Cubs came up against the rebranded Summer League Champions this weekend boosted by the return of the injured Harry Eggo as well as the return of the versatile David (Muzzie) Murray after a 2 year absence. Missing the influential Webster, McMillan and Lawrie for the 2nd week running, injury doubt player manager Paul Stephen gave starts to Callum Brownlee at left back and Muzzie in central midfield with Lee Hagger making his 1st start up front with Jamieson-Caley.
Cubs were rocked early however with last weeks man of the match Callum Ross being forced off with a muscle injury after less than 5 minutes with Muzzie dropping back to central defence to allow of the introduction of Mejka in midfield. Arkive produced most of the early pressure with Eggo coming off his line early on a few occasions to gather some dangerous through balls and Ross Brownlee having to be alert to deny Arkive's rapid winger Blane who appeared to be a cross between road runner and a metal band front man.
Cubs did have attacks of their own, with Mackay's final ball letting him down on a few occasions as well an effort which he put over when put through by AJC.
Phil Sim conceded a needless penalty half way through the half, but this only gave keeper Eggo the chance to show off his excellent penalty saving skills, guessing correctly to the right and reacting to a 2nd effort to deny Arkive's piranha mouthed forward, Chico. The opener came a minute later however with former cub Michael Sword's deflected effort wrong footing Eggo to cross the line.
Cubs were then dealt a further blow when AJC was forced off after a collision with the oppostion keeper with Davidson replacing him in the forward line. Arkive got their 2nd around the same time with Sim and Mejka being caught too far up the pitch at a long ball allowing an Arkive forward to exploit the space left behind to open up some breathing space for our opponents.
Stephen, introduced himself and a trialist in midfield at half time alongside Sim as Cubs went 4-5-1 in order to win the battle in the middle of the park. This ploy proved successful with the 1st 25minutes of the 2nd half being the Cubs best spell of the game. Passing, tackling, communication and passion were all present as Cubs put huge pressure on the Arkive defence with our final ball again being the big let down in an impressive spell. This came back to haunt us however with the 3rd Arkive goal on 70minutes proving to be the sickener that undone our hard work with a horrible deflection off Williamson looping the ball over Eggo's numbers and facts filled napper.
Swordy added an impressive late 4th late on, with Arkive getting behind our trialist left back for the 1st time in the half to add gloss to their win, with the Cubs losing Stephen and Muzzie to further injuries by this point in the game.
Captain Williamson said all that manager Stephen needed to say post match, praising a hard working performance, particularly at the start of the 2nd half as a large group again made their way down to the Nether for the much sought after post match sweepies, pints, premier league and burgers.
Brownlee, Murray and Eggo all received nominations for the Cubs man of the match award but this week it's goes to James Williamson who I believe was back to his best this week and provided a real captains performance. Mentions also to Stephen and Swinton for tekkerful Zidane style roulette turns in the 2nd half as well as to Phil Sim, who produced an unbelievable, logic and gravity defying overhead kick in the warm up which was probably the best thing ever seen at Dundee International Sports Centre.
We said it last year before the numbers dwindled prior to the cup run, but this year has the potential to the best Cubs season ever. If we continue to work as hard as we have been the last 2 games I have no doubt there will be many happy post match pints throughout the season.