THERE wasn’t much left to be said in the dressing sheds in the wake of the Monaro Panthers 4-2 capitulation to Tuggeranong United last Sunday.
Absent was the usual coach’s address. As was the post-game banter that generally comes even in the aftermath of a loss.
The silence that followed the side’s 10th defeat from 12 games this season said it all.
After taking a 2-1 lead into half-time against United at Kambah Oval, the Panthers suffered yet another late fade-out as Tuggeranong found the back of the net three times in the final half an hour of play.
Having conceded four goals in the final 10 minutes against Cooma the previous week, Monaro’s inability to finish off games this season is becoming an ever-increasing concern.
“Our last 10 minutes is killing us and it’s just happened too many times now,” Panthers coach Frank Cachia acknowledged. “I reckon we would have conceded about half of our goals in the last 10 minutes of games this year, that’s how bad it’s been.
“The concern is we’re not just conceding one goal, once we let one in we seem to concede one or two more in pretty quick fashion which is obviously a problem.
“There’s not too much you can say after a loss like that [against Tuggeranong], everyone is pretty gutted.”
The Panthers defence has proven brittle at times this season. The club boasts the worst defensive record in the ACT Premier League having conceded 47 goals while scoring just 14.
But Cachia denied there was a lack of belief in the squad despite the side’s worrying tendency to crumble under pressure.
“I think the boys have shown a fair bit of character this season,” Cachia said. “We were 1-0 down [against Tuggeranong] and got ourselves back into a winning position so I think it’s more to do with having such a young squad than any lack of belief.
The Panthers will be looking to halt their run of second-half lapses when they take on fellow battlers Canberra City at Riverside Stadium this weekend.
While Monaro is entrenched on the bottom of the ACT Premier League ladder, the side is only four points adrift of the seventh-placed City.
ACT Premier League, round 13
Who: Monaro Panthers v Canberra City
Where: Riverside Stadium
When: Sunday, 3pm