A last minute Dragons equaliser denied the Panthers victory in the latest meeting between the clubs, however a draw was a fair result in an evenly contested game played in good spirit.
The opening 20 minutes saw Bristol in the ascendancy with plenty of possession in the Dragons half but most of their efforts were kept to long range by the home defence. The visitors did go close on one occasion though when a corner was only partially cleared from inside the six yard box but then bounced back kindly into the keepers arms with a Panthers place ready to pounce. As the half wore on the Dragons came more into the game with Stefan making inroads down the left. It was as the Dragons were starting to threaten though that Bristol grabbed the first goal pouncing on a loose ball in the 6-yard area to score from close range. The Dragons raised their game further in an attempt to hit back quickly and Anthony got into two good positions through persistence around Panthers area. This resulted in two efforts on goal but the keeper dealt with one and the other went wide. In the last fifteen minutes of the half both sides forced a number of corners and the Panthers threw in several long throws into the box but these were generally dealt with well by both defences. Score 1-0 to Bristol at the break.
The Dragons made two changes at half time with Ruth and Tomos replacing Simon D and Michael W. Bristol also made regular changes throughout the match as both sides made sure everyone had plenty of football in the game. The second period saw the Dragons have much more of the game though Bristol still remained a threat with some decent attacks. From one of these they nearly added a second when a firm header from a corner was palmed away well by Kris in goal. At the other end the hosts had a great chance to equalise midway through the half when Anthony was put free through the centre and felled in the box just as he was about to shoot. The resultant penalty however was struck just wide by Stefan. This did not deter the Dragons though as Stefan and Simon D continued to work good situations down both flanks and a couple of excellent crosses just evaded the onrushing Dragons players. The Panthers then had a golden opportunity to wrap up the game when Kris missed his kick on the right of the area following a through ball but with the goal open the Panthers player lifted the ball over the bar. The visitors looked like they would see the game out though but they were made to pay for their missed opportunity minutes earlier as the game entered injury time. Muzz pushing further forward got onto a loose ball in the Panthers area and although he was felled the advantage was played and Stefan was quickest to react to the loose ball to guide it past the keepers outstretched hand to level the scores.
Thanks to Jason for refereeing the game and to our supporters on the day. Hywel was voted player of the match for the Dragons when we headed to Wow for some post match socialising.
Dragons squad:- Kris L, Michael W, Murray H (manager), Christian J, John A, Stefan M, Darrin H, Ryan McG, Simon D, Anthony R (captain), Hywel J, Ruth W, Tomos R.
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Cardiff Dragons 1 Hotscots 0 GFSN Division 2 Sat 3rd March 2012
The Dragons entertained Hotscots in the return league fixture between the sides and in a game of few chances it took a fine strike to settle a close game in favour of the Dragons for their first League points of the season.
The game was played at University Fields on a large pitch but a strong wind on the day made it difficult at times to play fluent football and thus chances were at a premium. The Hotscots started slightly the better attacking well down the left side but partly due to the wind the final ball was lacking and the home goal was not really troubled. The Dragons soon settled and the first real chance came their way when a free kick was won to the right of goal but Bruno was unable to find he target. Minutes later however another Dragons attack saw Bruno found in space on the left and he made no mistake this time with a fine left foot strike from 20 yards which arrowed into the net giving the keeper no chance. With the game very even at this point the Dragons were dealt two blows in quick succession around the half hour mark as both Chris G and Christian who were having good games forced to leave the field through injury. They were replaced by Michael W and Jason respectively with both using their experience to settle quickly into their positions. With continued solid and disciplined defending by the home side the Hotscots were restricted to just a single shot on target, a left foot strike from the edge of the box which was comfortably gathered by Mark who was solid in goal throughout. 1-0 to Dragons at the interval.
Defending a narrow lead the Dragons knew the second half was going to be more difficult as they battled against the strong wind as well as the visitors pushing forward with pace and greater numbers in search of the equalising goal. This proved to be the case as the majority of the first half hour was played in the Dragons half but despite this the home side fought for everything and closed down the space well to continuously break up the Hotscots attacks. The home defence was committed throughout earning the breaks by making intelligent decisions whilst competing for every loose ball. Although the midfield and attack worked hard to win and hold up the ball the Dragons struggled to create any fluent attacks themselves until the final 15 minutes when on one of these forays Anthony went close nearly getting onto a loose ball in the area. With the Hotscots continuing to be frustrated with chances at a premium it looked increasingly likely to be the Dragons day. The nearest the visitors came was an in swinging corner which hit the bar and a goal ruled out for offside following a free kick, when the ball which was crossing the line was touched by a player in an offside position. The Dragons weathered this and kept the ball better in the final ten minutes to take the game 1-0.
Thanks to David Keith for running the line and to all the vocal support which played it’s part in seeing the team to victory.
After the game we headed to Wow for some lovely beef stew before heading back into town later on for a great night out with the Hotscots.
Dragons squad:- Mark B, John A, Murray H (captain ), Michal L, Christian J, Jason C, Hywel J, Bruno J, Chris G, Michael W, Simon D, Anthony R, Darrin H, Ruth W.