A DEPLETED squad meant that Mayfield Panthers under-11s had to dig deep and produce possibly their most tenacious display of the season to keep a clean sheet and gain maximum reward against Tutbury Tigers, thanks to Kieran Richardson’s early goal.
It also placed them, for the moment at least, at the top of Burton Junior League Division One, as neither of the other top three teams were in action.
The only goal of the match came after five minutes when Panthers played their way into the Tutbury area, and the ball broke for Richardson to send a shot arrowing into the net.
After that it was all backs to the wall for Mayfield as a determined Tutbury hammered away at their defences.
The whole team played their part in holding the opposition out, as midfielders Matt Moody and Ryan Pickering tackled fiercely, and were only too willing to assist the under-pressure back three of Matthew Wallis, Louis Birch and Owen Pugh plus goalkeeper Olly Greatrex.
Front-runners Matt Meakin, Jack Edge and Richardson endeavoured to make themselves available as an out to their colleagues, realising that every moment the ball spent in the opposition half was crucial.
With only one substitute available, the management team of Roger Wallis and Sam Howard had to handle their resources carefully, and Ben Robson joined the action when a fresh infusion was vital.
Panthers managed to keep their disciplined shape throughout, and the final whistle sounded the acquisition of three battling points, as Mayfield made it three wins in a row in league and cup.
The leadership battle hots up this Saturday, when Mayfield meet second-placed Willington Blue at St George’s Park.