutes to go Battersea slung a diagonal ball into the Cubo box and a brave header just beat the onrushing keeper, kissed the inside of the post, and agonisingly rolled over the line.

A tough defeat for the second consecutive weak for the 2s. A bit more savvy game management to see out matches like this will be crucial in a very competitive league where all the sides will feel they have a legitimate chance of victory each week. Sporting Duet, an easy on the eye side who enjoyed a good season in 2012/13, are next up on the 21st.

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

Goal: Neville

Assist: Crisp

Man of the Match: Ralph – an imposing performance from the returning centre half, who formed a very solid partnership with Hung.

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.

Sporting Duet Reserves 1-2 AFC Cubo 3rd XI

Date: Saturday 9th February, 2013

Squad: Smith, Lye, Ingle, McHale, Palacio (Rushall), Hackin, Haddon, Edwards, Nixon (Smith), S. Cain, Neville (Martinus)

Despite stellar organisation from Luke, John Glenn caused serious problems on the Friday night before the game as it was pointed out that the fixture was actually at Wandsworth Park, not Wandsworth Common. With Corporal Jones calmness (“Don’t Panic!!”), we eventually got all 14 players on board and on time for kick off.

Cubo started with a standard 4-4-2, looking to build on the good performance against Northern Town the week before and looking to pick up a vital three points. The Sporting Duet side looked fresh as spring chickens, with an estimated average age of 17 judging by their distinct lack of facial hair. Luke’s pre-match team talk consisted of various vulgarities, with the main thread being that the side needed to get stuck in and to use their considerable age advantage to their favour.

Pressing the opposition was the name of the game, and it soon produced results. Duet found Ant Hackin a handful on the wing and playing a hopeful ball to the centre of the park, Luke collected it and found some space behind the left back for Ant to push on. With a deft swing of the boot, he found Stu Cain at the back post who hammered the ball with his left foot into the roof of the net. Bells were tolled across London; a special bank holiday was announced; the Pope resigned; but most importantly, Stu thought he had a story to tell his dad that night.

With Cubo a goal to the good, confidence grew. The Duet centre midfield found it difficult to get any kind of ball to play football as Luke and Pistol Pete deftly broke up play with strong-arm football techniques that the youngsters didn’t like to get involved in. As Cubo pushed the Duet play backwards, Dave Nixon forced a corner on the left flank. Henners stepped up and delivered a threatening ball to the back post, over the goalkeeper’s head. Carnage ensued. Stu Cain threw himself at it wholeheartedly, but fell over. Ant Hackin charged in, followed by Pistol Pete, and somehow the ball hit the back of the Duet net. Ant ran away, claiming the goal; and with those guns, who are we to argue?!

Stu and Henners were both clearly devastated as it turned out the number 10 shirt took the full force of Pete’s boots in the goalmouth scramble, coming away second best. Stu was also left looking like the leading lady from Fifty Shades of Grey. Old Aber Boys have always liked a bit of rough.

Cubo closed out the rest of the half, and went in two goals up.

Cubo made a single half time change as Ed Smith replaced Dave Nixon, coming on to the left wing. The Sporting Duet coaches obviously found the strength of Cubo’s midfield combination dangerous and made wholesale changes at half time. A completely new centre midfield showed fresh legs and would cause Cubo problems late in the game.

Until then, Cubo continued in the fashion of the first half. With Jamie McHale joining Jimmy Ingle in centre defence, Cubo has a strong foundation on which to work it down the channels. Jez Lye and Antonio Palacio found space on the flanks, pushing on and giving the wingers room to get behind the Duet full backs. Midway through the second half, Antonio found Ed Smith on the left wing, who gave the ball to Henry inside the Duet penalty box. With the faint dip of his right shoulder, he went to the left of the defender and hit a cutting shot at goal. The keeper did well to keep it out.

The keeper was nowhere to be seen for Cubo’s next effort, as a goal line scramble was narrowly foiled by the Duet defence. Ant drifted in at the back post as a deep cross came in, and headed it towards goal. With all the luck of a 16-way accumulator coming in, Duet’s captain was on hand to keep it out. Twice. Ant following up his initial effort, before Duet hacked the ball out.

