The U8 Boys Orange team took an early drive to Huntley in the fog on Saturday 5/5, but made the trip worthwhile with a fine 6-4 road win to come home with.
Starting on a damp, slick field the Panther team was quick out of the gate and into their stride early. Nice through balls from Andrew Jones and Ryan Anhalt provided a couple of early breakaway chances for Ythan Houston, but the striker had not yet found his range in the early going and those openings were not converted.
After more close efforts on goal by speedsters Ryan Anhalt and Philip Nowak, it was left to recent recruit Kyle McGreevy to open the scoring with his first goal for the Orange team. Kyle hit a sweet right foot shot from the edge of the box that hit the back of the net to make it 1-0 Panthers.
Despite further efforts off both posts from Philip Nowak and another narrow miss from Ryan Anhalt, the Sockers evened the game with a fine run and shot from their standout player #85.
Just as it looked like the Panthers would have to settle for an even game at the break despite having been on top for most of the first half, Ythan Houston fired in a shot that was too hot for the goalie to stop as it skipped up off the wet grass. 2-1 Panthers at the half with Cael Cummings, Andrew Jones and keeper Ella Johnson limiting the home team's scoring.
The home team started the second half brightly however and found an early goal to even the game at 2-2. The Sockers were seeing more possession and posing more threat at this time and the next goal was going to be important in terms of momentum. Fortunately for the Panthers, Ythan Houston had now found his shooting range and 2 quick goals turned the game decisively in favor of the U8 Orange. He managed to slip his second goal (and the Panthers third) under the goalie after a strong run while holding off the last defender. He then secured a hat-trick with an intelligent slider towards the far corner with the outside of his foot that deceived the goalie and the onrushing defenders.
The 4-2 lead allowed some more measured breathing on the Panther sideline, but the Sockers were not giving up easily on their home turf. Another fine shot from #85 was too strong for second half goalie Philip Nowak, despite a valiant attempt at a diving save.
Before the nerves could take hold again however, another blast from the corner of the box from Ythan Houston after some nice footwork to lose two defenders restored the 2 goal lead at 5-3 for the Panthers. Again the Sockers struck back to make the game close at 5-4 and yet again Ythan Houston's fine shooting day continued as he drilled a left foot shot into the far bottom corner to take the lead to 6-4.
The Panthers were then able to protect the lead with some good passing from Andrew Jones, Cael Cummings and Kyle McGreevy and some great hustle from Ella Johnson and Ryan Anhalt as the game ended in a Panther win.