WEST EXE YOUTH V EXETER PANTHERS AFC U13’s
Saturday 27th April 2019 K.O. 10.30am
Report by Geoff Bland
Exeter Panthers are the current league leaders having lost only one game so far this season and have also made it through to the cup final, so this game was going to be a good indication of where our strengths and weaknesses are. The weather conditions also weren’t favourable with strong 40/50 mph winds. One good thing though was since our last match on Wednesday evening the pitch had been cut and the lines painted.
Straight from the kick off Panthers were at us. Within the first couple of minutes Panthers had a shot from the right hand side of the penalty area that went past our stranded goal keeper Thomas to open the scoring. 0-1. Not the start we wanted but somehow it seemed to settle us. West Exe began to get into the game and after five minutes Mickie saw a chance with the Panther’s keeper off his line. Mickie shoots but the keeper runs back to stop the ball inches from crossing the goal line. A couple of minutes later James crosses the ball to Gracjan, who hits a volley that goes just wide. A quarter of an hour in and Gracjan has another chance. He swerves past a defender and shoots for what looks like a sure equaliser but the keeper just gets a hand to the ball to tip it over for a corner. In the nineteenth minute Mickie has a long range shot from 35 yards out. The ball moves about in the strong wind and goes through the keeper’s hands to make it 1-1. Sixty seconds later West Exe make a number of good one touch passes enabling Mickie to shoot, the ball rebounds off the keeper for Gracjan to have a go but the shot goes over the cross bar. West Exe pile on more pressure with Levi making a good pass to Mickie on the wing who crosses the ball into the Panther’s penalty area but a charging Dylan couldn’t quite reach to head the ball. In the twenty eighth minute West Exe are awarded a free kick out on the left wing. James hits the ball just in front of the keeper but it bounces up and over the cross bar. The goal kick lands to Sulai who’s subsequent shot is deflected but the keeper still made the save. Just after the half hour mark Mickie has the ball and is in a similar position from where he scored earlier in the match. No harm in trying it again. This time he hits an absolute beauty. The ball fizzes over the keeper and dips just under the cross bar for West Exe to take a well deserved lead. 2-1. Panther’s finish the half with a run down the right wing and a shot that goes over the bar.
With the wind behind them, Panther’s have the majority of the possession and territory in the second half. Within five minutes they had drawn level from a whipped in corner that was headed in from the near post. 2-2. A few minutes later they pass a through ball past our defence. Thomas runs out from goal and puts the striker off enough for the shot to go wide. Panther’s have another corner a couple of minutes later which gets knocked into our net for an unfortunate own goal. 2-3. We have a couple of chances just past the quarter hour mark. Seb runs through into the box but shoots over the cross bar. Then a pass from Gracjan to Seb gives him another chance but this time the keeper saves. With seven minutes remaining Gracjan chases after a through ball but it runs on for the keeper to dive on. West Exe look to be getting tired which starts to show as Panther’s push to put the game to bed. Goal keeper Thomas comes out to force a shot wide but on half an hour a through ball by Panther’s leaves the striker one on one with Thomas. He comes out and makes a splendid short range save but the rebounded ball isn’t cleared and Panther’s score. 2-4. A minute later Panther’s play a similar through ball which this time gets slotted past our keeper. 2-5.
FULL TIME 2-5
This was always going to be our toughest test of the season and although we got off to a shaky start, we re-grouped and had the better of the play in the first half. A couple of unfortunate errors and tiredness in the second half gave Panther’s the win but West Exe gave them a good game and pushed them to the end. West Exe should be proud of the effort and performance they put in and achieved something very few teams have this year by taking the lead against a top team like Panther’s.