AFC Battersea 3-1 AFC Cubo 3rd XI

Date: April 6th 2013

Competition: Wimbledon Trophy 3rd Round

Squad: Smith, Reed, Palacio, Fraser, McHale, Vanderlight, Boase, Haddon
(c), Martinus, S. Cain, Tribe

On a bright April afternoon, AFC Cubo 3rd XI took on AFC Battersea at
Raynes Park in the third round of the Wimbledon Trophy. Having not
played a game in the competition, but still being in the third round,
Cubo were taking on a side in the division above and who were rated for
their ability to press and hassle their way into games. Cubo had also
lost Stevie T to the 2s a few hours before kick off so arrived for the
game with eleven men.

Cubo started the game a little nervously as Battersea were able to
string a number of passes together, although lacking any end result. As
the game settled down, Cubo looked solid. The defensive triumvirate of
Smith, Fraser and McHale worked well, ensuring that loose balls were
picked up and cleared away as and when necessary.

The central midfield combination of Andy Martinus and Luke then had time
to get the ball down and knock a few passes around. Andy Tribe moved to
the left wing in a tactical reshape, with James Boase taking a place up
top alongside Stu Cain. Andy M was finding the time to ping-pong the
ball further than a Thai lady of the night, and with just as much
accuracy; causing serious problems for the Battersea full backs.

The tactical switch gave Cubo the ability to cause Battersea real
problems down the wings as the height of Brett and the speed of Tribe
gave the full backs something to worry about. With fifteen minutes
remaining of the first half, Tribe charged down the left wing, cutting
in on the edge of the box to find Stu Cain. His shot hit the danger area
and could only be parried out by the Battersea ‘keeper into the path of
Brett. He took the ball and calmly slotted the ball straight back from
whence it came, into the bottom of the Battersea net. Cubo looked solid
and saw out the remainder of the half, with only a worrying knock to
Andy Martinus to worry about.

Andy’s knock proved serious enough couldn’t continue, so Cubo came out
with 10 men for 45 minutes against the higher division team. Boase
dropped into left wing with Andy T lining up alongside Luke, leaving
Stuey Cain on his own up front.

Despite Cubo’s best efforts to hold on to their lead, the opposition
found an equaliser half way through the second half. A dubious free kick
decision on the left edge of Cubo’s penalty box and a lapse of
concentration led to Battersea’s five-foot-nothing striker slotting the
ball past Smith.

Not long after, the benefit of the additional player meant that
Battersea got a lead after their left winger picked up the ball on the
halfway line and hit the Cubo right. A threading pass across the box
found their rampaging player on the switch, who benefitted from the near
post as he beat Smith with a well placed shot.

Cubo were soon down to nine for a short period after Luke took a rugby
tackle to the face. Coming back on, and with the entire side being
slowly ground down, the Battersea captain found the channel between
Fraser and Reedy and charged into the box with five minutes to go.
Fraser caught the player’s trailing leg near the byeline, and he went
down like a gracious nerd on a bird. A soft penalty to give, but the
referee admitted to Fraser, ‘You’d hit the guy late several times; one
was gonna be a penalty!’ Hard and fast, the Battersea captain gave Smith
no chance as he drilled it down the middle.

A hard fought game, and one where Cubo were certainly not put to shame.

Final Score: AFC Battersea 3 – 1 AFC Cubo 3rd XI

Goal: Vanderlight

Man of the Match: Stuart Fraser

AFC Cubo 2nd XI 3-1 London Lionhearts

Date: Saturday 12th May, 10.30am KO

Venue: Banstead FC

Starting XI: Neil Clark, Stevie T, Pally, Alan Clarke, Jim McGeown, Salty (C), Trev Moody, Pete Hill, Andy Burt, Steve Keegan, Tim Jones.

Subs: Chris Grayson, JPatt, Matt Turner, Ryan Shedwick, Paul Every.

AFC Cubo took part in the Wimbledon Trophy final on Saturday morning, in a predictably competitive game against London Lionhearts. Player/Manager Mike Thomas, in probably his last match for the Baby Blue Army, was able to name a very strong side as well as a bench consisting of 5 players. With a number of spectators from the club watching, as well as friends and family, there was very much a carnival mood. Such joy was evident as Benny Mac polished off a bottle of water (!), Oli confidently dispatching not one but two (!!) cups of tea, Sadler tucking into a banana (!!!) and Bradders, coach for the day, sporting a rather flashy canvas rucksack.

