Dragons with late winner
THE Verri Industries’ Douglas United Dragons struck late to record a 2-1 victory over Innisfail on Saturday night to extend their unbeaten run to five matches.
The result still leaves the Dragons in sixth place on the ladder but with the ladder becoming more congested it means that if the Dragons can continue their extended run it will see them move into the coveted play-off positions.
It was a match played in tough conditions and on a pitch that made attractive football difficult.
Playing with a strong wind in the first half, Innisfail looked to get in behind the Dragons using the pace of their strikers but Gary Fitzgerald was able to play as a sweeper cleaning up the majority of the Innisfail attacks.
The Dragons were guilty of giving away possession far too easily, putting themselves under unnecessary pressure with a number of poor passes.
The Dragons created a number of half chances without really threatening, the majority of these coming down the lefthand side through good link up work between Matt Hodkin and Matty Smith.
Innisfail took the lead on 25 minutes when awarded a free kick on the Dragons’ right. A dangerous ball was swung into the far post and an Innisfail player was allowed a free header which was converted.
The Dragons had been getting on top at this stage, so it was doubly frustrating but thankfully there was a positive response which had the Dragons level the score soon after.
Matt Hill was a threat throughout with his long throws and it was from one of these that Ciaran Lemon snuck in his ninth goal of the campaign to draw Douglas level on 32 minutes. The Dragons received a piece of good fortune when the referee awarded Innisfail a penalty only for the linesman to correctly point out the Innisfail player had stepped on the ball. The referee changed his decision keeping the scores locked at 1-1 at the interval.
The second half was a cagey affair with both teams having periods where they seemed to be getting on top only for the momentum to be wrestled away again. The Dragons probably had the better of the possession and looked threatening from corners and Matt Hill’s long throws, while Innisfail looked dangerous on the counter attack.
With time ticking away, Innisfail looked to be getting on top pushing for the winning goal and came close on a couple of occasions. The closest of these was when they struck the post.
Douglas collected the rebound and went straight down the other end with Dominic Varfis and Matt Hill combining to create space for Nick Houghton who made no mistake from just inside the 18-yard box to give the Dragons an 88th-minute lead.
The Dragons held on through four or five minutes of stoppage time to record a huge victory.
The Paddy’s Bar Man-of-theMatch went to Nick Houghton who scored the winning goal but was just as effective breaking up the opposition attacks and getting under their skins with some tough, aggressive tackling. Next up for the Dragons is a home match at Cassowary Park against the table topping Edge Hill. The Dragons will be hoping for a huge crowd to cheer them on and keep their unbeaten run going.