Loughborough Students reach Challenge Cup final

Loughborough Students starting eleven ahead of the semi-final at Holmes Park.
Photo credit: Alexandra Johnson

Loughborough Students FC emerged triumphant on Tuesday 5 March, securing a hard-fought victory over Barwell FC in the Leicestershire & Rutland Challenge Cup semi-final.

Loughborough Students player, James Cook in action during Tuesday's game

The team’s resilience shone through as they claimed the win over their opponents, who currently compete two divisions higher than LSFC.

Momentum shifted in Loughborough's favour just before halftime when James Cook's header, following an exceptional delivery from Halim Bangura, put them ahead. The teams entered the break with Loughborough leading 1-0.

Barwell FC mounted a determined effort in the second half, managing to equalise through a well-executed free kick. Despite the pressure, Loughborough's defence remained solid, denying Barwell any further opportunities to score.

Neither side could break the deadlock during full time, sending the match to penalties. Dylan Edwards, Josh Wicks, Jonty Bouch, and Sam Fielding all converted their penalties flawlessly. Goalkeeper Toby Larsen's crucial save further bolstered Loughborough's chances.

In a thrilling climax, Ryan Hayes sealed Loughborough's victory with a clinical finish, securing a final score of Barwell FC 1-1 Loughborough Students (3-5 on penalties).

Captain Ollie Parsons commented, "Tuesday's semi-final was an intense, physical, and fast-paced fixture. Barwell posed several threats while being a tough defensive unit."

Parsons added, “This group is still developing, and while we are proud of this result, we are focused on the final, alongside a push for a playoff finish that would give us the potential of promotion."

Loughborough Students will face Anstey Nomads in the Challenge Cup final at Holmes Park - date TBC.