Panthers snatch thrilling victory
Wednesday, 11th September, 2019
By Callum Marshall
Celtic narrowly beat Alma while West won a thriller against St Joes in the final round of regular-season soccer.
With West having already locked in the minor premiership, and Celtic and St Joes securing the other two finals spots, Sunday’s matches were more about building form into the finals than anything else.
Wind caused havoc for all sides though, with long balls over defences, cut backs and crosses from the wings often going astray.
That was certainly the case in the early game as Celtic laboured to a 1-0 win over Alma after missing a number of goal scoring chances throughout the game.
Daniel Timperio was the standout player for the Cougars, winning the ball numerous times, always available as a passing option, and playing the ball well to the wingers.
He, along with defensive players Corey Blundell and Lincoln Rowbotham, helped control the play for Celtic and allowed them to keep the pressure on Alma.
However, poor final balls and finishing were hurting the Cougars, with a number of clear cut scoring chances going wide, being over hit or missed altogether.
On top of that, the Goats’ goalkeeper Laurence Hebbard was having a fantastic game, saving well on a number of occasions and frustrating the Cougars forwards.
In the last ten minutes though, a cross from the right by Timperio cruelly slipped through the hands of Hebbard and into the Goats’ goal.
In spite of that mistake, Hebbard was among the Goat’s best alongside midfielder Codey Ralph, who once again worked hard to fashion breakaways and through ball opportunities for the Goats.
Over all though, Alma made little inroads into the Celtic box and only threatened on several occasions with pacy Goats forward Samuel Harrap not at his usual, effective best with the Celtic backline keeping him at bay.
With just one point to their name this season, Alma will have to work on being more clinical with the ball further up the pitch next season, as well as cutting out wayward passing from the backline which has hurt them this season.
Players such as Harrap, Ralph, Hebbard, Ripley Celotto, Callum Langdon and EJ Hocking have shown that there is a good side there but that it needs to improve on holding onto possession and breaking through opposition defences.
In Sunday’s later game, wind played a huge part once again, with St Joes and West controlling possession during different patches of the game.
For St Joes, the addition of Jyh Stubing and Liam King back into the team gave the side a real boost, particularly in the first half.
Pat Nash and Shane Kegel bagged the Goals for St Joes, with the side leading 2-0 at half time.
However a big turnaround from the Panthers in the second half saw them come back into the game and eventually run out 3-2 winners.
Leading goal scorer Jordan Cox scored once again, bringing his end of regular season tally to an astronomical 24 goals in 15 games, alongside Tim Symonds and Shane Hayward.
Chris West had a good game for the Panthers as well, alongside the West defence in the second half, with Joey Langdon particularly strong at centre back, alongside Symonds and John Searle.
In the B grade games, Harrap ran riot for Alma as he scored a hat trick in a 5-0 win over Celtic, with Luke Sheehan and Bailey Stubing grabbing the other goals.
Meanwhile, the Panthers beat St Joes 4-1 with West, Luke Kooyman, Nathan Johnstone and Danyon Olsen scoring, with Jack Jefferys scoring for St Joes.
In the Women’s games, Alma thumped Celtic 10-1 with Heaven Celotto once again bagging goals for the Goats with her hat trick joining braces by Lakisha Sloane, Elle-Joy Yamamo and Stephanie Harman, and a Phaige Hocking goal.
Celtic’s Jaymie Murphy grabbed a consolation goal for the side.
In the other game, West beat St Joes 5-0 with Jessica Cox bagging a brace to go alongside goals from Caitlyn Bloomfield, Ella Johnson and Emma Everett.
Celtic 1 (D. Timperio) def Alma 0
West 3 (J. Cox, T. Symonds, S. Hayward) def St Joes (P. Nash, S. Kegel)
Alma 5 (S. Harrap 3, L. Sheehan, B. Stubing) def Celtic 0
West 4 (C. West, L. Kooyman, N. Johnstone, D. Olsen) def St Joes 1 (J. Jefferys)
Alma 10 (H. Celotto 3, L. Sloane 2, E-J. Yamamo 2, S. Harman 2, P. Hocking) def Celtic 1 (J. Murphy)
West 5 (J. Cox 2, C. Bloomfield, E. Johnson, E. Everett) def St Joes 0