The Dragons travelled to Bristol in the South West League but unfortunately it was not their day and they could not come away with a victory in a game they deserved to win in terms of their play and chances created.
The first half began brightly for the Dragons with some slick interplay down the right resulting in an early chance for Anthony who found space in the area but the ball span away to safety. At the other end the Dragons defense worked excellently as a unit dealing with the threat of a decent Panthers forward line and despite Bristol having several forays forward these did not lead to any clear chances. They did manage to force a few corners but the nearest they came was a shot from the edge of the area which was well turned round for a corner by John who made an assured debut in goal. As the half wore on the Dragons gradually gained the ascendancy and this led to several good scoring opportunities. Anthony was unfortunate not to score with one of these chances when he lobbed the goalkeeper only for the ball to come back off the bar and then Simon’s follow up attempt was cleared off the line. Not long after the Dragons won a corner on the right and a good ball in was met with a free header by Paul from point blank range but the ball somehow cleared the bar. There were also further half chances for Stefan, Mark and Anthony but their well struck shots from range were either blocked or flew just wide of the target as the score remained at 0-0 at the break.
The second half saw Bristol start the stronger and this resulted in an early opportunity when their forward was not picked up but his shot from an angle went narrowly wide. Chances still came at the other end though as Mark shot over from the edge of the area and Anthony again went close with a shot inches over the bar. The crucial opening goal arrived in controversial circumstances when the visitors defense hesitated expecting a handball decision but play was allowed to continue allowing the Bristol player to finish low into the corner from 18 yards. The Dragons then had a great chance to reply immediately when the ball rebounded to Anthony 12 yards out but he shot over when well placed and then a close offside decision prevented another scoring chance. The Panthers then extended their lead with a vary well taken goal volleyed in from 12 yards following a cross giving the keeper no chance. The Dragons introduced all of their substitutes in the final half hour and continued to play much attractive football but it was to prove to be a frustrating afternoon as two more good opportunities were cleared off the line by the Bristol defense. Mark’s free kick from 25 yards then narrowly cleared the bar and a breakaway goal from Bristol following a long ball over the top finally killed off the Dragons as the game ended 3-0 to the hosts. Well done to both Tomos and John Q who both played solidly in their first full 11-a side game for the Dragons. Also thanks to our loyal supporters who once again provided excellent backing to the team.
Dragons squad:- John Q, Jason C (acting manager), Paul S, Dave F, Tomos R, Simon D, Ryan M, Stefan M, Anthony R (captain), Darrin H, Mark B, Bruno J, Aris D, John A, Leanne R, Michael W.
Cardiff Dragons 0 Newcastle Panthers 2 GFSN National League Division 2
After the disappointment of their first two League games the Dragons put in a much improved performance against Newcastle but in an even encounter were unable to gain any points from the game going down to two second half goals.
The match was played in fine weather and on a good surface allowing some fluent football to be played. The Dragons began the game the better with some composed passing throughout the team regularly forcing attacking situations down both wings and more centrally through Crispin. This eventually led to some presentable chances with Bruno firing over from the angle and again going close with a header following a good cross from Aris. As the half grew on though Newcastle gradually came more into the game and forced a couple of scares with a dangerous cross and a through ball which was well smothered by Dave A. The visitors then had a great chance to open the scoring when they were awarded a penalty but Dave A guessed right and saved the kick well and the scored remained 0-0 at the interval.
The second period also saw the Dragons make a bright start with the midfeld working well and some good link up between Anthony and Bruno down the left resulted in a testing cross from the latter which was clawed away well by the keeper. This was soon followed by another one-two between the same two players resulting in a rising shot from Bruno which was not too far wide. Chances continued to come with a header wide from Ed following a corner and a left foot strike from Crispin which was dealt with well by the visitors keeper. It was not all one-way traffic though as the Panthers broke well and with the Dragons looking favourites to open the scoring they were shocked as Newcastle took a grip on the game with two quick goals midway through the half. The first came from the penalty spot when the Dragons were punished for failing to clear their lines and the second from a neat low finish from 12 yards when the Panthers found space on the left of the area.
In the final twenty minutes the Dragons made some changes with Stefan, Michal and Simon D introduced and Muzz pushing further up but despite having the majority of territory no goals ensued. The nearest the Dragons came was when Muzz’s header was gathered by the keeper and Stefan fired just wide after finding space inside the box but with time running out Newcastle saw the game out.