By this time, Cubo were knackered. Duet’s young midfield were supplemented by an old head, and Pete and Luke found themselves up against three in the middle of the park. On the one rare occasion that Duet found space between the Cubo midfield and defence, and got away from the wrath of Luke’s short-man complex, Adam Smith came to the rescue with his ‘invisible hand’ and pushed an effort from Duet’s diminutive dangerman wide.

Duet got a goal back with five minutes to go, as the little number 10 knocked a Karel Poborsky goal-bound shot over Smith’s head. The credit was stolen from him by his fellow frontman who finished it with the sneakiness of a girl who looks like she’s gonna give it up, before letting you know she’s on her period.

In the next five minutes, Duet pushed for a second. Looking and sounding like The Angry Ginger Kid, Luke lost his rag. Commanding the team to “Stop pussying around with it, and get it out!”, he pulled another impressive debutant, Andy Martinus, into centre midfield to provide support and close out the game.

At the final whistle, Cubo had picked up the vital three points they’d been looking for. This was a hard fought win, akin to sleazing with the ugly girl at 3am.  Sometimes you have to “win ugly”…

As for Stu Cain’s story, his brother bagged a hat trick for the Cubo firsts. The bank holiday was swiftly cancelled.

Final score: Sporting Duet Reserves 1 – 2 AFC Cubo 3rd XI
Goals: Cain, S., Hackin,
Man of the Match: Luke Haddon

AFC Cubo 3rd XI 1-2 Northern Town

Date: Saturday 2nd Feb 2013

Starting XI: Bushy, Cucos, Ingle, Reed, Palacios, Vanderlight, Edwards, Haddon, Nixon, Neville, Griffiths

Sub: Smith

On a glorious February afternoon, Cubo thirds took on the mid-table Northern Town with Cubo looking to pick up all important points to support their drive to First Division safety. This would be the last home game for Cubo this season, and although having missed the last three weeks due to bad weather, the squad could only be described as rag-tag due to absences across the whole club. With two goalkeepers in the squad, Brett started on the right wing, providing physicality and a strong jump in both boxes. Cubo also appreciated the return of Pistol Pete Edwards, on a short break from his capitalist undertakings in China. Dave Nixon brought new options down bathe left wing, especially at a time when Henners’ knee limited his mobility.

After a difficult first five minutes filled with intense Northern Town attacking, the game settled into a proper rhythm. Cubo had the wind in the first half and broke the deadlock after a half hour as Jordan provided some support on the half way line before returning the ball to Bushy to clear upfield. Northern Town had a high line and their gobby centre half found himself caught out by the wind, with Henners chasing on to the loose ball and sweeping it in to the net after sending the keeper the wrong way. Haddon and Tongzhi Edwards gave solid support to the wings and the defence as Cubo went in at half time one goal to the good.

Cubo started the second half with ten players as Jordan dashed back to the changing room for a quick Jason Puncheon. Despite playing into the wind (no pun intended) in the second half, Cubo looked strong and continued to press. While the wind carried the ball quickly in the first half, the second half gave Cubo the opportunities to put the ball into the strikers’ feet as it held in the wind. Jordan went close on a number of occasions as he was able to find the space between the Town midfield and defence, and quick darts from Antonio down the left flank gave the opposition a number of problems.

Town were able to force a number of corner kicks from Cubo as their wingers got more of the ball, assisted by the breeze. After seventy minutes, a corner from their right was headed goalwards by the centre half. Ed Smith (who had replaced Dave Nixon on the left wing five minutes before) cleared it off the line, but was only able to nod it downwards. As it bounced back up and held in the wind, Ed was no match for their seven foot nine inch centre midfielder who nodded it in to the net past the stranded Bushy.

The game looked settled for the next fifteen minutes and both sides offered chances to go ahead. A lovely lofted ball from Luke into the space between their right back and centre half gave Jordan the chance to put the game beyond Town, but strong defensive work from their covering defence and keeper meant Griffith couldn’t connect properly and the ball limped wide.

Town grabbed the winner after consecutive corners at the Cubo end on the eighty-five minute mark. An inswinging corner caught Chris Reed unawares, striking him high on the arm. A harsh one to give, the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. The Northern Town captain dispatched it past Bushy, inside his left post.

Cubo tried to threaten in the last five minutes, but couldn’t find the net.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 1 – 2 Northern Town FC

Scorer: Neville

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

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.