Panthers pounce to outclass Bayer Diamonds

Panthers pop the cork on the Champagne to celebrate their cup win. Photo by Tomos Nolan

Panthers pop the cork on the Champagne to celebrate their cup win. Photo by Tomos Nolan

A CLASSY first half performance from the Sex Panthers was crucial to their 3-2 DIGS Aberystwyth Town Cup final victory over Bayer Diamonds at Cae Baker, the home of Penrhyncoch C.P.D.

A number of University First Team players were on show for both sides, Gareth Thomas and Ben Jenkins for the Panthers, along with their manager Barney Tierney.

Within a minute, the first goal had been scored, and it was one that baffled most of the spectators inside the ground. Under pressure from a Panthers striker, Tom Poulton chipped a ball back towards his goalkeeper Andy Roberts, the ball avoiding the keeper and bouncing into the goal.

The lead was nearly doubled soon after, a great drive from Josh Simmons tipped over by Roberts.

Panthers continued with dominance, coming close to scoring once again as a long-range chip from Gareth Thomas went over the bar. They were controlling the game, Diamonds star man Sparks was often left isolated playing up-front on his own and had to resort to coming deep to get the ball.

Crosses fizzed across goal from both flanks, and it was from one of these crosses that the second goal of the game came for the Panthers. The cross from the left wasn’t dealt with properly by the Diamonds defence, and Luke Davis tapped the ball in from close range to spark wild celebrations from the bench.

Tom Stiley was the only Diamonds player to come close to threatening the opposition goal with a header that went wide of the far post after a cross from the right.

The second half saw Bayer Diamonds kicking downfield and Sparks immediately burst into life. Within minutes of the re-start he won a penalty and scored the goal to get Diamonds back into the game. He received the ball, cut in from the left and was felled for the spot-kick. He stepped up and consummately dispatched the penalty into the bottom left of the goal, beating the goalkeeper.

A succession of corners then tested the Panthers defence, but Man-of-the-Match Phil Harris nearly stole the headlines with a 35-yard drive that flew millimetres over the crossbar.

The game was then put beyond doubt when Jordan Reid finished from the near post after a corner dropped into the area, the Panthers striker keeping a cool head to pull the game up to 3-1. Diamonds did have a superb chance to get another goal back when the ball was cut back to Poulton on the edge of the area, but he shot straight at Ben Willis instead.

There was still to be some late drama, as with minutes to go Bayer Diamonds pulled the game back to 3-2. A free-kick from deep was delivered towards goal, the ball evading Willis and David Glover rising well to head the ball into the goal to give Diamonds some faint hope.

It was not to be their day however, despite goalkeeper Roberts going up the field to attack a corner in great dramatic fashion. Panthers did have another late goal disallowed for offside, but the trophy was theirs.

Speaking to Aberystwyth Student Media after the game, Panthers manager Barney Tierney said he felt “on top of the world” following the cup win.

Teams:

Sex Panthers: Ben Willis, Michael Cotter-Jones, Richard Kimberlain, Ben Jenkins, James Clemens, Paul Carrington, Phil Harris, Alex Jenkins, Jordan Reid, Josh Simmons, Gareth Thomas (Subs: Luke Davis, Dave Miles, Owen Thomas, Dilwyn Jones)

Bayer Diamonds:  Andy Roberts, Tom Dale, Jake Stanier, George Warmsley, Tim Dulson, Matt Jones, Tom Stiley, Mike Delaney, Charlie Ing, David Glover,  Tom Sparks (Subs: Clive Haslam, Tom Poulton, Dan Halliday)