It wasn’t always pretty, it wasn’t always easy on the nerves, but in the end the North Mississauga Panthers came out with the 3-2 win over Durham United F.A. on Friday night.

The Panthers gained the victory in front of dozens of fans at Field #1 at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre, where they returned for just the second time this year. An 89thminute goal from the Panthers’ Chris Simm, who gave a quick low shot from inside the box, gave the Panthers the lead and the game. 

“We just said to keep our heads,” said Panthers’ left back Sundin Esperance of what the mindset was when Durham tied the game. “We were a bit shaky in the end, but we got the job done.”

Simm’s goal was a quick answer to one scored by Durham two minutes earlier to tie the game. With that goal, Durham completed a comeback after being down 2-0 well into the second half. The other goal scorers for North Mississauga were Jordan Prescod, who scored in the 41stminute, and Nick Russo, who scored in the 53rd

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Raposo

The Panthers coaches and players were glad to get the win, which gives them 11 points on the season, currently tied for fifth place with Aurora F.C. But they also know they have to perform better against stiffer competition. The Panthers will be playing against teams in the top five in the standings in three of their next four games. 

With Coach Balta serving a one-game suspension, goalkeeping coach Justin Silveira and assistant coach Patrick Guirguis took on coaching duties for last Friday’s game. Silveira knows that while they were happy to get the win, there is still work to do. 

“In the second half we gave up two goals that definitely should not have conceded in our end,” said Silveira. “I was glad we responded right away after that second goal … we just have to mentally stay [in the game] and keep our shape.”

The Panthers returned home after spending five weeks on the road. This was only their second home game of the year, after their first game, where they tied 1-1 against Unionville Milliken S.C. The team’s schedule keeping them at home for the remainder of June is very welcome to the team.

“It’s much better,” said Silveira. “After five weeks of travelling on the road … it’s so good to get our home fans out.”

The Panthers next game will be at home against the Oakville Blue Devils at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre Field #1 on Friday, June 21 at 7:45 p.m.

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