Fitz to Meet Queens’ in Cuppers Final
Fitz edge past Pembroke while Queens’ thrash Churchill to set up a Cup-final clash.
Pembroke 1-2 Fitz
Queens’ 4-1 Churchill
Fitz will play Queens’ in the final of this year’s Cuppers football after the two sides beat Pembroke and Churchill on Sunday.
Fitz, in the day’s earlier kick off, ended Pembroke’s excellent run in the competition this season, as two goals in three first half minutes decided the game.
Todorov tricks his way past a defender
The visitors, playing on a tiny pitch, which had perhaps been chosen to bring them down to the level of their lower ranked opponents, showed intent from the first whistle. The first kick of the game, a shot from the half-way line, almost floated over Andy Bell, but the Pembroke keeper reacted well to get back and hold the ball.
The narrow pitch meant that the game became congested, with tackles flying in and little space for either side to demonstrate great quality on the ball in the opening 30 minutes.
Aerial clashes dominated a cagey opening half-hour
Both sides were threatened from long throws, but with half-time approaching the deadlock was still yet to be broken.
Then, on 38 minutes, Pembroke failed to deal with a corner, and Paul Hartley lashed in a shot from the corner of the box, which gave Bell no chance.
Bell can do nothing as the ball flashes past him
The goal shocked the home side somewhat, and just three minutes later they were two down. Teodor Todorov got the ball down the right, beat two men with a couple of stepovers before delivering a superb cross which Fitz captain Vince Bennici headed home at the back post.
Bennici heads in after a sumptuous cross
Pembroke came out fighting in the second half, and got one goal back 20 minutes from time when Max Whitby received the ball down the right hand channel and fired brilliantly over James Gillingham from outside the box.
Whitby’s strike sails over the ‘keeper
The hosts pushed for an equaliser, Abrose Camozzi-Pistoja and Peter Harries both causing problems for the Division One defence, but Dummet and Bogle at the back for Fitz held firm.
Bell reacts brilliantly to pull off a stunning save
In the end it was the visitors who came closest to scoring near the end, but Bell produced a stunning save to keep it at 2-1.
The win was met with jubilation from the vociferous band of Fitz fans, who mobbed their side at the final whistle.
In the other semi final Queens’ beat Churchill 4-1 in a game where three penalties converted, and a couple more good appeals turned down. Sam Bowker ended up with a hat-trick (including the 2 pens) from midfield while Ted Hayden scored the fourth after Nidhish Sugumar’s shot hit the post.
Queens’ were in control throughout, leading 3-0 at half-time, and though Churchill put up a spirited fight after getting a goal back they never really looked like getting a result.
First Division Fitz will take on promotion-hunting Queens’ at Grange Road on Monday night, with both sides sure to be doing everything in their power to bring home the coveted cuppers trophy.
Photos by Tim Sherrington