Gonville & Caius I, who won the Plate last season (pictured above), beat Queens’ I 7-3 on Saturday (14/11)Gonville & Caius AFC/@caiusafc

In the penultimate round of fixtures for this Michaelmas term, Gonville & Caius I beat Queens’ I, while Robinson I and Downing I drew with Pembroke I and St John’s I respectively. Both the Corpus Christi-Churchill I and Fitzwilliam I-Homerton I games were postponed.

Downing 1 - 1 St John’s

St John’s would have left the happier of the two teams in Saturday afternoon’s (14/11) opening fixture, as Downing failed to turn their dominance to goals in what was a scrappy affair.

The hosts took the lead twenty minutes in after a scruffy free-kick from fit-again captain Richard Gotts from 25-yards out somehow bounced its way through the John’s defence and into the far corner of keeper Mark Robinson’s net.

The remainder of the first half was a fast-paced and physical affair, as Downing, boosted by the long-awaited return of Nick Granados in midfield, put the John’s back-line under constant pressure. Lemuel Osei-Biney was a constant menace with his silky dribbling and blistering pace down the right.

However, John’s were always ready to hit Downing on the counter, with Joshua Adeyemi and Sang Wee in particular looking threatening for the visitors. But a 2016/17 Dunk/Duffy-esque bodies on the line performance from Downing centre-back pairing Jojo Jenner and Josh Sassoon meant that John’s really only threatened from range for the rest of the first 45.

The second half was an even more disjointed affair as crunching tackles from both teams disrupted the flow of the game and made the blood run red, with Gotts receiving a yellow for a nasty challenge on John’s midfielder Lucca Martins.

Fifteen minutes from time, John’s got an equaliser as captain and centre-half Will Pocock muscled his way past the Downing defenders to head home a Matt Ball corner.

Pocock’s jubilant celebrations, however, only served to rile both teams up even more, as the final fifteen minutes of the match threatened to boil over into more of an MMA fight than a football match, with flailing legs, arms, and elbows scuppering both sides’ chances of finding a winner.

Player of the match: Josh Sassoon

Downing I: Frankie Merriman, Cody Roth, Jojo Jenner, Josh Sassoon, Hasan Al-Habib, Tim Wallace, Sam Healy, Lemuel Osei-Biney, Ren Iioka, Milo Lammin, Richard Gotts (C)

Substitutes: Charlie O’Leary, Nick Granados, Robbie Smith, Ryan Francis

St John’s I: Mark Robinson, Ben Herring, Matt Ball, Lucca Martins, Will Pocock (C), Robert Ritchie, Jack Burt, Sang Wee, Josh Adeyemi, Tomos Mather, Aineias Arango

Substitutes: Jaeheon Shim, Naylin Naidu

Gonville & Caius 7 - 3 Queens’

In Saturday’s second matchup, Caius demolished a sorry Queens’ side in a convincing encounter.

Recently, Queens’ have managed to start their matches strongly, but this was the opposite. Before they even got the ball in the Caius half, the home side scored, with James Wiseman threading a stupendous pass through to onrushing winger Frank Gill who rounded the keeper and finished coolly to make it 1-0.

Queens’ were shell shocked, and Caius capitalised. Minutes later, it was 2-0 after marauding centre-back Charlie Wilson managed to somehow flick in an Alex Edwards cross from what looked to be an impossible angle.

Soon it was three, with Nick Stuart poking in following a goal-line scramble, then four after half an hour, as Tom Burke curled a low free kick into the corner from the edge of the area.

Caius, however, took their foot off the gas momentarily and out of nowhere, Queens’ pulled one back as Paul Jüsten broke free and slid the ball nicely under keeper Wills Wynn Thomas. But this minor setback reawakened Caius, and literally seconds after the restart they had the ball in the net for a fifth time, as Nick Stuart headed in his brace. Caius’ quality safely put the game to bed by half-time, with the score standing at 5-1.

Queens’ did come out stronger in the second period, leading to Caius giving away two cheap goals; the first slammed in by Jonah Weiniger after yet another goal-line scramble, while the second coming from Toby Clark, who converted a cross unmarked at the back post.

