Hotscots 5 Cardiff Dragons 1 GFSN League Sunday 27th Nov 2011
This was the second trip to Edinburgh in Dragons history and despite the result not going our way it was just as memorable as the first. Fifteen of us made the journey by various modes of transport with the majority in the Dragon bus. The long 9 hour journey each way was made easier by the various quizzes, quips and random conversations which took place. David was sterling in his efforts as driver ensuring the troops and service stops were kept in order especially at controversial Tebay!
After arriving we checked into our accommodation at Haggis Hostels a nice clean hostel but not much space between the bunks causing much banging of heads and knees. We also had a guest sleeping in one of our bunks when we arrived but he was kind enough to leave. On heading into town we had a sociable meal with much haggis whilst watching football in a traditional Edinburgh establishment with several fine beers on offer. We then headed to the bars starting in Precillas where we took over the karaoke stage. There were solo performances by Dave A, Bruno, Michael and Jason and duets from Anthony and Ryan and Roger and Darrin. Mixed results ensued but the highlight was Delilah which we sang passionately as a group with Amos taking lead role on the air drums. We then moved onto CC Blooms club dancing away and arriving back to the hostel at various times of the morning. Later that morning several of us visited the fabulous local café for a mixture of stunning breakfasts then David arrived with Dragonbus to round us up and get us to the venue in good time.
Onto the game and it was a typical cold and blustery Edinburgh day but sunny all the same. The pitch was in pretty good condition but the grass was long so passing proved difficult at times. We stated the game well keeping our opponents at bay and soon gaining much territory in their half the midfield 3 of Michal, Michael and Anthony were working hard to break up play and win us some ball. John and Bruno were getting into good positions on the wing and several mazy Bruno runs were causing our opponents headaches. Sam was working hard up front to close the opposition down and receive the ball in threatening positions. The game was looking even at this point but whilst defending fairly well with Tomos having a solid league debut we were caught out twice. First when we failed to clear and secondly following a free kick. The Hotscots took full advantage with two good strikes from long range finding the net. At the other end we made opportunities ourselves with a good cross from the right just evading Anthony. We also forced a number of corners but these were cleared and Anthony had a half chance with a volleyed attempt. 2-0 at halftime to the Hotscots which was harsh on the balance of play.
We were up against it at the start of the second half as we did not start the half as well as the first and soon found ourselves 3-0 down. We slowly got into our rhythm though making some positional changes including introducing Darrin and David into the game. Bruno was continuing to cause the hosts headaches having switched wings and as we became more of a threat we put in a few dangerous crosses but were unable to get bodies onto the end of them. We did score a deserved goal though when Bruno got on the end of a ball in the area and finished low into the corner to make it 3-1. We fought hard to get back into the game as Bruno had a shot from the edge of the area following another good run. We could not reduce the deficit further though and the pace of the Hotscots forward line allowed them to create further chances with two close range finishes making the final score 5-1.
Dragons Squad:- John Q, Tomos R, Ryan M, Jason C, Anthony R (captain), Michal L, Michael W, John A, Bruno J, Sam A, Darrin H, David K.
Cardiff Dragons 0 Trowbridge Tigers 1 Southwest League 20.11.11
The Dragons put in a very solid team performance in their third Southwest League game of the season and as in the previous two games they were unlucky not to gain at least a point on the day. The match was played in good conditions although the pitch was boggy in areas.
Trowbridge began the game the stronger exerting some early pressure down both flanks and opened the scoring inside the first 10 minutes with a neat finish from 12 yards fro a cross wish was not cleared. Another good chance followed soon afterwards but a fine fingertip save from John Q in goal prevented a second. Once the Dragons had found their footing they began to take more control and with the defence now looking solid and getting forward well in conjunction with the midfield with Aris then Michael working well with Anthony and Darrin. The Dragons nearly equalised on 15 minutes when Aris broke clear but his shot was smothered by the visitors keeper. The ascendancy the Dragons now had continued throughout the half with Simon and Mark both going close with half chances and the keeper making another good block as Mark broke into the box. The visitors still remained dangerous on the break and fashioned a good opportunity on the half hour when they broke the offside trap but the resulting shot was parried away well. They also went close from a couple of corners but Jason was in good position to clear the chances off the line. The Dragons forced some corners themselves but could not make anything of them but as the half drew to a close Mark was denied by a fingertip save as Trowbridge preserved their 1-0 lead.
