Dragons destroy top team
THE Douglas United Dragons sent shockwaves through the Premier League with an emphatic 3-0 victory over the previously unbeaten Marlin Coast Rangers.
A solid rearguard performance coupled with a clinical display in front of goal set up the win for the Dragons, who had to defend for long periods.
It was a result that has been three weeks in the making after surrendering a three-goal cushion two weeks ago against Stratford and then being robbed of three points last week against Leichardt due to poor refereeing.
Marlin Coast stormed out of the blocks and dominated possession early as Douglas struggled to get a touch on the ball.
But the Dragons grew into the match and Ciaran Lemon had the ball in the back of the net from a Jack Miller through ball only to be ruled offside.
Matty Smith was looking dangerous and played in down the left, went past his defender having his shirt pulled and when that was not enough he was scythed down, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot. Lemon stepped up and made no mistake.
Either side of the goal the Dragons could have been behind though with keeper Gary Fitzgerald making two fine saves.
The second-half saw Douglas start brightly with a well organised defence.
Matt Hill came on at right midfield for the impressive Jack Miller and immediately began asking questions of the Marlin Coast defence.
It was after more good play from the hardworking Smith that Hill shot towards goal to provide the Dragons’ second. It is debatable whether or not the ball was going in already but the Marlin Coast keeper got the last touch to send the ball into the back of the net.
Soon after, Marlin Coast was reduced to 10 men when Hill played through Nick Houghton who, for the second week in a row, drew a foul and saw an opposition player sent off. Lemon flashed the resulting free kick just wide.
The Dragons kept defending doggedly while causing problems of their own when they went forward.
Again it was Smith surging into the box down the left having been released by Nick Tither, who created the Dragons’ third.
The referee had the whistle to his lips to award a penalty but Smith bravely stayed on his feet to cut the ball back to Ian Marsh who made no mistake from four metres out to put the game beyond doubt.
The Paddy’s Bar Man-ofthe-Match was shared between Matty Smith whose work rate was phenomenal and who had a hand in all three goals and Logan Marsh who helped ensure the Dragons kept their first clean sheet of the year by dominating in the air and organising the defence.
Next up for the Dragons is another “home” fixture at JCU against Innisfail with the Dragons looking to exact revenge for their 4-2 loss in the first round.