Saturday 27th October 2018
Bristol Panthers 2-2 Leicester Wildecats
Leicester Wildecats considered themselves unfortunate to finish a busy month of fixtures with a 2-2 draw away at table toppers Bristol Panthers in trying weather conditions on Saturday afternoon.
The game began as a physical affair with strong challenges going in from both sides and the referee seemingly keen to stop play at any occasion, a theme which continued throughout the match.
The first twenty minutes were fairly eventless despite Cats arguably having the better of the play and with the front three of Ryry, Rooney and Chris worrying the home defence with their pace. It was unsurprisingly a combination of this front line that gave Cats the lead midway through the first half. Rooney was able to gather a ball down the right hand side and find the low cross for Chris who neatly tucked the ball into the corner to claim his first goal for the club. Cats continued to have the better of the play as the half went on, but continued to fail to turn their possession into any real clear cut chances, again something that would come back to haunt them on Halloween weekend.
As the first half headed towards a close, a clumsily conceded free kick was delivered to the edge of the Wildecats penalty area where the defence was unable to clear the ball despite a number of attempts and opportunities to do so. The ball eventually fell to a Panthers player, who considered himself fortunate to see his flailing foot loop the ball into the top corner – a very disappointing goal for Cats to concede.
The second half began with Cats knowing that the three points would be theirs if they could tuck away some of the chances that they were creating. However, it was Bristol who came out the better team at the start of the second half. Buoyed by their goal before the interval, an early foray into the penalty area saw a shot deflect off Gary who turned around to see the ball heading agonisingly towards the bottom corner. Fortunately Liam was able to get down low to his right and get his fingertips on the ball to tip it round the post and keep the scores level.
This scare seemed to wake the Cats players and once again they put their foot on the gas in search of a goal to help restore their lead. They continued to find themselves frustrated against a dogged, united and hard-working Panthers team who continued to deny them any clear opportunities.
The game swung back into the favour of the away side with fifteen minutes remaining. Cats were awarded a free kick, twenty five yards from goal, which Rooney expertly slammed into the top corner with a ferocious left foot strike to claim his second of the season and to spark wild celebrations amongst the Cats players and supporters.
Bristol responded admirably to this set back and immediately set about trying to level the scores once again. Another cross from a wide area saw another shot deflected and looked to be heading for the back of the net, but again Liam in the Cats goal was able to claw the ball away before it crossed the line. The warning signs were ignored by Cats as the resulting corner led another goal mouth scramble where a number of shots were blocked by various last ditch challenges before the ball was fired gratefully into the arms of the Cats’ keeper.
Eventually the home side found their equaliser with five minutes of time left on the clock. With a number of players out of position, Ryan’s clearance was hunted down by the Panthers striker who then finished smartly by lofting the ball over the keeper and into the net to seal a point.
It was a disappointing result for Cats, who although picking up a point away from home, will undoubtedly feel that they deserved to win the game and picked up maximum points.
Rooney was awarded man of the match for his fantastic free kick, alongside some excellent passing and good tracking back to round off a fine performance.
|October 27, 2018||2:00 pm||GFSN National League Division 2||2018/2019|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals|