Fitz/Corpus celebrate after the matchNicola Jones with permission for Varsity

Fitz/Corpus defended solidly and finished lethally to deprive Jesus of yet another victory in the women’s and non-binary football Cuppers, and to complete a Fitz clean sweep of this year’s competition. On a grey and windy day on home turf up at Oxford Road, Fitz/Corpus were visions in maroon, tracking and tackling the Jesus midfield and tricking the defence with expertly waited through balls.

The match began in slightly less auspicious circumstances. Fitz/Corpus lined up labouring the misapprehension that the halves would be 45 minutes long, rather than 30 minutes as is standard in a Cuppers match. The revelation that the match would be shorter prompted a threat to void the match if they lost and a shout in anger at CUAFC’s League Secretary. Thankfully for his ears, Fitz/Corpus put this anger into their tackles instead.

Jesus entered the match as favourites, and their early dominance seemed to confirm this tag. They threatened the Fitz/Corpus defence from the off, as through balls from their midfield duo of Anna Herr and Izzy Boothroyd found Kaya Hardie, whose direct running stretched the backline. One such ball from Boothroyd was a piece of beauty. Clipped, it immediately turned the opposition defence towards their own net; Hardie almost latched onto it, but an excellent recovery from left-back Georgia McConachie ensured it was only a corner. A succession of well-hit Boothroyd corners followed, but Fitz/Corpus used their impressive height to neutralise the threat.

Such rigid defending was not present at the other end. Through-balls from Nia Hall and Nina Valenbreder in the Fitz/Corpus midfield inevitably found their striker and only some good positioning from Mia Barnes prevented a goal. This pressure soon told as a short corner found its way to the edge of the box and Hall, who curled the ball magnificently into the far corner to give her team the lead before halftime.


Mountain View

Fitz edge out Newnbroke to make final

Fitz carried on this pressure once the second half started. More direct running at Jesus resulted in a succession of corners, taken by McConachie. One of them looped up, beguiling the goalkeeper and then bouncing around the box, before being prodded in to put Fitz/Corpus 2-0 up. Jesus had to find a way back into the game. Boothroyd tried to create, dropping deeper from her usual attacking midfield position to find Hardie with a searching cross-field pass. Again though, McConachie was there, intercepting and then going on a marauding run down the left flank. It was not only in defence where Jesus were stopped. Herr and Boothroyd were increasingly neutralised by Valenbreder’s manmarking and Fitz/Corpus’ tactics of kicking them from pillar to post.

Aside from such physical intimidation, the maroon machine remained the most dangerous team in footballing terms. As Jesus pushed in vain for a way back into the game, their keeper had to make a good save after a deflection off the Jesus centre-back almost found its way into her own net. Barnes’ brilliant positioning and a miss from Fitz/Corpus’ right winger ensured that the match finished at only 2-0 to Fitz/Corpus, ending Jesus’ recent run of Cuppers success.

Varsity POTM: Georgia McConachie