Bristol Panthers returned to the GFSN league yesterday, hosting East End Phoenix at home. Despite a spirited performance in our first match back in an 11-a-side league, the Panthers came up short as Phoenix won 2-0.
Phoenix edged ahead in the first half after they finally broke through the Panthers' defence - despite a valiant attempted save from the goalkeeper, the ball bobbled over the line to put the visitors ahead. The Panthers hung on for the rest of the second half, however, frustrating the Phoenix attack. The home side could even have went into the break 1-1, were it not for the pesky offside flag!
The second half saw some changes at the back and a switch to a more aggressive attacking formation. This produced some more attacking play, and some good chances for the hosts, but left Panthers vulnerable to being caught on the break - particularly down the wing. And on one such break, Phoenix managed to slip through and score a second. Panthers fought to the very end, but couldn't get the break to get a goal back. When the final whistle blew, the visitors had earned a 2-0 win.
Despite the loss, there were a lot of positives for us to take forward to our next league game against the London Leftfooters in October. Phoenix are a strong and experienced team, and on a number of occasions we were able to frustrate their attack and create chances. And above all, it was a fun, competitive game, and a very promising return to 11-a-side football.
And crucially, we all had an excellent time with post-match pizza at Bristol Bear Bar, and drinks and dancing at the Queenshilling!
Huge thanks to everyone who put such a shift in on the pitch, and for the supporters who came along to cheer us all along. (And a special shout-out to chairman Rob, who acted as linesman for the game!)