Thanks as always to all those who came down on the afternoon to support the team.
Dragons squad: Dave A, Murray H, Paul S, Aris D, John A, Michael W, Bruno J, Anthony R (captain), Ryan M, Edwin L, Crispin S, Stefan M, Simon D, Michal L, Jason C.
Titans Annual 11’s Tournamnet – Venue Clapham, 15th October 2011.
Another early start for the Dragons as we headed to London for the third year to compete in the Titans annual 11-a-side tournament. The weather was unusually warm and sunny for the time of year and with 5 matches of 20 minutes the day was a tiring one. The format of the tournament provided the opportunity for everyone to get a decent amount of football and a chance to try some players in different positions. There were some very accomplished and experienced teams there on the day so we were tested at times and although our performances were mixed we played some good football at times and were unlucky not to come away with a goal or two for our efforts. The squad we took was fairly small but everyone contributed greatly and we played with a good team spirit and togetherness throughout the day. There was a great turnout of players and supporters and there was generally a relaxed and friendly feel to the day.
The first game was a difficult one for us as we had little time to prepare as we were delayed in arriving but it was still a tight game settled by a single goal. In our second game we played eventual winners Manchester and put in a much improved performance and could easily have come away with at least a draw but lost out to goal in the final 5 minutes. The Leftfooters game was a disappointment as we never really got going with our opponents capitalising on their chances with two very well taken goals. We improved again in our next game against Stonewall and could easily have won but both sides suffered from a lack of clinical finishing. We did not end on the best of performances as a strong and pacey Romans side capitalised on errors and tiredness to win comfortably.
Overall a good learning experience for everybody especially for the newer players in the squad who had not experienced a tournament of this format before.
Dragons Squad:- Dave A, Murray H (manager), Anthony R (captain), Jason C, Darrin H, Dave F, Michael W, Tomos R, Ryan M, John A, Simon D, Mark B, Bruno J, Peter (joined us from Falcons for the day)
Cardiff Dragons 0-1 London Titans 2 Brewers
Cardiff Dragons 0-1 Manchester Village
Cardiff Dragons 0-2 Leftfooters
Cardiff Dragons 0-0 Stonewall
Cardiff Dragons 0-4 Romans
Cardiff Dragons 1 Leicester Wildcats 7 GFSN League Div 2 – 2nd October 2011
On a very hot and sunny Cardiff afternoon an accomplished all round performance by the Widlcats saw them run out worthy winners over the Dragons.
The game started very evenly with attacking intent from both sides. Some good link up play in the Dragons midfield resulting in a couple of good runs and crosses from Bruno but unfortunately no one could get on the end of them. At the other end Leicester fashioned a couple of half chances with a header wide from a free kick and a sot from 18 yards which also missed the target. On the quarter hour mark though the visitors did find the net when the ball was squared from the left and finished well into the bottom corner from 18 yards. The Wildcats continued to play freely and it was not long before they scored again with a firm header from an in swinging corner. Not long after Leicester increased their advantage to 3-0 from an excellent volleyed finish across the keeper from the left edge of the area. On 35 minutes the Dragons had a great opportunity to strike back quickly when a cross found Michael in space 10 yards out but although he found the target the keeper was able to gather the shot. With 10 minutes to go before the break Jason replaced Nicky who unfortunately had to come off injured after replacing Aris only a couple of minutes earlier.
The second half saw both teams have a similar amount of territory but the Dragons were once again undone by some clinical Leicester finishing as they added further goals at regular intervals the best of these being a volley into the top corner from 18 yards when the ball was only half cleared. The Dragons who had made some positional changes with Michal being introduced at the break made chances themselves with Michal himself shooting over from the edge of the area. They were rewarded with a deserved goal when a good ball over the visitors defence from Murray was taken down and finished by Anthony. This was followed by a 25 yard strike from Murray which the keeper held well. During the second period the Dragons brought on Darrin and Ruth into the fray with Ruth making her league debut.
Thanks to all those who came and provided excellent support to the team as usual. Well done to Anthony who was voted Dragon of the day
Dragons squad:- Christian J (GK), John A, Murray H, Ryan M, Aris D, Hywel J, Anthony R (captain), Simon D, Michael W, Bruno , Ed L, Jason C, Michal , Darrin H, Ruth W, Nicky.