Panthers versus Bears at the Leisure Box in what promises to be a battle to end all battles. Bears warm up in the Tectrix Solutions sponsored kit as ref inspects the all weather pitch and declares game on but fit bits off.
Bootroom roll out the Rossendale carpets for the starting five in the traditional green and white hoops proudly sponsored by Go Stroll of Tommy in goal, worker bee Elliott defending the diamonds, midfield dynamos Alex and Jonah with striker Josh fresh from fiddling the Derby accounts. Super subs are Lucas, Luciano and Rocco.
Bears are caught cold from the kick off as panthers spring and take an early lead. Alex is quick to respond but shoots just wide. Jonah and Josh combine well down the wing and pressure the goalie into a mistake as he tries to play out the back gifting Alex with an open goal to equalise. Panthers win a corner but Tommy saves to set Elliott on one of his captain Maguire type runs to find Alex in space cross field ball to Jonah, good control and pass to Josh who has time and composure to give bears the lead, a lead which doesn’t last long as Cato uses his combat skills to find the phantom who makes no mistake from two yards out but needs to practice his Crouch robot dance celebration.
Game is fast and furious as one corner after another cannot split the teams, Alex hits the post and then free kick awarded for ball to hand free kick, phantom coolly fires home for his hat trick. Lucas is on now and is straight into the action to find Alex, step over and pass to Josh to score from an impossible angle off the inside of the post. Bears are dominating now with intricate pass and move pass and movements testimony to the Friday bootroom boot camp routines and benefitting from working with the Saints as Alex playing a blinder feeds Lucas who exquisitely shoots using the outside of the boot to score. With Elliott preventing any threat to Tommy’s goal Josh and Alex give the bears a three goal lead going into half time.
Second half and tactical switch sees Josh take the goalie gloves, Tommy in defence, Luciano and Rocco midfield and Lucas striker. The battle is fierce as Rocco beats two panthers feeds Luciano who with quick feet is too quick and is ankle tapped to win a penalty. Rocco steps up and makes no mistake. Panthers are a well organised outfit and are not beaten yet as Josh makes a save but then Tommy has an Inspector Clouseau moment and the pink panther strikes again.
Alex is back on and continues the good work in midfield to play a one two with Luciano and fine defence splitting pass to Tommy who gets his revenge as he shoots past the advancing keeper to restore the three goal cushion. Rocco is working hard to silence the panthers and a shot in the dark after clever work from Alex gives him a goal he deserved.
With Elliott and Jonah replacing tired bears it is left to Rocco again to score goal of the day as man of the match Alex provides another assist.