Panthers last weekend of the season, saw them travel to Newent for the FC Highnam tournament. Sixteen Under 9 teams were taking part, with the first phase of the tournaments being in groups of 4. This also pitted Panthers against teams we ahve not come up against in Cheltenham League. Here are the group stage results:
Churchdown Panthers 0-0 Kings Stanley
Rodborough Lions 1-0 Churchdown Panthers
Churchdown Panthers 0-0 Windsor Drive
These results were exactly the same as Windsor Drives results, meaning that we needed a penalty shoot out (3 each) to decide 3rd an 4th place finishes. With Charlie Holliday, Josh Bird and Robin Hanman missing all their penalties, it really did feel like we were going to go the weekend without scoring. Windsor Drive converted one of their pens to claim 3rd position.
The format was such that ALL teams qualified for the QF rounds.
Churchdown Panthers 0-2 FC Highnam
Another goalless fixture for Panthers, although up against some stiff opposition, who scored first from a break away, and then from a Panthers throw in, which was lobbed back into our box to be finished.
This wasn't the end though, with the losers of this fixture going on to play in the Plate Cup.
PLATE CUP SEMI-FINAL:
Churchdown Panthers 2-0 Kings Stanley (Josh Bird x2)
Finally the goals flowed, and the team started playing like we know they can. Defending well, Josh Bird picked up a ball in midfield, broke, beat the last defender, and cracked the ball across the goalkeeper.
The second goal, saw Josh again break from midfield, outpacing the defense and cooly finishing, to cement safe passage to the final.
A solid performance in the final, with Panthers having most of the play. Although the goal did come following Rodborough pressure, when Charlie Holliday latched on to a long ball out of defence. He outstripped the 2 Rodborough defenders, and calmly passed the ball wide of the out-rushing goalkeeper. This was deserved goal for Charlie, who was immense in this game. Earlier he produced a number of step overs near the corner flag, to beat 3 players and get in a great cross, which was met by Toby Scott, only to be tipped over the bar. Charlie also has a long range dipping shot which was tipped wide.
The winning goal....
The second half in full....
It took us a while to get going today, but great to end the season with back to back Plate Cup victories. Really well deserved by the team, who put 110%.
Panthers took 9 players to the Cleeve Colts Tournament at Bishops Cleeve FC. Although the rain held off, it was quite a struggle in the wind, and a long tiring day. Yet Panthers came through the day with fantastic resolve, winning the Plate Trophy!!
12 local sides were split into 2 groups for the first phase of the tournament. Here are the results, with Panthers scorers in brackets:
Cleeve Colts 1-0 Churchdown Panthers
Churchdown Panthers 2-0 Charlton Rovers Greens (Ben Murphy (2) - Prodding home from a corner, and a great shot across the keeper)
Churchdown Panthers 1-1 Southside Sharks (Toby Scott - Long range effort from left side, looped over keeper)
Churchdown Panthers 1-0 St Marks (Alex Fulford - Cutting in from left wing, to smash a ball from the right into the net)
Churchdown Panthers 0-1 Worcester Colts
Those results were enough for us to finish in fourth place, and qualification for the Plate Trophy Semi-Final
Churchdown Panthers 1-0 Gotherington (Josh Bird)
It was a tough semi-final, into the wind for a goalless first half. The second half had more chances created. Most notably for the opposition, a trip in the box, resulting in a Gotherington penalty. The stiker drilled his shot against the bar, with Alex Fulford (now in goal), getting up to make a point blank save from the rebound.
The Panthers goal came, from a Josh Bird break away. On his own, he cut in from the right flank, and shot across the keeper to register the only goal of the match.
Churchdown Panthers 1-0 Southside Sharks
So the final saw us up against a team we played a high tempo, and tetchy 1-1 draw with in the group games. Southside having just won their semi by 3 goals. It was a tough match, and with Captain Ben Murphy having completed a whitewash of defeats in the coin toss, saw us into the wind for the first half.
Panthers defended resolutely, considering how tired they were by this game, and it was a real bonus to lead at half time. Charlie Holliday chased down a back pass, putting the keeper under pressure, such that his clearing kick rebounded of Charlie into the net for the goal. The wind advantage in the 2nd half saw Panthers have more chances, but they also continued to defend really well, and played out a goalless 2nd half:
A truely fantastic effort from the team, and a well deserved trophy at the end of it. Well done! And a fitting last match for Austin Plemel. The Plemels move back to Canada in July, with Lorne and Lana having been the original founders of this team back in 2010. We wish them all the best, and unreservedly offer our thanks for their support.
Another great tournament effort from our Under 9s, playing in hot weather and at times with the disadvantage of the slope of the pitches and the winds. 12 teams were involved in the group stages, divided into 3 groups of 4. Here are the results of our group games (our goalscorers in brackets):
Churchdown Panthers 1-0 Lakeside Whites (Robin Hanman - In off the bar from the half way line!)
Churchdown Panthers 1-0 St Marks (OG - Long throw into box from Alex Fulford, headed into own net by defender)
Churchdown Panthers 0-0 Cheltenham Saracens A
Those results were enough for us to finish TOP OF THE LEAGUE!!!.
So we progressed to the Quarter Finals as group winners, and ended up playing the same St Marks team, who were the best placed 3rd team of any of the groups. We lost the coin toss, and had to play up hill into an ever stronger wind. By full time, the score was:
Churchdown Panthers 0-0 St Marks.
And so we went to the nerve jangling penalty shot out. The format for which was 3 penalties each, and then sudden death. Our first 3 penalty takers, Toby Scott, Ben Murphy and Robin Hanman all converted their spot kicks, but so did the St Marks 3 kickers. So we went to sudden death. Alex Fulford stepped up first and scored. Then it was elation when Oliver Leathem-Pugh in goal for us, saved the next penalty!
Churchdown Panthers 4-3 St Marks (Penalty Shoot-out)
So on we went to the semi-finals. This drew us against FC Lakeside Blues.
Again we unfortunately lost the toss, and ended up playing up hill into the wind. By now, you could also see the number of games and the heat taken its toll on the players. This was true enough, when we conceded the for the first time in the tournament. Lakeside took a quick throw from the right, and our players had switched off. The ball bounced across the area, to 2 free Lakeside players on the far post.
As we started to add more pressure, we were always open to conceding a second, which came late on. By all counts, it was a great finish, across the keeper from outside the left hand side of the area, into the top right corner.
FC Lakeside Blues 2-0 Churchdown Panthers
It was a bit disappointing to get so far and not quite make the final, but the fact that we are showing competitiveness, building on our late surge in the league, and a good showing in last weeks tournament, really shows how far the team has come. Great effort.
Our Under 9s side put in a cracking effort against some very good opposition in the Southside Tournament today. 17 teams took part, split into 2 leagues, with the top team from each division making the final. Here are the results from group A, with our scorers in brackets: