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Bristol Panthers 3 – 0 Cardiff Dragons

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.