B & D League Tournament
By David Blaylock
Panthers in their first Tournament reach the Quarter Finals, but go out on Penalties
The team, playing together for the first time, performed miracles to reach the Quarter Finals and only went out on Penalties.
Due to one of the teams not turning up there were only 3 in the group so they played each other 3 times. In the first game they played Witham Town from the Top Division. They performed well, scoring 2 goals from Riley and Ryan, but conceding 6 in return.
The second game was against Wilvale Knights, Wilvale took the lead but goals from George and Ryan put Sporting ahead. Wilvale scored at the end of the game to tie the game.
In the third game, against Witham a very strong side, Panthers competed well Lewis and Rafe were getting used to playing competitive football for the first time and restricted Witham to 3 goals in the first half but kept them at bay in the second.
The fourth game against Wilvale Knights Riley put Sporting in front with a powerful shot, Ryan scored a brace, Knights notching one in return. The team were beginning to gel with George, Lewis and Ryan working up and down the field.
In the fifth game, against Witham, again the Panthers improved their game, they kept a clean sheet in the first half and restricted Witham to 2 in the second.
The last of the group games against Wilvale, again the Panthers showed improvement, despite Wilvale taking the lead and leading at half time, Panthers showed character to bounce back and score 3 goals in the second half from Riley with a brace and Ryan. This result meant they progressed to the Quarter-finals.
In the Quarter-Final, Panthers came up against Wilvale Warriors who won Group B. Panthers took the lead when George took a corner, kicked it hard against players on the edge of the box and it rebounded into the goal off a Wilvale player. Warriors hit back with 2 goals but Riley scored a stunning goal to tie at half time. In the second half Ryan scored to put Sporting ahead but with last kick of game Warriors equalised. In the penalty shoot-out Warriors came out on top.
All the boys did incredibly well, playing for the first time together, and Rafe and Lewis playing only their second Tournament, to get to the Quarter-Finals is a great achievement.