Dragons show fight in Premier League

United pushes reign­ing cham­pi­ons

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

THE Dou­glas United Dragons have put in a dogged and com­pet­i­tive dis­play in their re­turn to the Far North Queens­land Premier League, go­ing down 3-0 on Sun­day af­ter­noon against reign­ing pre­miers Edge Hill.

Play­ing their first match in the top flight in five years, the Dragons de­fended stoutly through­out and caused their much vaunted op­po­si­tion a num­ber of prob­lems on the counter at­tack.

The Dragons were put un­der early pres­sure and needed a num­ber of fine saves from keeper Gary Fitzger­ald to keep the score at 0-0. As the half wore on, the Dragons grew in con­fi­dence and man­aged to fash­ion one or two chances on the counter with Matty Smith in par­tic­u­lar caus­ing prob­lems down the right flank.

It wasn’t un­til the 41st minute when the Dragons re­sis­tance was fi­nally bro­ken when the Edge Hill striker man­aged to get be­hind the Dou­glas de­fence, round the keeper and slot the ball home.

It was a harsh blow for the Dragons who would have taken great con­fi­dence in go­ing into the break on level terms.

The sec­ond half fol­lowed a sim­i­lar pat­tern as the first with the Dragons de­fend­ing doggedly while at­tempt­ing to catch the Tigers on the break. How­ever, as the match con­tin­ued the Dragons be­gan to tire markedly and were forced to de­fend wave af­ter wave of at­tack.

With Edge Hill bring­ing on two quick wingers as sub­sti­tutes, and with the Dragons hav­ing none of their own to bring on, the dif­fer­ence in fit­ness fi­nally told with Edge Hill scor­ing two goals in the final 10 min­utes, the last com­ing with vir­tu­ally the last kick of the game.

In the end, the final score was prob­a­bly a fair re­flec­tion on the bal­ance of play but still was a lit­tle harsh on the Dragons given their ex­cel­lent de­fen­sive per­for­mance.

The Dragons skip­per Nick Tither was at the heart of the rear-guard ac­tion and was un­der­stand­ably proud of the per­for­mance “given the cir­cum­stances to come here against the reign­ing pre­miers, play to­gether for the first time, at this level, and show we are ca­pa­ble of com­pet­ing is very pleas­ing - we now know what is ex­pected of our­selves, and with match fit­ness will hope­fully be suc­cess­ful this sea­son in the premier league”.

The Paddy’s bar Man of the Match was Gary Fitzger­ald who was in ex­cel­lent form be­tween the sticks.

“Gaz made a cou­ple of out­stand­ing saves and kept us in the game for long pe­ri­ods,” Dragons coach Lo­gan Marsh said.

“The boys in mid­field did an ex­cel­lent job clos­ing down the Edge Hill mid­field and Matty Smith and John Raf­faele caused enough prob­lems to show we will trou­ble op­po­si­tion teams this sea­son”.

Next up for the Verri In­dus­tries Dragons is their first home-game of the sea­son against Ma­reeba at Cas­sowary Park on Satur­day at 7pm.

“We will get a good week’s train­ing un­der our belts and go out with plenty of con­fi­dence af­ter that per­for­mance”, Marsh said.

“And hope­fully we will con­tinue to pick up a few play­ers along in the next few weeks to fill out the squad.”

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