Dragons v Bristol Panthers FC (South West League) match report

Dragons 6 – 2 Bristol Panthers (South West League)

Sunday 25th January 2015

Match report by Ryan, Football Manager

It was a perfect winter day for the Dragons to kick off the second half of our season against our local rivals, the Bristol Panthers. With a crucial GFSN match coming up next week against the London Leftfooters, this game would give us a good chance to blow out the winter cobwebs and build some momentum.

We hadn’t played 11-a-side for 2 months, and for the first 20 minutes it showed. Although the Panthers offered little threat, the Dragons struggled to keep control of the game, and at times the game resembled a pinball machine, with possession bouncing back and forward between the sides. We began to regain our composure midway though the first half, and around the 27th minute we broke the deadlock. Captain Emyr played a great ball down to the left wing to Mehdi. Mehdi tore straight down the left, swinging in a cross which was blocked with a dubious handball claim by the Bristol right back. As the ref waved play-on, Mehdi kept up the attack, swinging another cross in, for Ryan B to nod home from the 6 yard line. 1-0 Dragons.

The lead didn’t last long however. Despite not really threatening the Dragons goal, the Panthers drew level, 5 minutes later. The Panthers swung in a corner, which Dave tried to punch away. Unfortunately it bounced off Fudge’s face & into the net. 1-1. We had some good attacks down both wings, with Hadleigh having a great debut & breaking well down the right, however it stayed level until half-time.

The Dragons came out in the second half with much more composure and more of an attacking edge, however 5 minutes in the Panthers almost regained the lead. After a counter-attack down the left wing left the Dragons’ defence exposed, their left winger chipped it over keeper Ryan. As the earth slowed on its axis, time stopped, and the ball bounced in slow motion towards the Dragons’ net. Somehow, despite the mud, it bounced high enough for the Panthers to be denied by the crossbar.

Liam regained the lead for the Dragons on the 53rd minute, curling in a 30 yard free kick into the bottom left corner. 2-1. Fudge went one better on the hour mark, making it 3-1 with a long range free kick just 5 yards into the Panthers’ half. The Dragons kept up the pressure, pushing for more, with some great breaks by Craig down the right. Liam won a penalty on the 72nd minute after being taken down by a sluggish Bristol defender. Craig finished it in fine style, placing it just above the keeper to the left. 4-1 Dragons.

I’m writing this match report from the video of the match, and (un)fortunately Bristol’s second goal wasn’t captured very well. From memory it involved a high ball in, Ryan attempting to punch it, and unfortunately the ball rebounded into the net. Wasn’t worth seeing anyway 😉

Five minutes from time Emyr put the match beyond doubt. Fudge dispossessed the Panthers deep in our half and played it straight through the middle, for Em to bring it down and coolly slot it into the bottom corner.

In the dying seconds of the game, Liam got his second, with an in-swinging corner that the keeper was unable to keep out.

With a final score of 6-2, a great day to for the Dragons. Overall a very composed performance, a thanks to our opponents who played the match in great spirits. We know they have had some troubles in the past year so it’s good to see our local rivals are staying together as a team.

The Dragons lined up as follows:

Dave, Ryan M, Muzz, Chris G, Jon A, Fudge, Emyr ©, Mehdi, Hadleigh, Deane, Ryan B

Subs (all used): Liam, Craig, Jay