Dragons de­stroy top team

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

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.

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