Corpus Christi earned their first win of the season in a 3-5 victory over Queens’ IAnnie Huang

With the Cuppers first round all tied up after last week’s fixtures, league football returned this weekend (06/11 to 07/11) for its third set of games. Corpus Christi, Pembroke I, and Fitzwilliam I, defeated Queens’ I, Downing I, and Robinson I respectively. Churchill I drew with Gonville & Caius I, as did Homerton I against St John’s I.

Meanwhile, Fitzwilliam and Corpus played their rescheduled season opener last Sunday (31/10), with Fitz storming to a convincing 5-2 victory.

Queens’ 3 - 5 Corpus Christi

Saturday’s (06/11) opening game produced an end-to-end affair between Queens’ and Corpus Christi, with the away side deservedly thumping a lacklustre Queens’ side.

Queens’, who came into the game without the dangerous attacking presence of Jay Paul, were on top for most of the first half, spurning a handful of one-on-ones before testing busy Corpus keeper Ben Mulley early on from a dangerous freekick.

Corpus threatened on the counter, however, and midway through the first half the excellent Marcus Hicks came close to breaking the deadlock, hitting the post from outside the box. No matter for Corpus though, as against the run of play their equally masterful centre-back Arun Thirunavukarasu prodded home from close range after a goal-line scramble, making it 0-1.

Queens’ continued to threaten through the remainder of the half yet, in all too familiar fashion, were not quite able to convert their chances. The break came and it seemed that Queens’ would quickly pull one back in the second 45.

But this couldn’t have been further from the truth. In almost a carbon copy of their game two weeks ago against Churchill, Queens’ fell apart by conceding just seconds into the half. Corpus’s goal was a thing of beauty, as Dan Ley was played in, cut inside, and finished calmly, rolling the ball into the far corner to double the away side’s lead at 0-2.

In response, Queens’ looked to have the ball over the line following an episode of goalmouth chaos, but the referee said no. Seconds later, however, the hosts won a penalty after a cynical handball on the line, which was cooly converted by Lewis Bocking to make it 1-2.

Comeback on? Unfortunately not. Corpus were unphased and the floodgates opened. Seb Baynes scored on the counter moments later, followed in quick succession by Hicks with a lovely lob to bury Queens’ under a 1-4 avalanche. Thirunavukarasu’s bullet header from a corner made it 1-5 with little time to go.

But Queens’ didn’t give up, as they scored two consolation goals in the final ten minutes from Ben Harvey and Elliott Christensen respectively, and may look back on the no-goal decision early in the second half as crucial to the outcome. Despite losing concentration towards the end, Corpus dominated a wonderful second half of football and deserved their victory.

Player of the match: Marcus Hicks

Queens’ I: Vincent Yung, Elliott Christensen, Konstantin Hemker, Ilyaz Sayenko, Joe Giles, Oscar Selby, Paul Jüsten, Ben Harvey, Ed McCarthy (C), Toby Clark, Lewis Bocking

Substitutes: Alberto Ferro, Ben Sutton

Corpus Christi: Ben Mulley, Arun Thirunavukarasu, Sam Rogers, Michael Hare, Matthew Sutcliffe, Cos Burdett (C), Will Huddleston, Marcus Hicks, Seb Baynes, Dan Ley

Substitutes: Matt Jayasekara, Zack Hilburn, Aneesh Chopada, Jake Barker

Pembroke 3 - 1 Downing

The unbeaten Pembroke took on out-of-form Downing in Saturday’s second game.

Pembroke started the match electrically, going ahead within the first five minutes. Captain Tele Agusto floated in a free kick from the left towards the back post and centre-back Matthew Hawthorn opened up his body to meet it with a deft side-foot, putting the home team 1-0 up. Soon after, Oliver Reed controlled a flick on and played the ball over the the Downing defenders for Sonny Mahendran to finish into the bottom corner.

After going 2-0 down early on, Downing pushed to find a way back into the game, using Milo Lammin as a target man with Lemuel Osei-Biney often able to run on to his flick-ons and drive at the Pembroke defence.

The rest of the first half didn’t see too many more clear-cut chances, but Pembroke were able to take a 3-0 lead going into the break. Jack Seery received the ball with his back to goal in the Downing box, took a touch to turn, and then blasted it into keeper Frankie Merriman’s top-left corner.

The second half saw Downing start better. There were a few threatening opportunities for both teams, but a combination of poor finishing and fantastic saves from both keeper’s kept the score at 3-0.

