The new year is upon us and already we are back at pitch side to cheer on the Panthers in their first match of 2014. Eleanor, Ruby, Lily and Shannon McShane, Lily Hughes, Lateisha, Millie, Madison, Chloe and Amy were all present for this opener to the second half of the season, with Ellie Gooch absent with a leg injury apparently suffered in something called “hockey”….I am told this is a silly game played with sticks and a hard ball, which sounds a bit like cricket, but you don’t have to play for five days and then end up with a draw…………unless you are England playing in Australia at any rate.

Shannon again captained the side and Rangers kicked off, this time with a full team, not the six who turned up for the encounter last year at Long Lane. The early chances went to the Panthers, with Lily Hughes, playing up front, shooting across goal and off target and Lily McShane hitting the bar and having a shot saved. The pressure mounted on the Rangers with a succession of corners and chances, but the Christmas cheer was still very much to the fore, with the Panthers leaving their shooting boots at home and seemingly playing in diving boots instead. This had the making of Wembley in 1973, where a much maligned goalkeeper by the name of Tomaszewski kept out almost everything England threw at him on a desperate night for English football that saw us bury our hopes of qualifying for the ’74 World cup by only getting a 1-1 draw. That was the first game I ever watched on television as a wide-eyed six year old. Happy days….or not if you think of the score.

To try to shake things up a little, Millie came off to be replaced by Lateisha after 13 minutes, Lateisha settling into a midfield role as a straight replacement.

With their aim continuing to go more wobbly than a drunk flamingo on ice skates, their shots weaker than a damp tissue in a strong wind and an increasing sense of unease in sections of the Panthers faithful, the girls battled on in a one-sided affair. The eighteen minute mark came with the scores still 0-0 and yet again the Panthers broke, though this time down their left, resulting in a corner. Lily McShane took the corner and fired it into the box, where her sister pounced on it, fired off a snapshot and, “YES!!!”, it whistled into the net to much relief in the travelling support. 1-0 to the Panthers. The Panthers finally had a reward for their dominance in this first half.

Ruby came off at half time, to be replaced in goal by Amy, and the Panthers kicked off the second half.

This second half started as the first had ended, except for the lack of a goal. The Panthers were again launching attack after attack, with shots deflected wide and corner after corner being played in. Lily Hughes hit the side netting, Eleanor saw a looping shot from another corner clear the numerous defenders in the box but unfortunately also go narrowly over the cross bar as the Rangers goalkeeper scrambled back to try and save it, the Panthers hit the bar and the post, but still it remained 1-0. All the Rangers needed was one chance and all the possession, all the unconverted chances and all the dominance would count for nothing. However, that chance did not come for the Rangers and the Panthers could not force the ball home, so it finished 1-0 to the away side and another victory for the Panthers in their first season together.

The Rangers had defended doggedly throughout, with a strong, physical, defensive presence that saw probably more fouls and subsequent free kicks for the Panthers than in any other game they have played. The Panthers simply could not break them down, the Mourinho-esque bus parked squarely in the Rangers penalty area refusing to move. That is something upon which they can work, but they will need to bring their poise in front of goal, develop greater power in their shooting and take their wider opportunities to open up such defences in future. More so than the Panthers, the Rangers are clearly a work in progress, with a solid defensive presence that will stand them in good stead as a foundation upon which to build an attacking threat.

Panthers can chalk this game off as a battle of attrition, but it is one they won and, although it was only 1-0, they won convincingly overall.


1 comment for this article:
  1. avatar

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search wyrleyjuniors.net

If you cannot find what you are looking for please get in touch via the contact page.

Report Abuse

CEOP helps any child or young person under the age of 18 who is being pressured, forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity of any kind. This can be something that has taken place either online or in 'the real world', or both. The CEOP Safety Centre has clear information and advice on what can be reported to CEOP, the reporting process and what will happen if you do decide to make a report. You can visit the CEOP Safety Centre and make a report directly to CEOP by clicking the Click CEOP button below.