Bristol Panthers 4 – 8 Cardiff Dragons

The Dragons visited Bristol for a 11’s match for the first time and ran out victorious in the return fixture between the clubs following on from the game in Cardiff earlier in the year. The match was played on a decent astrot turf surface in fine weather conditions and proved to be full of goals and entertaining throughout.

In the opening period the Dragons had much of the initial territory and threatened first when from one of a succession Anthony corners Muzz headed just over. The visitors continued to have the upper hand but Bristol looked dangerous on the break and nearly broke the deadlock when their centre forward split the Dragons defence but Christian dived full length to push the ball away for a corner. The opening goal however did arrive soon after following another Dragons attack when Stefan finished low into the corner on 15 minutes after being set up by Kris L. The visitors lead however lasted barely five minutes as a Bristol player was first to a corner to finish clinically from close in. The next goal was to prove important as a this stage Bristol had their tails up fashioning a couple of half chances which Christian dealt with well. It was the Dragons who got the next goal on 35 minutes when after going close from another Muzz header persistence from Mark saw him hold off a defender and round the keeper to finish from a tight angle. A third goal for the visitors ensued before half time as Mark again finished well from 12 yards following a ball in from the right from Sam.

The second half proved just as enthralling as the first and after an exciting but goalless first ten minutes Bristol had a great chance to reduce the arrears from a one on one but Christian closed down the Panthers forward who slid his shot wide. The hosts paid the price for this miss as the Dragons went straight up the other end to make it 4-1 when Anthony scored his debut 11’s goal for the club finishing well with a volley at the back post latching onto a cross from Stefan. At this stage the game looked all but won but Bristol were given a lifeline with two goals in quick succession first from a penalty awarded for handball and then when the Dragons gifted them a goal failing to clear from their 6 yard area. The visitors however soon regained their composure and the initiative with Mark capping a fine display with 3 further goals in ten minutes. The first was finished from close range with the second a right foot finish low into the corner from the edge of the box and the final one of the three curled into the top corner with his left foot. In between these goals Bristol gained what proved to be a consolation goal from a well struck free kick but Dragons remained in the ascendancy as Kris L and Dave F both went close with shots from distance. Dave F did find the target moments later with a fine curling shot from 25 yards out to complete an 8-4 victory for the Dragons.  To summarise there was an excellent contribution from all players and supporters alike on the day with the Dragons showing a great team ethic and playing some attractive and composed football at times during the match to earn a deserved victory.

Dragons squad on the day-

John Ainsley, Samuel Ashton, Mark Biggs, Jerry Bull, Lewi Callow, Jason Cousins, Aris DeSilva, Dave Fry, Murray Harvey (captain), Darrin Hughes, Richie Jones, Christian Jones, Kris Llewellyn, Stefan Morgan, Anthony Read (vice-captain), Paul Searle.