The Panthers eventually tied the game in the first half and scored two more goals in the second to give the hosts a 3-1 win over the Dragons, who split the season series with their new Keenan Division rivals.

Duxbury overwhelmed the Panthers in the early going, as Joe Carroll gave the Dragons the lead in the first minute. After scoring, Duxbury continued to control the play, keeping the ball in the Whitman-Hanson end of the field for most of the first 10 minutes, as they continually won the air balls and forced Whitman-Hanson to kick the ball out of bounds to regroup defensively.

Despite Duxbury’s pressure, the Whitman-Hanson defense prevented the Dragon forwards from penetrating inside the box and forced Duxbury to take shots from the perimeter.

Midway through the half, Whitman-Hanson began to go on the offensive, as the game took a more physical turn. Duxbury’s Greg Loreaux collided with Panther midfielder Aaron Roscoe, giving Whitman-Hanson a penalty kick from just in front of the Duxbury bench. Josh Mavilia hooked the free kick in front of the Dragon goal where it ricocheted off a Duxbury defender trying to cover James Comerford, and rolled into the Duxbury net to tie the game.

The Panthers gained plenty of momentum after scoring, and put together a series of scoring chances that were broken up by the Duxbury defense and keeper Justin Marino.

With two minutes to go in the half, the Dragons moved up the field with a series of throw-ins, but Mavilia broke up a Duxbury cross headed for the front of the Panther goal for the last serious scoring bid by either team in the first half.

Starting the second half, both teams picked up their intensity and got increasingly physical, as they pushed for the go-ahead goal. The Panthers kept the ball in the Duxbury end, but couldn’t get a shot off, thanks to stingy defense by the Dragons.

After a counter-attack earned a corner kick, the Dragons forced another corner in the 14th minute of the half, but once again could not covert as the Panthers pushed the ball back up field. Losing possession deep in Duxbury territory, Comerford made up for it by stealing the ball on a Duxbury throw-in and banging it off the left post and into the right corner of the net to make it 2-1 with 21:15 to go.

Two minutes later Comerford was at it again, as he broke down the sideline and into the corner of the field, finding Tyler Sloan all alone in front of the net after he drew the Duxbury defense to his side.

The Panthers continued to go on the offensive as time wound down, keeping the ball in the Duxbury end of the field for the final 10 minutes to wrap up the win.

Now sporting a 9-6 record, the Dragons will finish their regular season schedule in the next few days when they travel to Plymouth North on Wednesday night for a 7 p.m. start, followed by a game with Marshfield on Monday night at 6:30 p.m. in Duxbury.