Dragons show fight in Premier League
United pushes reigning champions
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.”