Saturday 7th November 2009

SSEC Intermediate Division Two League

Fulham Deaf FC 3 – 2 AFC Cubo

Everyone at FDFC had been
looking forward to the big league match against hitherto unbeaten AFC Cubo, who
were on a 29 match unbeaten run in the league, starting back from when they
were in the Wimbledon & District Football League Premier Division and
continuing in our current league, the Surrey South Eastern Football Combination
Intermediate Division Two. Up until that point AFC Cubo had enjoyed an amazing
streak of 25 wins and 4 draws, with their last league defeat being over one and
an half years ago on 5th April 2008 against their arch-rivals Real
Phoenix. AFC Cubo were also crowned the champions of the Wimbledon Premier
league last season and were 3rd in both the 2007/08 and 2006/07
seasons, having enjoyed an amazing record of 53 wins, 9 draws and only 8
defeats since the inception of the 2006/7 season. Their record surely speaks
for itself. FDFC were therefore only too happy to welcome them to Motspur Park.

a result of Fulham First XI training and Academy matches being played at Motspur Park, the players converged on the Earl
Beatty ready and raring to go. The Gaffer and ‘Ironside’ Beedie were only too
happy to hear that club captain Jonathan Evans declared his availability to
play after an injury picked up in last week’s cup-tie against Ashtead. Several
cups of tea were then consumed as the management team and captain engaged in a
deep and serious debate over the proposed formation for the AFC Cubo game. On
top of that, 16 players were available to the Gaffer, which gave him additional
headaches and left him rushing for Ironside’s painkillers!

the Gaffer and Ironside soon relaxed after giving the squad the news of who was
playing in today’s big game. The mood in the squad was very good, and everyone
looked focused on that task in hand, except for Cardiff boy Nick Gregory, whose agonised face
betrayed the fact that his beloved Bluebirds were being pecked to death by the
Swans on the early live game on Sky!

a further boost to the team, once-retired keeper Mike O’Mahony was persuaded
back to play as a stand-in after both regular ‘keepers were unavailable through
injury, despite being old enough to father most of the squad! On another note,
Ben Lampert was playing 160th appearance for FDFC, behind the
Gaffer’s total of 171 and Vorster, who also won his 167th

Ron Barber blew the whistle to commence the match. Within ten minutes it could
be seen that the tempo from both sides was very high, as well as the standard
of football play. The early exchanges were quite even, although the athletic
Gregory did create an early opportunity via a defence-splitting pass that the
threatening Ailey could have done better with, hitting his shot from too wide
an angle and drawing a comfortable stop from Cubo’s impressive custodian in

5 minutes, it was a disappointment to see Fulham’s ‘rock of ages’, Mike
O’Mahony, pull his hamstring to the point where he actually made a fairly decent
stab of looking like a rock, both in his lack of mobility and determined
attitude to carry on.

the first half, FDFC played some of the best football in recent times by
spraying the ball all over the park, with an impressive variety of passing and
invention keeping the spectators entertained for long spells. FDFC soon forced
two corners with Evans narrowly failing to convert either chance, as AFC Cubo
struggled to get to grips with our excellent football. Ailey soon had another
chance, failing to convert from four yards out and seeing his shot cleared away
by the Cubo defence, much to the opposition’s relief.

who had started brightly, continued to plague the Cubo right back and fired in
a succession of crosses which were unfortunately not converted. Sellers was
also playing well in the heart of midfield, a highlight of his play being when,
at one stage, he narrowly failed to convert a cross from Swift by inches.

Cubo has chances to score too, thanks to their overall solidity, and FDFC were
indebted to O’Mahony for making to great saves, one on each post and proving
that rocks do indeed move. The opposition also had several corners, which the
FDFC defence managed to clear, albeit with difficulty at times.

around the 25th minute, FDFC finally broke the deadlock, when Ailey
was fouled around 25 yards out and elected to take a direct free-kick. The
resulting delivery dipped past the wall and beat the opposition goalkeeper for
power and placement for a great strike, which also brought him up to double
figures for the season at 10 goals. Better was to come a few minutes later
after a passing error by the Cubo midfield resulted in Hogan exchanging passes
and breaking through the back four. After committing the goalkeeper, Hogan
coolly slotted the ball in to give FDFC a 2-0 lead.

