For a first run out of the season, there was some really good football on show this evening. A good work rate, good transition and a scoreline to reflect.
The only goal of the first half came on 14 minutes. Tom Whiteside set Kye Dean away on the right. Kye cut the ball back across the box for Ed Leech to finish.
It took until the 57th minute to get a second. A long ball from Alex Fulford at the back, was flicked on to Kye Dean. Kye turned and used his pace to drive in on goal, firing across the keeper. The third came 3 minutes later. Cameron Thornton fed out to Kian Gardiner wide left. Kian accelerated on the wing and crossed to Kye Dean at the back post to finish.
On 75 minutes, Kye Dean cut the ball back from the right, to Harry Staddon more central. Harry beat one then hit the best shot of the game into the far corner. Then with a couple of minutes left, it was again Cameron Thornton setting Kian Gardiner free on the left and a cross to the back post for Kye Dean to score number 5 and complete his hat trick.
A great start to the season, and much to build on ahead of the league start.
Churchdown Panthers Whites represented Cheltenham in the Aces National Tournament in Nottingham, and while we didn't get the results we wanted, it was not for a lack of effort and pride against the Champions from leagues around the UK, and a number of JPL teams. It was a very strong competition and a great learning curve.
It was disappointing that the only difference between us and the opposition in the first 2 games, was a couple of questionable referreeing decisions. In the first game, after having played the advantage, and after the opposition fluffing their lines in front of goal, the referee decided to call play back for a free kick. That free kick, was the only goal of the game. In the second game, the only goal was a penalty awarded for.........um......er........ nobody actually knows. Even the referee was lost for words at the end.
It was a harsh blow after having travelled so far, and left us with a near on impossible task to progress from the group stage. But all the players battled hard, created a few chances and scored a couple of goals.
GROUP E - Cheltenham (Churchdown Panthers Whites)
v West London - Lost 0-1
v Sheffield - Lost 0-1
v Plymouth - Lost 1-2 - Goals: Ethan Dunbar
v East Leeds - Lost 1-2 - Goals: Charlie Holliday
So we were unable to progress from the group. For the level of effort, tracking and showing the most composure on the ball, our player of the tournament was Jon Whiting.
Two teams entered with one making the final of the plate competition. There was some stiff competition involved today and the boys did remarkably well, but perhaps showing a little tiredness towards the end. Special thanks to Paul White who provide 4 fantastic boys from CS Reds to help us out with numbers - Harvey White, Daniel Gwilliam, Aaron Harvey and Kacper Wronski.
GROUP 1 - Churchdown Panthers Oranges
v Longlevens Lions A - Drew 0-0
v Drake Broughton Rangers - Won 2-1 - Goals: Jon Whiting; Aaron Harvey
v Bishops Cleeve Colts Greens - Lost 1-2 - Goals: Jakub Kroliczak
v Bishops Cleeve Colts Rovers Yellow - Lost 2-0
v Abbeymead A - Won 2-1 - Goals: Jon Whiting; Daniel Clayton
GROUP 2 - Churchdown Panthers Whites
v Longlevens Lions B - Drew 0-0
v Eckington Juniors - Lost 1-4 - Goals: Kian Gardiner
v Bishops Cleeve Colts Rovers Blues - Won 3-0 - Goals: Kian Gardiner; Tom Whiteside; Kye Brice
v Bishops Cleeve Colts Whites - Won 2-0 - Goals: Tom Whiteside x 2
v Abbeymead B - Drew 0-0
Churchdown Panthers Whites finished 2nd in their group which secured a place in the Plate Cup Final. In a 50:50 game, only one goal came which was unfortunately to opponents Longlevens Lions A.
A great effort. Some ups and downs, but a good run out.