Fitzwilliam lifting the trophyLevente Koroes

Fitzwilliam defeated Homerton 2-1 at Fitzwilliam Playing Fields yesterday evening (29/05) to win the 2020-21 Cuppers title.

Saturday’s combination of the Cuppers final and summer weather brought a strong crowd to the field for both sides. With the tournament coming to a close, Fitz looked to earn their fourteenth title, while Homerton was prepared to make a claim for its very first Cuppers trophy.

Beginning the fixture with an intent to stamp out underdog claims, Homerton winger Sam Davies came close to converting a bullet corner that fired across the Fitz goalmouth, putting the match favourites in an uncomfortable position just seconds into the game. Ten minutes later, fellow wide-man Jack Wilson-Smith continued to pile on the pressure with a well-struck effort intended for the bottom corner, forcing Fitz keeper Adib Badri into making a superb fingertip save to guide the ball past the post.

Exploiting the pace of Wilson-Smith proved to be a fruitful option for the Homerton side, with central-midfielder Louie Roberts constantly looking for the diagonal ball that left Fitz scrambling to shuffle across their final third. On the thirty-minute mark, Wilson-Smith delivered an inviting cross that was met by the pinpoint volley of attacker Grayson Allen, looking to nestle itself into the top-right corner until firmly denied by another Badri rejection. Five minutes later, Wilson-Smith again provided the outlet for Roberts’s distribution, bursting into the penalty area and getting off an attempt that was only just stopped by full-back Hector Cox’s block. Fitz’s defence found themselves truly vulnerable for the first time in the competition.

"Saturday’s combination of the Cuppers final and summer weather brought a strong crowd to the field for both sides"Levente Koroes

At the other end of the field, Fitz’s classic attacking threat looked ineffectual against a well-organised Homerton backline. Rather than probing the wings like usual, Fitz turned to last week’s hat-trick hero Lumi Kanwei as a way through the seemingly unbreakable wall, but to no avail. Despite a side-netting effort on the stroke of halftime, Kanwei was astutely monitored by the opposing defence, with centre-back Ben Grischeff’s hardened tackle on the attacking-midfielder epitomising this dominance. Going into a goalless halftime, the momentum was very much in Homerton’s favour, boasting the best chances of the first forty-five.

Coming out of the break, both teams failed to take control of the second half’s early minutes, subjecting the ball to a game of ‘the floor is lava’. Fitz centre-back Cavan Farrow’s headed chance from a sixtieth-minute corner was the brightest moment of this mini-game.

Allen’s strike in the seventieth-minute at last broke the stalemate, making amends for his saved effort in the first half. With a beautifully-hit first-time volley, the Homerton forward planted his effort into the top-right corner of the net. Putting the touted underdogs 0-1 up, the Cuppers trophy looked ready to be “coming Hom”.

The Homerton team with their runners-up medalsLevente Koroes

However, Homerton’s celebrations proved to be short-lived, as Fitz responded in quick fashion with an equaliser from winger Sean Peddle just one minute later. In spite of dealing with a dangerous through ball on the perimeter of his box, keeper Kenji Misawa parried the ball into Peedle’s path, who then took the time to set himself up for a composed finish into the open goal.

With the game now wide open, Fitz finally found the attacking stride that so easily got them to their position in the final. Five minutes after Peedle’s conversion, full-back Tom Young glided into the unguarded territory of Homerton’s penalty area and calmly slotted what proved to be a match-winner into the bottom-right corner of Misawa’s net.


Mountain View

Fitzwilliam and Homerton book their place in this year’s Cuppers final

Closing out the final at 2-1, Fitz took advantage of a Homerton team that saw their slender lead fall apart when it mattered most. Yet, given the mismatch of recent form and tournament history between the two sides, Joe Lockhart’s men gave a solid account of themselves on the grand stage. Nonetheless, Fitz make it their fifth Cuppers title in as many years, including the shared trophy with Queens’ in 2019-20 due to Covid-19, and Badri sees no sign of the “Fitz factory” letting up.

Catching up with Varsity after the match, the Fitz captain praised the “quality throughout” of his side, and described the team’s attitude towards the tournament as “five Cuppers games, five cup finals”, treating every fixture as a shot at the silverware. Meanwhile the wait goes on for Homerton, this year’s worthy runners-up, to claim their first Cuppers trophy.


Fitzwilliam I: Adib Badri (C), Tom Young, Cavan Farrow, Jake Marshall, Hector Cox, Ellis Birch, Sonny McPherson, Lumi Kanwei, Jed Odagbu, Sean Peedle, Theo Williamson

Subs: Ben Shires, Olamide Ogunnaike, Tom Wake, Elias Bresnick, Tom Randall

Homerton I: Kenji Misawa, Noah Palombo, Max Asseily, Ben Grischeff, Joe Lockhart (C), Fred Sayer, Louie Roberts, Grayson Allen, Jack Wilson-Smith, Sam Davies, Cyprian Kucaj

Subs: Funto Coker, Kosi Nwuba, Matt Walters, Alex Dunn, Vincent Martin