Dragons ten minute melt­down costs dearly

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

THE Verri In­dus­tries Dou­glas United Dragons have squan­dered the chance to climb up the Far North Queens­land Premier League lad­der when let­ting a 3-goal lead slip against Strat­ford on Sun­day night. It was def­i­nitely a case of two points lost rather than a point gained as the Dragons con­ceded three goals in the fi­nal six min­utes to draw 4-4. The at­mos­phere af­ter the game was one of de­feat which summed up the feel­ings af­ter the gut-wrench­ing end to the match.

All the early signs were that it would be a com­fort­able night for the Dragons with Ciaran Lemon opening the scor­ing in the first minute, get­ting his head on the end of Ian Marsh’s cor­ner kick. From there the Dragons dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion cre­at­ing a num­ber of chances with Matty Smith in par­tic­u­lar en­joy­ing plenty of time and space against his former club. The weight of pos­ses­sion even­tu­ally told when Nick Tither’s ball from deep found Lemon again who volleyed spec­tac­u­larly past the help­less Strat­ford keeper to make it 2-0.

The sec­ond half saw the Dragons out of the blocks quickly again with Nick Houghton latch­ing onto Lemon’s through ball to lob the ad­vanc­ing keep­ing and mark his de­but with a goal af­ter just ninety sec­onds. At 3-0 the Dragons re­laxed a lit­tle and al­lowed Strat­ford to be­gin to as­sert them­selves on the match for the first time. Still the man­ner in which the Dragons con­ceded the first goal was in­ex­cus­able. A long punt from the op­po­si­tion goal keeper was al­lowed to bounce and when the ball broke to a Strat­ford player he made no mis­take, slot­ting the ball past Gary Fitzger­ald in the Dragons goal.

This kicked the Dragons back into life and they be­gan to pass the ball around again, once more caus­ing the op­po­si­tion prob­lems. Twice they came close to re-es­tab­lish­ing their three goal ad­van­tage be­fore Nick Houghton was fouled in the area. Ciaran Lemon stepped up to slam the re­sult­ing penalty into the roof of the net to com­plete his hat-trick and re­store the three goal cush­ion.

In­ex­pli­ca­bly though the panic set in again for the Dragons with a num­ber of pass­ing go­ing astray and pos­ses­sion be­ing squan­dered too eas­ily. When a fine ball from out wide on the Strat­ford left ex­posed the Dragons cov­er­ing de­fence to make it 4-2 the alarm bells were start­ing to ring. The Dragons should still have been able to see out the re­sult but still the ball was given away cheaply and still Strat­ford pressed for­ward. It be­came 4-3 in the 86th minute when Fitzger­ald was un­able to keep hold of a fierce shot with the re­bound be­ing poked home and as they surged for­ward in search of the equaliser the Dragons self de­struc­tion con­tin­ued with a silly foul in the box and re­sult­ing penalty mak­ing it 4-4.

While there were plenty of pos­i­tives from an at­tack­ing stand­point the in­abil­ity of the Dragons to re­main tight at the back is a very worrying sign. Next up for the Dragons is Le­ichardt next Sun­day night in a match which takes on even greater im­por­tance.

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