The Panthers are through to the quarter finals of the GFSN cup after a gruelling 4-1 win over our good friends Leftfooters FC.
The Leftfooters started off strong and used their pace to unsettle the Panthers in the early going, immediately giving the back three of Rob, Ross and JD work to do. The Panthers broke back, and Steve was unlucky not to score against his former side, with his shot rattling off the crossbar. The Footers' early intensity paid off, however, as their forwards were able to break and use the space, pushing past the defence and lobbed goalkeeper Fozzy. Fozzy got a hand to it, but it wasn't enough to stop the home side drawing the first goal.
Going behind focused the Panthers minds, and particularly pushed forward down the right wing with Dan working hard to push the ball forward. Midfielders Dean and Joe kept the pressure on, and Marlow put in a solid shift on the left wing. The persistence paid off and the Panthers broke back after a counterattack saw Dan play the ball across to Chris who finished the attack off to draw level. The rest of the half was a tense affair, with both teams trying to capture the lead going into the break. The Panthers earned a number of corners but heroic saves from the Footers keeper kept things tied. That would be a theme that continued into the second half.
The second half saw both teams doing their damndest to avoid taking things to penalties. But for 35 minutes, neither team could break the deadlock. Both teams had chances, with the Footers in particular using good pace and forcing some strong defensive play and forcing Fozzy to gather the ball up. At the Leftfooters' end, the Panthers forced corner after corner, but the Footers' goalkeeper more than earned his salary, pulling off save after improbable save! Mike and Chris both had spectacular shots denied.
Josh was brought on for Joe, and his attacking mentality finally put the Panthers in the driving seat. The persistence paid off at 80 minutes when he received the ball to the right of goal and finally bested the keeper by cutting it across to put the Panthers ahead 2-1.
It always felt inevitable that the team that broke the deadlock would reap the rewards, and the Panthers were able to see off the game with two further goals. Josh got his second after a goal kick went awry. Josh got the ball and was able to take it past the keeper. Shortly afterwards, Chris got on the end of a long ball midfield and finally got the ball into the net!
It was a strong display from both teams, despite some nervy play particularly in the second half. Particular credit goes to man of the match Josh. The Panthers now progress to the quarter finals for the first time in our history!