With ten minutes to go, a stray foot caught Charlie O’Leary in a crowded Pembroke area, giving Downing the chance to pull a goal back from the spot. The skipper, Richard Gotts, stepped up to take it and calmly paused during his run-up to send Cameron Keith the wrong way before putting the ball to his left.

Despite their best efforts, Downing were unable to add to their tally and Pembroke defended their corners and long throws resolutely to seal the win.

Player of the match: Jack Seery

Pembroke I: Cameron Keith, Dan Babalola, Matt Hawthorn, Josh O’Connell, Toby Parsloe, Tele Agusto (C), Ollie Reed, Tom Dixon, Gareth Morgan, Jack Seery, Sonny Mahendran

Substitutes: Adian Liusie, James Brownsey

Downing I: Frankie Merriman, Cody Roth, Richard Gotts (C), Ryan Francis, Hasan Al-Habib, Tim Wallace, Sam Healy, Lemuel Osei-Biney, Ren Iioka, Milo Lammin, Charlie O’Leary

Substitutes: Josh Sassoon, Nick Granados, Robbie Smith

Churchill 2 - 2 Gonville & Caius

Sunday’s mid-afternoon kick off had Churchill take on Gonville & Caius.

The game began with some marvellous link-up play from Churchill, who were met by a cool and composed Caius defence.

Caius ramped up their attack only to be denied by a commanding Robert Smyth, who stepped up to replace injured Churchill captain Sagar Agrawal in the net. An electrifying solo run and an equally tidy finish by Jocelino Rodrigues soon gave Churchill a 1-0 breakthrough in the 25th minute.

Just seven minutes later, Churchill doubled their lead after a cracking long-range assist from goalkeeper Smyth, giving goalscorer Ed Wicken the perfect opportunity to cement the home side’s 2-0 advantage going into the break.

With the start of the second half, Caius brought all the energy they had been lacking in the first 45, as a flurry of chances saw Churchill’s defense bombarded by an excellent display of pace and physicality.

Caius captain James Wiseman was able to bring one back for the losing side through a beautiful finesse shot gifted to him by Charlie Wilson in the 58th minute, making it 2-1. And it didn’t take long for Caius to level the scoreline, as a neat free kick into the box by Tom Burke led to an equaliser from playmaker-turned-scorer Wilson on the 60-minute mark.

From then on it was end-to-end football, as both sides were in search of another much-needed goal. A stomach-churning last fifteen minutes saw both Caius’ Finlay Gerrand and Churchill’s Smyth produce some excellent saves to ensure that the points were shared between the two sides.

Player of the match: Jocelino Rodrigues

Churchill I: Robert Smyth, Alex Perrin, Sam Ernest, Dan Lofts, Ed Stevenson, Miguel EG, Conor O’Neill, Joe Helm, Jocelino Rodrigues, Ed Wicken, Callum Farrow

Substitutes: Elorm Avevor, George Colville, Tom Burke

Gonville & Caius I: Finlay Gerrand, Ollie Babcock, Tom Burke, Charlie Wilson, Alex Edwards, Sam Odu, Naz Mohammed, James Wiseman (C), Frank Gill, Nick Stuart, Amrit Gill

Substitutes: Josh Monk, Alex Mair, Aidan Atkinson

Homerton 1 - 1 St John’s

Homerton hosted St John’s in the penultimate fixture of the weekend. The home side were without centre-back Max Asseily and last week’s scorers Louie Roberts and Haeden Johnson, while the dangerous front three of Jack Burt, Josh Adeyemi, and Aineias Arango stood strong for John’s.

The opening ten minutes were gripped by incessant wing-play from both teams. Homerton constantly tested the John’s full backs through Torres Ng and Vincent Martin, and the visitors were answering back with Burt trying his luck against left-back Noah Palombo.

Homerton’s Torres Ng battled with the John’s defence down the wingLiam Kline

Assaily’s absence meant that captain Joe Lockhart and Rony Chowdhry, both usually full backs, formed a makeshift defensive pairing for Homerton. But John’s striker Adeyemi was firmly kept quiet by the duo.

John’s enjoyed the game’s first chance in the 30th minute, with winger Burt eventually getting the better of Palombo to slip Arango in for a close-range effort that was scuffed wide of the post.

Homerton keeper Lance Burn’s drop kicks to Torres proved the most threatening line of attack for the hosts, while Adeyemi’s physical presence was often on the fringes of producing something for the visitors only to be halted by Chowdhry – deadlock carried the matchup into its half-time break.

