This Staffs Cup game began in bright sunshine however, Panthers were soon on the back foot and having to defend well against a bright and lively Warstones side. Both sides created several chances early on but it was Warstones who took advantage of some hesitant Panthers defending, going into a 2 goal lead after just 12 minutes. Panthers were really struggling to cope with the Warstones wide men and did well to keep the score down to just 2 goals.
However, Panthers gradually began to work their way back into the game and ironically, it was through their own wide players that they found the space to attack Warstones down the flanks. After a great move down the left involving Josh Eyre and Lewis Ansell, Owen Davies flicked it on for Dominic Cella to turn and finish in style to halve the deficit on 20 minutes. Panthers were now beginning to play, and the goal seemed to spark them into action and most of the play for the remaining minutes of the 1st half was centred in the Warstones area. Following a number of consecutive corners, Panthers were desperately unlucky to reach the break still a goal down but you could see the belief beginning to return.
Panthers began the 2nd half and totally dominated the play, with keeper James Walters hardly having a touch early on. Full back, James O’Brien was in fine form making some surging runs down the right, and it seemed only a matter of time before Panthers levelled the match. A number of half chances were created, then, following a great through ball from Owen Cartridge and a measured lay off from Joshua Eyre, Dominic Cella found himself 1 on 1 with the keeper and his low shot was parried into the corner of the net to make it 2-2. Continued pressure led to Ross Murti being unlucky to see his shot being deflected onto the bar and, with extra time and penalties looming, Panthers won a free kick just outside the Warstones area. Owen Cartridge, up from the back, hit a low shot past the wall and George Coldicott deflected it past the Warstones keeper for the winner, with just seconds remaining to the great delight of all the Panthers players and supporters.
A great display from the boys, showing superb fight and desire after the disappointment of going 2 goals behind so early on in the game. They kept going and showed great patience and maintained their focus right through to the end to go through to the next round of the cup.
Parent’s Man of the Match : Joshua Eyre
Manager’s Man of the Match : Owen Cartridge