Mixed Gender 11-a-side GFSN League
University Fields, Llanrumney, 23rd April 2016
A strong mixed squad gave one of the iconic clubs of LGBT football a real scare before finally yielding.
In the final GFSN League fixture of the season, the Dragons maintained the progression of recent displays to produce perhaps their most cohesive performance yet. The return of Muzz and Emyr—both absent from the Yorkshire defeat—added increased competitiveness and creativity respectively, and the two combined after ten minutes to produce a shock lead. After a foul on Harriet just outside the box, the captain surprised Village with an intentionally (hmmm…) scuffed effort, which Muzz seized upon to stroke in from close range. With John and Fudge in impassable mood, Hennie having her best game yet and Harriet, Darrin, Meg H and Emyr covering acres of ground to limit midfield space, the Dragons held their advantage with commitment and determination, always looking to pounce on the counter through the varied options of Ruth and Charlotte. Ryan M’s goalkeeping sequel seemed on the way to matching the rave reviews of his previous heroics in London, until a Manchester corner was met by a powerful header which his and Darrin’s combined efforts could not prevent crossing the goal line.
With Jason, Meg R, Beth and Jerry introduced, Village pressed for the lead during the period of readjustment; but despite their increased possession and a string of corners they found the fresh batch of Dragons as obdurate as their predecessors, and the teams entered the break on level terms.
Forced into a tactical rethink and even a change of keeper, Manchester explored every avenue to find a way through, and were rewarded early in the second half with a well-taken goal. Despite another reshuffle—the introduction of Liam in particular adding menace to the Dragons attacking efforts—the visitors extended their lead when a ball deliberately bounced directly onto Meg R’s hand, which for some reason was considered a penalty offence! It was tough on Meg, who had a storming game at full-back, and on the team, who fought all the way through an open and lively second half, their best chance narrowly evading Ruth after a run from Liam.
Two late goals put a flattering gloss on the result for the away side, but they were ultimately worthy winners and sporting opponents, who joined the Dragons for post-match food, live football and later on a very civilised and sophisticated soiree in the City centre, where a little drink was taken.
Muzz and Emyr shared the Dragon of the Day vote from nine nominations, illustrating the depth of the performance. The GFSN squad continue to grow in belief and experience, and there are very encouraging signals as we look to build on this year’s tough initiation next season. Well done to Anthony on deploying his resources so skilfully, and thanks to Amos, Sue, Rhys, Cara, Donna, Little Dragon Alex and anyone I may have forgotten for coming to support, and to Craig for the whistling.
As a summary of the league this season, the results may not look the best on paper but our journey has been about so much more than that. We have revisited the drawing board, opened up the team selection, had lots of players making their debuts and have had more female players in the GFSN this season than ever before in Dragons history. Players have gained so much invaluable game time, development & experience. There’s no doubt it’s a fantastic foundation to build on for next season.
Dragons scorer: Muzz
Cardiff Dragons: Bethan, Charlotte, Darrin, Emyr (C), Fudge, Harriet, Hennie, Jason, Jerry, John A, Liam, Meg H, Meg R, Muzz, Ruth, Ryan M.