The second half took a similar pattern to the first with Trowbridge having the best of the first few minutes. A mazy run saw them nearly fashion a chance but the danger was averted by a last ditch tackle. Their attempts throughout the half though were restricted to mostly efforts from distance which although finding the target were dealt with comfortably by John in goal. The greater danger was coming from the Dragons though chances came and went. Simon went close but was denied by the visitors keeper and Bruno tested the keeper with a well struck free kick from 25 yards. With the full backs getting forward to support Bruno and Simon D on the wings and the hard working central midfield winning ball, the Dragons put in several dangerous crosses from both corners and open play but through good play and a bit of luck Trowbridge managed to retain their lead. Mark was re-introduced for the final quarter and went very close when first his shot was blocked for a corner and then another fiercely struck effort across goal was palmed away brilliantly by the visitors keeper. It was not to be however for the Dragons as the elusive leveller did not arrive and Trowbridge went away with the narrowest of victories.
Ryan was voted Dragon of the day performing very well with Christian in central defence. Thanks to those Dragons who provided as usual excellent support to the team.
Dragons squad:- John Q, Tomos R, Ryan M, Christian J, Jason C, Simon D, Aris D, Anthony R, Darrin H, Mark W, Simon E, Bruno J, John A, Michael W.
Nottingham Ballbois 4 Cardiff Dragons 3 GFSN Cup 2nd round – Sun 13th Nov 2011
The Dragons made their second trip to Nottingham this season and with a strong squad travelling put in a vastly improved performance than on their previous visit.
With the match played in decent conditions the first period began with both sides having an even amount of territory but neither could sustain any consistent pressure or force any clear opportunities. The Dragons did win an early corner when Bruno was put in on the left but this was cleared and Ballbois opened the scoring soon afterwards when the ball was allowed in from the left and finished from close range on 15 minutes. A second followed soon afterwards in similar fashion and the Dragons found themselves 2-0 down which was harsh on the run of play. Nottingham gained confidence from their goals and forced a couple of corners and a long range effort which was well gathered by John in goal. The Dragons remained a threat throughout the half though winning a series of free kicks in dangerous positions but they were unable to make the most of these although came close to reducing the deficit when a great cross from the left by Bruno was only just failed to be converted. A deserved goal did however arrive on 35 minutes when Chris C found space inside the area and finished low into the corner of the net from 12 yards. Nottingham replied with a couple of breaks down the flanks ending in goalmouth scrambles but the score remained 2-1 at half time.
The game took a similar pattern in the second half with neither team able to string any sustained possession together but at the same time still looking threatening with some incisive play. With the Dragons looking like they could force a leveler they were punished when a mistake in defence allowed a Ballbois’ player to break clear from a rebound and finish well into the bottom corner from 18 yards. In similar fashion to the first half Nottingham added another soon after when their forward was not picked up in the area but he still did well to finish with an excellent scissor kick. Despite the 4-1 score line there was still enough encouragement from the Dragons forward play that they could get back into things and this proved the case when Bruno finished from close range after his initial shot was saved. This led to further Dragons chances with Ed firing wide from the right of the box and a several blocked attempts following a goalmouth scramble. A third goal did arrive though for the Dragons when the home keeper was unable to deal with Bruno’s well placed 25 yard free kick. With 10 minutes remaining and some personnel and formation changes from both sides the game became very open and end to end. The Ballbois had a couple of great chances to kill the game off but one attempt was cleared off the line and another lifted over the bar from close in. This led to them becoming increasingly edgy and with the Dragons pushing forward in numbers and an equliser nearly came when the home keeper was caught out of position but the chance could not be converted. With time running out the Ballbois were able to hold on for a narrow victory in a game which was played at high tempo but in excellent spirit and well refereed on the day.
Dragons squad:- John Q, Ryan M, Murray H (manager), Dave F, John A, Ed L, Anthony R (captain), Michael W, Christopher G, Bruno J, Chris C, Simon E, Michal L, Christian J, Jason C.
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.