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Ten Man Panthers Carve Out 4-2 Win Over FC London

09/01/2016, 9:15pm EDT
By League1 Ontario staff

North Miss Panthers continue to show their class, beating west division second place team FC London 4-2 on Wednesday night, completing a six game unbeaten streak. In fact, the Panthers have only lost once in three months.

"The guys are in great shape, they are working very well together, and we have a really tight-knit unit right now," said North Miss head coach, Rick Titus. 

"The football has been really really good to watch of late."

The two sides traded strikes in the first half, with visitors' London landing the first blow through a Randy Ribeiro (13') free kick and a dismissal to North Miss' David Alva within the first fifteen minutes. 

But the ten man Panthers were undeterred, quickly equalizing through finishes from Michael Krzeminski (26') and Joey Melo (30').

"Joey [Melo] started off the season a little slow because he was getting into shape, but as a player - for me - he is one of the best midfielders in Canada," said Titus. 

"If he can get himself in the right frame of mind, and be in the right environment, I think Joey could play pro. I think he'd make a very good pro. I'd like to help him get there. I've always had a lot of hope for Joey and I hope he comes around to finding his dream." 

Photo: Martin Bazyl

FC London's Elvir Gigolaj (43') levelled terms again going into the half-time break, adding his 20th goal this season to pad out his lead at the top of the Golden Boot race to three goals clear of Sigma's Leaford Allen. 

"I think for the people that are watching and scouting this league, Elvir must get a call," said FC London head coach, Mario Despotovic. 

"I don't know if it is MLS or what it is, but this guy deserves more. He is by far the best striker in this league. I have great respect for him as a player and a striker, he is the best striker in this league by far, and I'm very happy to have him in my team." 

The second half was all North Miss, with Jonathan Amoo (69') and Jordan Montoya (89') winning the match for the hosts with strikes that went without reply. 

Photo: Martin Bazyl

"When you are one zero up and have a man advantage, sometimes you will see the players not control their thinking anymore, stop thinking about the gameplan, and they begin to think 'this might be enough for today to win,'" said Despotovic.

"But it is not enough against a very good North Mississauga team. The North Mississauga team continued playing their playing style and they were better than us after we didn't control our thinking and stay with the gameplan. This is what happens. When you have a gameplan you have to execute it, and at one point the whole team was not doing it well, and this is why the game changed."

FC London remains in second place in the west with 37 points from 17 matches, only one point away from first place Sigma FC, but with two games in hand on the leaders. 

North Miss solidified their third place position with 32 points from 18 matches, and with their red-hot form and both Sigma and FC London stuttering of late - anything is possible going into the final four match end-of-season set.

Johnson Amoo (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

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