should however have scored another couple of goals before half-time, with
neither effort troubling the goalkeeper after he had put through on an
opportunity to break. Although Cubo were playing good football, the back four
of Vorster, Evans, Harding and Lampert was making it difficult for them to get
any inroads into the match, an holding midfielder Burns was having an
exceptional game in being alive to any potential threats from out wide. As a
result, the score remained at 2-0 when the half-time whistle blew.

the interval, both the Gaffer and Ironside expressed their delight at Fulham’s
defence, but said that they were not happy with FDFC’s inability to finish off
chances, which would have put the game out of sight at half-time. The team were
urged to stay focused for the next 45 minutes, as any lack of concentration
could put Cubo back into the game. No substitutions were made.

2nd half restarted, with Cubo looking fired up and looking for the goal
that would put them back into the game. Soon after, they got their wish when
FDFC failed to clear their lines sufficiently from a burst of Cubo pressure,
which resulted in a shot from the edge of the box. O’Mahony would likely have
saved it if it wasn’t for an unfortunate deflection off Burns which put the
ball in the opposite corner of the net from where the shot was going.

the setback, FDFC settled down again and started to apply pressure on Cubo,
with Ailey continuing to give the opposition back four an incredibly rough
ride, which created further chances. Eventually one of those opportunities was
converted when Ailey got his reward for his all-round play by grabbing the key
3rd goal, through sheer persistence after capitalising on hesitation
between Cubo’s ‘keeper and their back four to give FDFC a 2-goal cushion again.

Gaffer and Ironside were having a hard time deciding on whether or not to make
any substitutions, and so it was decided to hold off on making any unless
absolutely necessary.

Gaffer was soon reaching for his beta blockers once again when a throw-out by
O’Mahony to Lampert was quickly closed down upon by the AFC Cubo players. From
the resulting pressure, a cross was played in that reached the feet of the
opposition striker, who was able to hold off the challenge of Vorster and blast
the ball past O’Mahony from close range. The Gaffer, eager to vent some steam,
had a go at O’Mahony for not kicking the ball away initially, completely
forgetting that O’Mahony was struggling with a severely strained hamstring!

once again was found guilty for failing to finish the job off as he had one to
one with Cubo keeper twice in the last 15 minutes and failed to convert either
chance. His anguish was matched by that of his team-mates too. Worse also came
in which Sellers had a great goal disallowed for an offside decision which
looked suspect at best. It occurred when he won the ball off Cubo’s midfield
and played a brilliant 1-2 with Swift before he broke into the penalty box and
slotted the ball round the keeper. Somewhere in the process there was meant to
be an offside, but the vast majority of supporters and onlookers struggled to
find where it was meant to be. FDFC and AFC Cubo also traded headers against
the crossbar, with FDFC’s attempt coming from Gregory.

attempted to press for an equaliser, but no more goals were forthcoming and
before long, the referee, Barber, blew for full-time. The FDFC players
celebrated the result at full time, pleased at having prevented AFC Cubo from
going 30 games unbeaten. From the handshakes after the match, it was clear
though, that there was a lot of respect from both sides. The AFC Cubo players
did get a consolation though, as they were able to eat the food provided for
FDFC’s players in the Earl Beatty as most of them had gone off early to get
ready for the Remark! Awards later on that evening.

with a strong team display, the management team struggled to name a man of the
match for the day’s game against Cubo. However, it was given in the end to
someone who played one of his best performances since he joined FDFC in the
preceding season. Full credit to him for
listening to the management, and showing great passing and positional awareness
in his holding role. It goes to Eoin Burns who deserved the award for his
excellent display in anchoring the midfield.

FDFC will now have a little break from the
league as they are scheduled to play against mighty Tongham in the Surrey
Intermediate Cup 2nd Round, who are two leagues above FDFC in the
Surrey Elite Intermediate League, and are currently residing in 4th
place there. FDFC are relishing the challenge of meeting Tongham’s high
standard of football and are looking forwards to welcoming them at the FFC
Training Ground at Motspur

Final score Fulham Deaf FC 3 – 2 AFC Cubo (HT 2 – 0)

FDFC Line-up :- O’Mahony, Vorster, Lampert,
Harding, Evans, Burns, Hogan, Sellers, Gregory, Swift and Ailey

Subs not used :- Moore, McDougall, PJ, Waller
and Pafe.