Cardiff Dragons 3 – 1 Michaelstone Rangers

Match report

Pontcanna Fields, Men’s Sunday Lazarou League

28th February 2016

The Dragons celebrated their first return fixture in the Sunday League by completing the double over Rangers in a free-flowing game.

Taking time to settle and organise the defence in front of rookie keeper Neil, the team conceded early ground and chances; but two impressive and crucial stops soon allayed any fears, and a breakaway chance for Dan, slotted between the keeper’s legs and narrowly wide, gave an indication of the Dragons threat. It took almost the entire half for the subsequent opportunities—as the team gradually seized control—to convert into goals, but a sharp counter-attack involving Fudge, Liam and Dan resulted in George breaking the deadlock with a superb piece of control and stunning finish after forty minutes.

Rangers attempted to turn up the heat, but in truth were more of a vocal than footballing irritant, and—despite an injury to Christian and defensive reshuffles—created little, whilst the Dragons front six were a constant danger, and when Liam beat the offside trap to guide a firm headed lob into the net just before the hour, matters appeared to be in hand. However, an almost immediate response from Michaelstone put the result back in the balance, and when a petulant kick out from one of their strikers failed to attract the referee’s censure doubts about the destiny of the points may have begun to arise.  With Chris and Muzz in complete control at the back, George and Emyr competitive and creative in midfield, and Fudge’s enthusiastic running combining with the fast, skilful raids of Liam, Claudio and Dan to fill the opposition defence with panic, it would have been a travesty had the victory not been consolidated;  both Claudio and Liam struck the uprights and shots from George, Dan and Claudio narrowly failed to extend the lead before captain Emyr popped up on the end of a Liam free kick to tuck in the third.

Once again, the Dragons demonstrated their ability to create chances and an impressive team spirit and solidarity in the face of provocative situations. Neil’s bravery in goal earned him the Dragon of the Day award, no mean feat in a squad of all-round excellence on the day.  Congratulations to him, and to Anthony for managing the team to a sixth consecutive league win.  Thanks also to Chris’, Liam’s and Adam’s families, Jerry, Amos and Darrin for turning up in the freezing wind to support, to Craig for a no-nonsense turn with the linesman’s flag, and to our opponents for their charm and sportsmanship.

Dragons scorers: George 41; Liam 58; Emyr 73

HT 1-0

Cardiff Dragons: Neil; John A (Ryan M), Muzz, Chris, Christian (Adam); George, Emyr (C), Mehdi (Claudio), Liam, Fudge; Dan.

Cardiff Dragons 7 – 0 Cardiff Boyo’s

Match report

Pontcanna, Men’s Sunday Lazarou League

14th February 2016

With the Pontcanna swamps at last resembling something like a football pitch, the Dragons resumed their Lazarou League campaign by posting this resounding victory, which saw them climb into the top four.

The result, achieved against a numerically depleted bottom club, is probably not as impressive as it appears on paper; but the job still had to be done, and after such a lengthy hiatus it was pleasing to see the team in such dominant, creative and prolific form.

In truth, it took a while for the absolute dominance to translate into goals—some complacent and over-eager play in the final third combined with stubborn work from the Boyos defence keeping the scores level until the 22nd minute, when a neat through ball found George evading the offside trap to finish cleanly from just inside the box.  This was one of over thirty shots on goal mustered by the Dragons during the game, and the first of a hat-trick which crowned a superb debut performance for which George was awarded Dragon of the Day.  The second came in contrasting style—a bullet header from the pick of a series of well-taken corners from Christian (another Sunday league debut).  Fudge picked his spot to add the third before the break after a brave challenge from Zak.

With the team freshened up by some positional and personnel changes in the second half (Claudio adding his name to the list of debutants), the attacking tide continued to rise, intensified by the tiring opposition, and the chances continued to flow. George slotted in his third following a sharp pass from Chris, then Emyr conjured up a late hat-trick of his own to give the scoresheet a more realistic look—though with greater match-sharpness it could surely have been many more.  Credit is also due to Ryan in goal, who had only one save to make, from a very well struck free kick in the ninetieth minute, and preserved the clean sheet in cat-like fashion.

Well done to the squad, to Emyr for doubling up as captain and manager for the day (assisted by Darrin from the touchline), and to the many supporters who braved the chill wind.

Dragons scorers: George 22, 36, 48; Fudge 40; Emyr 76, 77, 87

HT 3-0

Cardiff Dragons: Ryan B; Neil (Adam 45), Muzz, Chris G, John A (Dan 45); Zak (Claudio 45), Emyr, George, Christian, Liam; Fudge.

Subs: Craig, Adam, Claudio, Dan.

Dragons Rock 1 – 0 The Bristols

Match report

Bristol Brunel Academy, Bristol Women’s Casual League (7-a-side)

6th February 2016

FvH tile

Another fine victory for the Drocks saw them take their points tally into double figures and consolidate a top-half position against hitherto unbeaten opponents.

In a match dedicated to the Football Vs Homophobia campaign, the players could hardly have done the cause of social justice and equality more credit with a display of teamwork, determination and inspiration in the face of hostile elements.

Beginning brightly, the team capitalised on a following wind and the penetrating kicking of Alex to pin the Bristols back, and it was not long before leading goal scorer KP spun on a sharp assist from Harriet to guide the ball low into the net. Having established the advantage, it was over to the defence to deal with the inevitable backlash; with Hennie an imposing barrier and Meg R outbattling anyone with the nerve to take her on, and both using the ball calmly and accurately, the Drocks saw the first half out with few serious threats on their goal, a confident and constantly improving Alex diving low to cover a firm drive on the sole occasion the keeper’s skills were truly called upon.

With the gale in their favour, the Bristols ensured the result was never secure in the second period, but the Blues rallied round the badge, Harriet covering every soggy pellet and blade of artificial grass to keep the team moving forward, Shona an icon of dependable defending and Ruth a solid outlet on the counter-attack. There were some elegant passing phases too, with Bethan and KP in excellent form and Meg H intimidating the left-sided defenders with her willingness to run with the ball at her feet.  One superb angled pass from Bethan narrowly evaded the oncoming Ruth in the Dragons’ most dangerous moment of the half.

A series of Bristols corners towards the end of the game had the Drocks chorus (the vocal powers of Sue thankfully recovered!) lifting the pitch of their singing and the quieter ones biting their nails, but the team—with the reassuring presence of Alex behind them—threw body and soul into defending the clean sheet. The crucial role of Meg R in this phase, winning every ball, thwarting every attempted cross, and clearing the danger deep into opposition territory at every opportunity, won her the Dragons Rock of the Day vote ahead of impressive competition (six nominees for the second successive game).

Congratulations to Meg, the squad and manager Ryan, and thanks to our indefatigable supporters Sue, Amos, Darrin, Anthony, Muzz and Amy M for taking a real soaking for the team. Special thanks are also due to The Bristols and referee Bob (can he whistle? YES HE CAN!) for supporting the FvH day and lining up with us in the post-match photos.

The only downer is that just one more game remains in what has been a fantastic season. It would be amazing if as many members of the club as possible could come along on the 5th of March and celebrate the finale with Dragons Rock. You won’t regret it!

Dragons scorer: KP 4

HT 1-0

Dragons Rock: Alex; Beth, Harriet, Hennie (C), KP, Megan H, Megan R, Ruth, Shona.

FvH tshirts

FvH DrocksFvH both teams