U12 Panthera’s decisive win in their league opener
9th September 2023
Beautiful sunshine greeted us for the start of the 23/24 campaign with the exciting buzz of competitive football ringing around the travelling Panthera’s squad.
The pitch unfortunately hadn’t been prepped well with the grass extremely long. The Panthera’s didn’t let the pitch conditions hinder their attitude or dampen the atmosphere one bit.
The game started at a fast pace, with both teams getting their fair share of the ball but it was Rugby who carved out the 1st chance 8 minutes it was Emilia who picks up possession down the left on the half way line, dribbling her way past 2 players then neatly slipping the ball in to Pippa who takes her touch and turn to lay the ball on too debutant Izzy P who calmly rolls her marker and slots home her girls goal for the Panthera’s.
Loughborough didn’t let the goal affect them as almost immediately from kick off they capitalised on some confusion at the back for Rugby with neither defender clearing the ball and the opposing attacker nipping in to poke the ball into the net and draw the game back level. 1-1
Not to be outdone by their opponents Borough bounced back themselves as Pippa picked up the loose ball in the long grass, beat 2 players twisted past a third won her 50/50 against the rushing CB to slot the ball down to the keeper’s left. 1-2 Borough.
At this point, the match is end to end with both teams getting a fair share of chances, But it was Loughborough again showing great spirit to come back when they latched onto a loose pass out from the rugby defence when the ball fell to their striker who without hesitation puts the ball in the net to level the scoring again. 2-2.
You couldn’t look away from the play today as it was Esme’s turn to battle in the centre of the park winning the 1st ball from a goal kick finding Pippa out on the left when then skips inside her defender with a great 1st touch powering home another cracking shot passed the outstretched keeper just before the break.
The first half draws to a close with a very open game of football on display. Rugby just easing themselves ahead at the break of a game that could go either way.
2nd half starts and again Rugby starts on the front foot and their passing game starts to flow. The next chance off the game comes from Hope making her way down the right flank with some brilliant skill & determination battling hard to come out on top of 2 oncoming players then slipping a neat cross to Izzy who beats the keeper to the ball only to be denied by the post, fortunately for Borough Tayla was there following in to pick up the prices with a high press to get herself on the score sheet. 4-2 Borough.
The Panthera’s starting to really assert themselves in the game.
The long grass was causing havoc for our host as a pass-out holds up & the ball sat kindly for Izzy P who blasted it home. 5-2 Borough.
Soon after again the long grass made it difficult for Loughborough to pass their way out of a high press from Rugby. Pippa pounced on another held-up pass out from the back to bag herself a well-earned Hatrick. 6-2 Borough.
Rugby then took our foot off the gas a little and a held-up pass across the centre gave the Loughborough midfielder a chance to break away and slot home a well-taken 3rd goal. 6-3.
The long grass clearly taking its toll on both teams as there are some very tired legs on the pitch causing the game to open up again.
Izzy H showing her versatility now operating from left back puts up a strong challenge and wins the ball, then slots an inch-perfect pass to Tayla who’s tireless running down the left creates another chance when she finds herself in space, calmly slots her pass onto Emilia who calmly finishes her chance past the unlucky keeper giving her a well-deserved goal. 7-3 Borough.
The game was again stretched but the final chance of the game fell Boroughs’s way, With the opportunity to complete a dream debut for Izzy P when the ball fell to her well-positioned in the area receiving the pass from Pippa after winning yet another 50/50 in the middle, Izzy P turns well and somehow chips it over the keeper into the roof of the net to complete the scoring with the last kick of the game.
A great game to watch today, with many of the girls operating in different positions with Grace in goal making some fantastic saves, Sienna an ever-present rock at the back & Darcy stepping into Midfield showing her own versatility & Annabelle moving out to the right of defence creating several opportunities from the back showing how well she has recovered from her injury last season.
Izzy P (3)
A great team performance on a difficult pitch,
We are very proud of the girls today for showing grit, determination and togetherness to earn themselves 3 points in the season opener.