Fitzwilliam are looking to grab their thirteenth Cuppers title, while Homerton are seeking their firstLevente Koroes

Fitzwilliam I and Homerton I have confirmed the matchup for the 2020/21 Cuppers final, respectively defeating Pembroke I and King’s I in the tournament’s semi-finals. Despite the weather-beaten weekend, both fixtures managed to produce some incredible moments of football.

Fitzwilliam 3-1 Pembroke

The weekend’s first semi-final (22/05) saw Fitzwilliam play host to Pembroke. Receiving a bye in the previous round, twelve-time Cuppers winners Fitz were eager to make their return to the field, while the away side looked to continue their momentum gained from a 0-2 win over St John’s I.

After just four minutes on the clock, attacking-midfielder Lumi Kanwei opened the scoring with a rare headed effort, getting himself on the end of a pinpoint free kick by full-back Tom Randall. Fitz put themselves 1-0 up in quick form.

However, Pembroke fired back with an instant response. A matter of seconds after the restart, winger Gareth Morgan latched onto an unsuccessful clearance by the Fitz defence, slotting one into the bottom-right corner to even things up.

Slightly stunned by this uncustomary 1-1 scoreline, Fitz responded to the equaliser with a return to their usual attacking mastery. The tenth minute provided superb attempts from Kanwei and central-midfielder Sonny McPherson respectively, matched by equally majestic saves from Pembroke’s keeper Cameron Keith to maintain a level affair.

But on the twenty-minute mark, Kanwei doubled both his own and Fitzwilliam’s tally. Following a long free-kick by goalkeeper Adib Badri, the attacking-midfielder converted another chance with his head, taking the load off his ever-dangerous feet. At 2-1, centre-back Rob Perry guided the Pembroke defence into halftime with ambition intact.

An alternative match-up began the second half: a chanting competition between the two sets of spectators, quickly dwindling after winger Sean Peedle came close to bagging Fitzwilliam’s third. In the sixtieth minute, Kanwei was the man to make proceedings 3-1. Beating two defenders with a Cruyff turn, he then buried the ball into the bottom-left corner to complete an impressive hat-trick.

The final thirty minutes of action saw Fitz unable to increase their lead, while Pembroke struggled to mount an effective comeback. Ending 3-1, Badri lauded Kanwei as “match-winner” in what proved to be a tight game, alongside commending the crowd as an all-important “twelfth man”. Cementing a place in the Cuppers final, the home team now turn their attention to one final push for silverware, with the Fitz faithful singing until the very end.

Fitzwilliam I: Adib Badri (C), Tom Young, Cavan Farrow, Jake Marshall, Tom Randall, Ellis Birch, Sonny McPherson, Lumi Kanwei, Sean Peedle, Olamide Ogunnaike, Theo Williamson

Subs: Ben Shires, Elias Bresnick, Tom Wake

Pembroke I: Cameron Keith, Toby Parsloe, Rob Perry, Matt Hawthorn, Will Holmes (C), Tele Agusto, Ollie Reed, Alex Root, Gareth Morgan, Jack Seery, Haydn Francis

Subs: Gideon Lee, Daniel Babalola, James Brownsey, Patrick Hell

Homerton 3-1 King’s

In Sunday’s semi-final, Homerton I welcomed King’s I to the Long Road sports ground. The home side started the game very well, with sustained possession and pressure on the King’s defence. It took some time for King’s to become accustomed to the conditions, playing on Homerton’s synthetic 4G astro-pitch. Homerton consolidated their persistent attacking play with an early goal in the 15th minute. The right winger, Funto Coker, made his way into the box, beating the opposition defender with sublime skill, and struck a right footed shot into the top left corner of the net.

King’s began to pick up momentum as they adapted to the surface later in the first half. At the same time, Homerton became sloppy in defence, giving away a string of fouls around their penalty area with one of them resulting in a Kings equaliser. In the 30th minute the Homerton goalkeeper spilled the ball off a long-range free kick, and it was tapped in at the far post by Conall Murray.

The majority of the second half was a cagey affair, with both teams lacking quality in attack. Both teams reverted to playing long balls to escape midfield pressure, and before the Homerton goal in the 85th minute there was not a single shot on target from either side.

The injured Kosi Nwuba, who started the game on the bench, was brought on as centre forward with the aim of breaking the 1-1 deadlock. Within 10 minutes, he skilfully went past two midfielders at the edge of the box before striking a low shot that just squirmed under the goalkeeper to make it 2-1.


Mountain View

King’s, Homerton, Pembroke and Fitzwilliam progress to Cuppers semi-finals

Homerton had the momentum from this point onwards, and Jack Wilson-Smith sealed the victory with a shot from the edge of the box. The awkward bounce took it past the goalkeeper and into the top of the net.

The Homerton captain, Joe Lockhart, showed great confidence after the game, stating that the game-changer Nwuba, who was in doubt for this semifinal, will certainly be fit for the final. He was also completely unfazed when presented with the details of Fitz’ scoring record, and said he expects an even game overall.

Homerton: Kenji Misawa, Vince Martin, Max Asseily, Ben Grischeff, Joe Lockhart (C), Fred Sayer, Louie Roberts, Funto Coker, Cyprian Kucaj, Jack Wilson-Smith, Sam Davies

Subs: Noah Polumbo, David Beggs, Kosi Nwuba, Matt Walters

Kings: Adair Bergin, Jack Brisley, Adi Weider, Thomas Howard (C), George Hendrikse, Conall Murray, Fabrizio De Vito, Zack Case, Robert Forrest, Joseph Vambe, Alfred Lawrence

Subs: Charlie Maclean, Arjun Dodhia, Lucian Morié, Alistair Bill, Sam Rudd-Jones

Having reached the final of last year’s Cuppers tournament and boasting an unbelievable +20 goal differential this time round, Fitz will go into the fixture next weekend with a presence of mind to finish off the job. Although Homerton enter the final as slight underdogs, they have displayed an ability to grind out tough results, which may prove crucial in limiting the attacking threat of Fitz . Elsewhere, Gonville & Caius topped this year’s Plate competition, after achieving an impressive 3-0 victory over Downing to secure the silverware.