The second half, however, saw Homerton snap the tie in less than a minute. Midfielder Omar Shakir drilled a long free kick into the John’s box that was met by Cyprian Kucaj, beating keeper Mark Robinson to the ball and tucking his header into the back of the net for 1-0.

Going into the final third of the affair, both sides failed to produce any chances that carried real threat. Yet John’s struck back in the 80th minute to even the tie at 1-1, with substitute Jaeheon Shim taking advantage of Burn’s premature effort to gather, knocking it past him for an open goal.

Ending all square, both sides deserved to share a point, while Lockhart will likely be pleased with the result given the injury-ridden state of his squad.

Player of the match: Rony Chowdhry

Homerton I: Lance Burn, Noah Palombo, Folami Iyiola, Joe Lockhart (C), Rony Chowdhry, Fred Sayer, Omar Shakir, Funto Coker, Vincent Martin, Torres Ng, Cyprian Kucaj

Substitutes: Alex Highland, Sean Kamau

St John’s I: Mark Robinson, Rob Ritchie, Matt Ball, Jacob Davies, Will Pocock, Tomos Mather, Jack Burt, Sang Wee, Josh Adeyemi, Lucca Martins, Aineias Arango

Substitutes: Ben Herring, Jaeheon Shim, Naylin Naidu

Robinson 0 - 8 Fitzwilliam

Fitzwilliam cemented their CUAFL title credentials as they put eight past a depleted Robinson on a bracing Sunday afternoon.

Robinson, missing top scorer George Pugh and Blues centre-back Henry Lambert, were under pressure from the off, as Fitz winger Ben Shires hit the bar three minutes in after some excellent link-up play between midfielders Cass Ashworth and Lumi Kanwei.

Growing into the game, Fitzwilliam’s patient build-up play was frustrated not only by a well-structured Robinson defence, but also due to the narrow and vertical pitch, limiting the effectiveness of the Fitz wingers.

A breakthrough for Fitz, however, came in the 32nd minute, as a corner from the consistently tricky Olamide Ogunnaike was headed past the keeper by towering centre-half Josh Douglas.

At the stroke of half-time, Fitz were in total control of the game, but could not turn their dominance into goals with the effervescent Lumi Kanwei denied by the woodwork an unbelievable three times in the first half alone.

To make the path to victory clearer, Fitz captain Sonny McPherson subbed himself on for the second forty-five to inject some extra creativity in central midfield.

The substitution paid dividends as, shortly after Kanwei hit the post for a fourth time in the 62nd minute, Fitz doubled their lead as midfielder Cass Ashworth latched on to a beautifully weighted cross from a deep position by Ogunnaike.


Mountain View

Goals galore in the opening round of Cuppers football

With Robinson holding on by a thread, the marauding Fitz attackers were denied only by smart saves from goalkeeper Tarush Bansal and the woodwork - Kanwei for a fifth time.

Kanwei finally found the target in the 75th minute, played in behind the defence by Harry Houillon. Two minutes later, a frustrated Robinson defender left a leg on McPherson in the box, resulting in a penalty which was duly dispatched by the Fitz captain to make it 0-4.

In the 81st minute, Fitzwilliam substitute Jathavan Thavarajah scored a cracking goal, blistering the top corner with a thunderous effort form outside the box, again assisted by Houillon.

Two minutes later, Houillon got one of his own as, heading home a Tom Randall corner to make it six for the visitors.

Four minutes from time, Kanwei made it seven as he scored from a quick break following a Robinson corner, with Houillon notching up a hat-trick of assists.

Seconds before the full-time whistle, Captain Fantastic McPherson completed the 8-0 rout against a Robinson defence who seemed taken aback at the sheer brutality of the Fitz attack.

Player of the match: Lumi Kanwei

Robinson I: Tarush Bansal, Vissarion Christodoulou, Jamie Gammell (C), Romano Magnani Tucci, Ronan Cons, Will Wakelam, Alex Loan, Percy Verity, Andre Stefanescu, Makafui Avevor, Jack Barnes

Substitutes: Ben Blunt

Fitzwilliam I: Adam Haffner, Cavan Farrow, Josh Douglas, George Smith, Codrin Moisoi, Cassidy Ashworth, Tom Randall, Lumi Kanwei, Ben Shires, Harry Houillon, Olamide Ogunnaike

Substitutes: Sonny McPherson, Gareth Effion, Tom Wake

Next weekend’s fixtures can be found here.