Caius responded calmly and, like in the first half, scored less than a minute after Queens’, this time through Burke from the penalty spot for his second and Caius’ sixth. A few minutes later, Stuart bagged his hat trick with his third poacher’s finish of the day, firing one into an open net.

From then on, the game went flat, with the last twenty minutes having little merit. Caius played excellently and maintained their current unbeaten streak with panache, but Queens’ should be seriously worried: after four straight defeats, Division 2 beckons.

Player of the match: Nick Stuart

Gonville & Caius I: Wills Wynn Thomas, Ollie Babcock, Tom Burke, Charlie Wilson, Alex Edwards, Sam Odu, James Wiseman (C), Frank Gill, Nick Stuart Ethan Sorrell

Substitutes: Aidan Atkinson, Josh Monk, Amrit Gil

Queens’ I: Elliott Christensen, Ben Harvey, Ilyaz Sayenko, Joao Aranha, Joe Giles; Konstantin Hemker, Paul Jüsten, Ed McCarthy (C), Toby Clark, Will Gorman, Jonah Weiniger

Substitutes: Wesley Barrett, Ben Sutton, Oscar Selby

Robinson 1 - 1 Pembroke

On Tuesday afternoon (16/11), a Robinson side with Blues’ striker George Pugh restored to the lineup took on a Pembroke team yet to taste defeat this season.

Early on, Robinson went through after a wayward touch sent George Pugh on his way. However, Pembroke keeper Cameron Keith did well to close the angles and forced him wide, allowing the hosts’ centre-backs to recover to block the shot.

Taking advantage of this early pressure, Robinson took the lead fifteen minutes in after Percy Verity received the ball on the edge of the box and got away from his marker to curl a left-footed effort into the far corner.

Despite the setback, Pembroke remained on top for much of the first half, with left-winger Sonny Mahendran tormenting his opposite number and creating plenty of chances, although a combination of solid keeping and lack of ruthlessness denied the home side an equaliser.

Robinson also had a few chances and a couple of times flashed the ball across the Pembroke box without anyone arriving to apply a finishing touch. Pembroke did manage to respond with fifteen minutes to go in the first half, as left-back Toby Parsloe overlapped his winger and provided a neat cut back for Tom Dixon to put it in the top of the Robinson net, closing the opening 45 at a 1-1 stalemate.

In the second half, the pace of Robinson’s attackers caused frequent problems for the Pembroke defence. For the most part, the hosts were able to prevent clear-cut chances and conceded plenty of corners, but Pugh was able to get behind a few times following some excellent through balls from central-midfielder Will Wakelam and winger Makafui Avevor.

Pembroke’s Keith was able to stifle the threat on multiple occasions, but received a yellow card for handling on the edge of his box. Although nothing came of the free kick, a foul on Pugh in the box handed him the chance to put Robinson ahead from the spot. However, a strong penalty high and to the keeper’s left was phenomenally palmed away by Keith, denying the Blues’ striker and keeping Pembroke in the game.

The home team continued much of their fantastic link-up play from the first half, but again suffered from not taking their chances. Several shots from inside the box were either too close to the keeper or just off target, leaving captain Tele Agusto’s side frustrated with the deadlock. Robinson also forced a goal-line clearance from Pembroke at the other end before the final whistle. Although both sides will rue their missed chances to seize control of the game, the draw proved a fair result.

Player of the match: Sonny Mahendran

Robinson I: Tarush Bansal, Romano Magnani Tucci, Tom Pagett-Wright, Jamie Gammell (C), Ronan Cons, Will Wakelam, Alex Loan, Percy Verity, Makafui Avevor, George Pugh, Jack Barnes

Substitutes: Ben Blunt, Jamie Ellis

Pembroke I: Cameron Keith, Tom Happe, Josh O’Connell, Daniel Babalola, Toby Parole, Tele Agusto (C), Gareth Morgan, Tom Dixon, Will Holmes, Jack Seery, Sonny Mahendran

Substitutes: Oliver Reed

Looking ahead to next weekend (20/11 to 21/11), the rested sides of Fitzwilliam I and Churchill I will take on each other, while Homerton I and Corpus Christi will face Queens’ I and Robinson I respectively. Meanwhile, Gonville & Caius I and Pembroke I will both look to stretch their unbeaten streaks, with the former hosting Downing I and the latter paying St John’s I a visit.