CLOSING IN: Joel Cooper brings the ball to the edge of the Panthers’ box.
CLOSING IN: Joel Cooper brings the ball to the edge of the Panthers’ box. Keagan Elder

Wests grab half-chance and settle for a draw

A HALF chance was all that was needed to get the Kingaroy Wests to hold the Nanango Panthers to a draw.

Played at Wests' home ground, captain Thomas Carroll confidently led his team out onto the flood-lit field to front up against the table leaders.

With Carroll's eyes set on a spot in the President's Cup next week, he pushed his team to the max.

In the first 45 minutes, play was evenly spread but neither team could break the goal-less deadlock.

"It was nice and tight," Carroll said, "It could have gone either way."

The Wests players returned to the field in the second half with just as much ferocity as the first, but a lapse in concentration in the backline exposed them in front of goal.

A last-ditch tackle from a Wests defender got pinged for a handball by the referee, which allowed Kieran Mangan to slot in a penalty.

But Wests bounced back after they restarted play, bringing the ball up at any given opportunity.

"We had been pushing hard all game," Carroll said.

With a good passing game, Wests used the wings to bring the ball forward after they stretched out the Panthers' defence.

SHOTS FIRED: Pressure from Sheldon Livingstone opened up opportunities for Wests.
SHOTS FIRED: Pressure from Sheldon Livingstone opened up opportunities for Wests. Keagan Elder

Left winger Hayden Francis controlled the ball on the outskirts of the box to tuck it neatly in the back of the net.

"It was a nice little half-chance that Hayden snuck in and it stuck in the back of the net," Carroll said.

Wests were able to hold their ground until the final whistle to finish 1-1.

Carroll said this performance boosted Wests' confidence as they prepare to play Barambah at the weekend, where they hope for a crucial win.

"If we get a win, we'd lock a spot in the President's Cup," he said.

"We're in a good position to qualify, (but) there are plenty of things to improve on. We've got to improve on shooting accuracy.

"We had a few chances early on that could have changed the mood of the game."

Panthers' captain Mauro Buzzo said his team's performance matched their ability on the field as they put out their strongest team of the season.

"We were more balanced, with a good healthy set of players in virtually every position," he said.

"I thought we held well. (Wests) only got one in the penalty."

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