Waverley Premier League Mens side hosted Footscray on Saturday. Last time these teams meet Footscray ran away with the win and the Panther were out for revenge. This was a must win game for both teams if they are to stay in contention for a finals birth. With Waverley Club Legend and Olympic Gold Medallist Travis Brooks now coach of Footscray the Panthers knew to expect a well-structured opponent.
The Panthers got off to a dream start scoring within the first minute of the game. Aaron Swindells combined with Danny Brennan who drove the ball across the front of goals which was finished off by Oliver Scholfield. This woke Footscray up and they increased their urgency and possession. Turnovers in the back half started to creep into the Panthers defence and Footscray identified this and stepped up the pressure.
Man of the match Tom Scott was a brick wall all game. Footscray’s penalty corner attack is one of the most potent in the competition but the doggies had number of corners but could not find a way past Scott.
Some poor tackling at the top of the circle allowed a Footscray striker to walk past two Waverley defenders and unleashed a reverse stick shot into the bottom corner of the goal.
With the score 1 all the Panthers needed to get back into the game. Midfielders Corey Joseph and Lewis Matthews stepped up their work rate creating many attacking opportunities. Just before half time Waverley was rewarded with a short corner. Lachie Steinfort found the stick of Luke Anthony just in front of the keeper and deflected the ball into the goal.
At half time coach Adrian Kucyk asked for calm. He reinforced the importance of patience at the back and tighter marking in the midfield.
A goal to Corey Joseph 15 mins into the second half after a great run by Lewis Matthews gave the Panthers the buffer they were after. Footscray had the chance to peg back a goal after a penalty stroke was awarded. Dubbed the” brick wall with eyes” keeper Tom Scott was up to the task and with a outstretched left foot stopping the ball from a certain goal. The save gave the Panthers greater confidence across the park. Matt Freeman delivery out of the back was exceptional combining with Tim Wischusen causing problems for the doggies defence. The Panthers kept pushing but were not able to add to the scoreboard. The game ended in a 3 -1 win and depending on other results the Panthers could find themselves inside the top four for the first time this season.
It was a clean sweep for the top four Mens and Womens Waverley teams all taking full points on the day against Footscray. The Mens Premier League Reserve Team have the most convincing win of the day with a 7 – 0 win.