A game that initially started off as a back and forth affair ended in a comfortable victory Tuesday night, as the Clay Panthers coasted to a 6-2 victory over the Portsmouth West Senators. Clay started the game off aggressively as they forced three early saves by the Senator goalkeeper, Noah Nichols. The Panthers would keep the pressure on the Senators throughout the opening minutes as it became a struggle for West to maintain control of the ball. Leading the offense for the Panthers was junior Bryce Toomire.
Toomire was constantly pressuring the Senators back line in the first half as he racked up three shots on goal. Panthers coach Doug Ledingham has come to expect good things out of his team when Toomire stays aggressive “Bryce is a great player, we run the whole offense through Bryce and when he is going the whole team is going.” Toomire would prove his coach right as he opened the scoring on the night with an early goal that put the Panthers up 1-0.
In what would prove to be the theme for the first half of the game, the Senators would answer right back just a few minutes later as Maverick Stone would tie the game up on a huge run leading to the game tying goal. The rest of the first half continued to be a back and forth fight as each goalkeeper was tested. Going into halftime, the score would remain tied at 1-1. Coming out of half, Nichols would continue to make big save after big save as Clay came out aggressive. West’s defense did a good job stopping some big runs by the Panthers in the beginning of the second half.
Finally, all their toughness would pay off after a West corner kick netted the Senators the 2-1 lead. However, Clay would again answer right back with a huge goal by Reece Whitley. Ledingham was glad to see his junior comeback after a one year layoff and make such a huge impact on the game “He is a great athlete he has been playing soccer for us for a couple years. He took last year off but this year he is really looking good and he is one of the best athletes on our team.”
Whitley would go on to score two more huge goals for the Panthers as they overwhelmed the Senators in the second half going up 4-2. Bryce Toomire would score two more goals to give the Panthers the ultimately lop sided 6-2 victory. Ledingham knows once his team gets in the groove, there is no limit to how well they can do this year. “We have got six guys that can play offense and once they get it together, we will start rolling.”
The Panthers next game is coming up tonight against Zane Trace on their home pitch at 5:30.
The Senators will host the Wheelersburg Pirates also tonight on their home pitch at 5:30 in an SOC II match.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT