Westside’s Ellie Kassis under pressure against Orana Spurs in the under-18s clash at Lady Cutler on Saturday afternoon. The two sides finished 1-1 to show how competitive this competition is becoming.The return of Anthony Wahbi and Pat Auld has reignited the hopes of Westside Panthers as the Western Premier Soccer season gets down to the business end of the season.
Nanjing Night Net

Wahbi has been away at university and after being injected into the local-derby clash with Orana Spurs on Saturday helped himself to a hat-trick of goals as the Panthers went on to win 9-2.

Just as important was the return from injury of Pat Auld who has been out of action for eight weeks with a broken hand.

His presence at the back gave the Panthers more direction and they duly delivered the goods.

Another interesting move at the start was having Remi Herberg in the run-on side.

This highly talented young under-18 player was superb in the midfield.

He was given a roving agenda and went flat out for 30 minutes before he was substituted for Wahbi.

Panthers had every reason to be happy with the win and it seems as though they are getting back to full strength at the right time.

Luke Wiseman also made his first appearance for the season and was given time to get into the game playing alongside the experienced Alan Auld and Leigh Osborne.

Still searching for their first win of the season, Spurs tried hard but are struggling against much better opposition all over the park.

The other two first grade games were played Sunday with Dubbo Bulls back to form with a 7-1 win over Workies at Lithgow and the local derby at Orange saw Waratahs retain their place at the top of the ladder disposing of Canobolas Rangers 7-0.

Waratahs lead the competition on 22 points, followed by Bulls and Panthers 21 with fourth place a tussle between Workies and Rangers (7) with Spurs on 1.

Probably the biggest upset of the round in all grades was the demise of Dubbo Bulls under-18s at Lithgow – not really the result, but the score – 4-0 to the home side.

That was only Bulls’ second loss of the season and in their previous eight games they had only conceded five goals.

However, they still sit on top of the ladder with 17 points, followed by Workies 16, Rangers 15, Panthers 14, Spurs 12 and Orange Waratahs 1.

WPSL administrator Jim Auld said the under-18s competition is shaping up to be one of the best for many years.

“I saw Panthers and Spurs finish one-one but I don’t think either team played up to its potential,” he said.

“What I do know is that this competition is a very competitive one. Two weeks ago Orana Spurs were the leaders, now they’re in fifth place. The changes seem to be coming on a weekly basis.

“I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season for these young players.”

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