So often in closely-contested leagues like the GFSN, everything can come down to one goal. That's why when the scoring taps came on last Saturday, the Panthers wanted the goals to keep coming. The only downside was that meant that our neighbours and friends the Cardiff Dragons - despite a never-say-die attitude - succumbed to a 10-0 defeat in Bristol.
The scoreline belied the Dragons' attacking spirit, and in the early going they put pressure on the Panthers' left flank - testing Joe and Jonathan's defensive skills early. Ross and Carl also their share of work to do keeping the Dragons' striker at bay.
The Panthers, however, were strong on the counter. That paid off early when Steve Campbell played a ball over the top of the defence, where Mike Green was waiting with a half-volley which sent the ball into the net. Mike would go on to score 2 more in the first half. His second came after the Dragons' keeper tried to defend a lob from midfield, only for the ball to fall to Mike to put it past him. Before the break Mike would strike again, after capitalising on some great passing play between Charlie and Dean, who pushed the ball forward and fed the ball through for the diminutive striker to slot home. His goal-scoring prowess saw Mike earn the well-deserved man of the match award.
Mike's striking partner Chris also got on the score sheet in the first half - twice. One of his goald saw him capitalise after a strong run down the wing from Dan. Dan's strike hit the post but Chris was there to ensure the ball made it into the net. Thanks to the Miles-Green dream team, the Panthers went into half time 5-0 up.
The second half saw gaffer Kevin make some changes. Chris made way for Josh, and later in the half, Rob game on for JD, Kurtis came on for Joe, and George came on for Charlie. Later in the match Glenn also made an appearance and impressed hugely at left back.
Mike Green struck again to get on the scoresheet in the second half. Defensive stalwart Ross was there with the assist after a pass that put Mike through one-on-one with the keeper - a contest Mike got the better of.
Other goals in the second half were shared more evenly across the team. The wingers - Dan and Joe - put in strong work, but it was Dan who was rewarded with a spot on the scoresheet. His run down the right wing, allowed him to whip the ball in and to see the ball cross the line (ably assisted by the goalpost!)
Josh also made an impact after coming on, firing home two goals - one being a particularly precise strike from the edge of the area. Dean (still smarting from two man of the match awards with sub-par prizes) also opened his 'golden boot' campaign. A corner created a melee in the Dragon's box, and a strike from Dean saw him open his account - though it was with batied breath as Dan was inches away from getting a foot to it to claim it as his own!
It was a dominating performance from the Panthers, but credit is surely due to the Dragons - who continued to play the game with spirit and with courage. If one of their early attacks had borne fruit, it may well have changed the complexion of the game. We wish them the very very best for the rest of their campaign, and extend the hand of friendship to welcome them to Bristol again any time!