Cubo started the match very brightly with Player of the Season Alan Clarke winning a couple of early headers and setting the tone for another assured display. On the left hand side Andy Burt was able to showcase his excellent delivery, while PeteHill™, man of the match in the last final Cubo contested, was showing signs he is truly a big game player.

The versatile Stevie T, operating at right back, his 32nd different role of his Cubo career, was showing typical composure and with Salty and Alexandr Trev-Hleb mixing up combinations of blood and thunder effort, sideways passing, and Zoolander 90° turns things looked good.

The first real chance of the match saw unpredictable marksman Steve Keegan just being adjudged offside before controlling and finishing from Burt’s delivery, but in fairness the PROPER linesman did appear to get the decision right. Full of confidence the boy from Boro pulled off a truly remarkable piece of skill a few minutes later, scooping the ball over the head of the Lionhearts left back before clipping a teasing cross to the back stick where Jones was just unable to guide his header on target. Magical stuff leading to #KeeganIsBoxOffice trending in the UK on Twitter within seconds.

Tim Jones was holding the ball up extremely well, drifting into the left channel and offering the likes of Jim an easy ball into feet, and with Cubo able to get men forward it seemed an opening Baby Blue coloured goal was likely. However Lionhearts were able to offer a threat on the counter and would have been disappointed not to work “Cu-bo-2s, Num-ber-1 Cubo2sCubo2s Num-ber-1”, Neil Clark, wastefully missing the target from a brace of presentable opportunities.

Fashion watch – Hoops and Clare Galloway opting for double denim, Clarkey Snr with a strong beard, MTM and Northy wearing some natty chocolate slacks, Ben, Denno and Oli repping strong merch, Sadler looking like an extra from an Ordinary Boys video circa summer 2004, Nobes – hench, Jonesy – frail and John Glenn sporting the forlorn expression of a man who’d drunk too much red wine the previous evening.

Half Time: AFC Cubo 0-0 London Lionhearts

After a tactical switch saw Hill and Burt swap wings for the 2nd half, in an attempt to expose the potential weak link that was the Lions right back, Cubo were delighted to take the lead after 50 minutes. The Lionhearts keeper had not appeared at all comfortable with crosses in the first half, and these Vampire-like tendencies were his undoing as the deadlock was broken. After flapping at a Burt free kick from the right, a brief scramble saw Tim Jones roll the ball into the unguarded net.

Cubo tails were up, but it was Lionhearts that got back into the game and were able to equalise. Clark made a top draw save in a one-on-one situation, and then was again required to get down low to his left as Lionhearts rushed through the heart of the Cubo defences. At the 3rd time of asking Lionhearts #7 was able to spring the offside trap and surge from his central midfield berth. He coolly rounded the fine haired custodian of the Cubo net to tie things up at 1-1.

The first change for Cubo saw Chris Grayson replace Jim at LB, before Paul Every was introduced to take advantage of the increasingly stretched play, replacing the impressive Keegs. With his very first touch the Plymouthian Poacher, a moniker he has unlikely to have ever been referred as nor ever again, forced a fine save from the Lionhearts keeper. This led to another Burt set-piece, and subsequently….this.

Alan Clarke with a typically forceful ‘arrive’ at the back post, a firm downward header and Cubo back on top. 2-1.

Rather than go into their shells, Cubo went hunting for a 3rd that would kill the game off. Every continued to threaten while Burt unleashed an absolute thunderbolt from 25 yards which crashed agonisingly off the underside of the bar and onto, not over, the goal line. Banstead didn’t appear to have goal-line technology, instead opting to restock their burger van, but following a glowing review from MTM concerning the beef, and a trustworthy assistant, this appeared to be the right allocation of funds.

Jonny Patterson’s introduction for Jones saw Ryan and Turns unluckily miss out on some action, but any signs of disappointment were forgotten when Burt swung in a cross from the left which nestled into the top corner. Did he mean it? I would say judge for yourself from the following footage but sadly Northy’s previously exemplary camera work went awry during the build up.

Final Score: AFC Cubo 2nd XI 3-1 London Lionhearts

A great display by Cubo, which featured big performances across the midfield, excellent contributions from the hard working forwards and a defence that was rarely breached. When it was, Clarky made everything he was required to do look very easy indeed.

The Wimbledon Trophy is a great way to sign off an up and down season, but with some new players bedded in, the 2s will hope to have a eal crack at promotion in 2012/13.

Scorers: Tim Jones, Alan Clarke, Andy Burt.

Man of the Match: Satal Thethy – combined his usual determination and fitness with some deft touches and excelled in the closing stages as the heat took its toll on lesser mortals.

Match Report: Hoops