Bristol Brunel Academy, Bristol Women’s Casual League (7-a-side)
9th January 2016
A dramatic final five minutes saw the Drocks fall to only their second defeat of the season, though an unluckier scenario would be difficult to imagine.
In a first half dominated by the pressing game of the Cardiff side, it seemed inevitable the goals would arrive. From the opening attacking move, Ruth made a great run to meet an inch-perfect cross from KP, only to see her attempt spoon narrowly over the bar. This was to prove a fair summary of the script for the rest of the half, with shots from KP, Harriet, Shona, and Meg H either saved, narrowly off target or desperately blocked by a Longhorn who created little to trouble the Drocks defence. Though Alex had few if any outright saves to make, the strong and accurate kicking and vocal command of the keeper was a major factor in the team’s superiority, as was the ball-winning of Shona, Hennie, and later Claire (in a long overdue league debut) in defence. Meg R proved her versatility with powerful turns back and front down the right side, and Harriet once again showed her all-round value to the side, breaking up any counter-attacks and distributing the ball with calm flair. Ahead of her, Meg H—growing in confidence with every touch—had her best game yet on the wing, with the skills of KP dominating the other flank and Ruth a constant thorn in the side of the opposing defence. Amy’s contributions brought strength and controlled passing to the midfield—and what has been unofficially voted the Most Powerful Header In Dragons History as she soared to turn defence into attack with one memorable intervention.
The pattern was unfortunately broken when the Longhorns took the lead with a good finish following a rare forward sortie midway through the second period. But the Drocks recovered their composure in characteristically spirited style, as KP—pushed further forward to terrorise the Bristol defence—at last found the back of the net with a crisp and well-deserved equaliser having struck the post with a long-range effort minutes before.
With five minutes remaining, the assault on the Longhorns goal became relentless; as corners fizzed across the goal-line, headers missed the target by millimetres and shot after shot was blocked by a defence in a virtual state of siege, few could have predicted the eventual outcome. The decisive moment came when a long clearance found a Longhorns attacker and the Dragons Rock defence—with a player down injured and unable to cover—was cruelly exposed by a supporting player. Alex did everything in his power to block the resulting shot, but the finish was cool and accurate.
To lose in such circumstances was difficult to swallow, but anyone watching from the touchline—including Sue, Anthony, Muzz, Jerry, Christina and stand-in manager Darrin—could only leave with positive thoughts concerning the Dragons Rock performance. The visible upward curve of improvement continues, and this match was further evidence of what a vigorous and exciting part of the Dragons picture the women’s game has become.
Congratulations to KP on her deserved award of Dragons Rock of the Day, though with a record six nominations that ought surely to be extended to the entire squad. Thanks also to our hosts and the staff at The Plough in Easton for the food and Shona’s free birthday tipple! Here’s to the next time. Heads up, Drocks!
Dragons scorer: KP 45
Dragons Rock: Alex; Amy, Claire, Harriet, Hennie (C), KP, Megan H, Megan R, Ruth, Shona.