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Nottingham Ballbois 4 – 3 Cardiff Dragons

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.