Fitz win (again)Natalie Stott

Fitzwilliam stormed back from a halftime deficit to capture their seventh-consecutive cuppers title in this Friday’s cuppers final (12/05). Having been frustrated by a stern Pembroke defence during the first half, the Fitz juggernaut burst into life after the break. With livewire Sonny McPherson running the show from midfield, the floodgates soon opened on an already waterlogged pitch at Oxford Road.

A stunning goal from Pembroke’s goalkeeper Brian Bo Lakämper brought life to an otherwise soulless opening half. Fitz struggled to advance beyond a compact Pembroke midfield and a nervy start for the reigning champions’ goalkeeper warned of things to come. Sam Larcombe Tee, the keeper in question, gave Pembroke their best chance of the half through a miscued clearance which landed at the feet of striker Jack Seery. The front-man advanced into the box and shaped up to shoot, but a recovering Cassidy Ashworth stole the ball away at the last second.

With an uninspiring half approaching its conclusion, Lakämper gave the fans some much needed drama. Discarding any notion of a “Goalkeepers Union”, Lakämper took aim at his counterpart’s goal. His precise dropkick (or aimless hoof, depending on who you ask) soared beyond the Fitz-back line and bounced high off the damp turf, looping over a despairing Larcombe Tee and into the back of the Fitzwilliam net.

With their crown slipping, Fitz made a determined start to the second half. Behind the talismanic play of the marauding McPherson, the maroons began their onslaught on the Pembroke goal. Driving forward from midfield, the midfielder fizzed a long-range effort narrowly over. With fellow maestro Tom Randall now taking the reins, Fitz threatened again. A delicate chipped ball looked sure to find the onrushing Asa Campbell, but Ross Harrison raced across to clear Pembroke’s lines.

With the pressure mounting, Fitz found the equaliser. A careless throw-in lost possession for Pembroke, spilling out to Fitz’s Lumi Kanwei on the edge of the Pembroke box. Kanwei then fired goalwards, and his deflected effort found the top lefthand corner.


Mountain View

Feisty Fitz force Cuppers semi

Buoyed by the equaliser, the men in maroon quickly claimed the lead. Complacent following a string of uncharacteristically poor first-half free-kicks from Randall, Pembroke conceded a free-kick 30 yards from goal. Campbell claimed set-piece duties on this occasion and was vindicated as his curling effort caught Lakämper off his line.

With Pembroke limp in attack, the impetus remained with the home-side. Mcpherson continued to impress, troubling Lakämper with a fizzed effort from outside the box. Another burst from the enterprising midfielder won Fitz a free-kick on the edge of the box, and Campbell stepped up again. His curled effort looked destined for the far corner, but a good save denied the winger his second of the contest. Fitz’s third came shortly after, with Campbell’s fellow winger Ola Ogunnaike pouncing on a loose ball in the box and finishing in style.

A strong save to deny Kanwei prevented a Fitz fourth, and Pembroke restored hope at the other end. A tidy finish across goal gave the visiting side hope, but McPherson quickly extinguished the visitors’ reignition. A crunching tackle from Campbell sent the ball into Theo Williamson’s path. The striker’s effort was palmed away, but only as far as McPherson, who slid the ball home.

The final whistle confirmed victory for a ferocious Fitzwilliam outlet, who hoisted the prestigious trophy for the seventh year running.

Varsity POTM: Sonny McPherson (Fitz)