Panthers faced a testing opening match

WC U13 Panthers

The Panthers faced a testing opening match of the season against Leatherhead on Sunday.

Despite Panthers beating them twice last year, Leatherhead narrowly missed out on promotion to Elite as they had beaten pretty much everyone else in the Premier division last year.

Because of the known quality of the opposition, Panthers lined up in their more defensively minded formation of 4-2-3-1:

5 new recruits had been added to the Panthers squad over the summer (Leo, Joe, Jake B, Jake C, Josh), and the only time the team had played together before today was in last week’s 11 aside tournament success.

One thing that is pretty evident in this Panthers team is that defensively we are very solid, not only with the back 4 and GK, but with the defensive midfield wall in front of them that Josh, Will and Jack offer, we are a hard team to break down, and to be fair Leo did not have a lot to do today.

The step up to 11 aside is going to be physically challenging, but Panthers are a fit team and William Anderson in particular was terrorising the Leatherhead LB, putting in a number of crosses that Panthers should really have capitalised on.

Panthers had a number of chances to take the lead, but were denied by some pretty good saves from the Leatherhead Keeper.

The half was played out pretty much the same as the first, with Leatherhead playing some intricate passing, but not really penetrating the Panthers midfield or defence, and with Panthers holding and then playing it forward to exploit the pace on the wings to then feed the strikers.

One massive weapon Panthers have is the danger they possess in set plays. Omar, William and Ollie can be relied upon to deliver pin perfect crosses, and with Devon, Jake C, Will and Tate they have strength in the air. Panthers comfortably saw out the rest of the game to get their season off to a winning start.

Read the full match report here