Dragons in chase to snatch win from Ma­reeba

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT -

THE Verri In­dus­tries Dou­glas United Dragons bat­tled back from a goal be­hind to de­feat Ma­reeba 2-1 in a tight con­test at Borzi Park on Satur­day night.

It was far from a vin­tage Dragons’ per­for­mance but the way the team were able to grind out the re­sult is a very en­cour­ag­ing sign head­ing into the busi­ness end of the sea­son.

The match was played on a very hard and dry sur­face mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to get the ball down and play football, which played right into the hands of Ma­reeba.

The Dragons strug­gled to set­tle and it was Ma­reeba that looked more threat­en­ing in the open­ing ex­changes with­out trou­bling Gary Fitzger­ald in the Dou­glas goal.

There were few clear-cut chances throughout the en­tire match with the game be­ing played be­tween the two eigh­teen yard boxes for the most part.

Ma­reeba took the lead in the 33rd minute when a Dou­glas er­ror re­sulted in a right wing cross that was headed past a help­less Fitzger­ald.

To their credit the Dragons re­sponded in the man­ner of a team with the be­lief to go for­ward and chal­lenge for the ti­tle by draw­ing level al­most im­me­di­ately.

A great team move ended with cap­tain Nick Tither pick­ing up the ball in mid­field, spot­ting the run of Ciaran Le­mon and pick­ing him out with an ex­quis­ite ball over the top.

Le­mon, chas­ing the league’s golden boot, fin­ished with aplomb to tie the scores at 1-1. The sec­ond half mir­rored the first the Dragons press­ing for­ward in search of the win­ning goal while Ma­reeba worked hard and caused the Dragons a few anx­ious mo­ments.

The Dragons won a num­ber of cor­ners and free kicks and looked threat­en­ing.

It was from one of these set pieces that the Dragons took the lead al­though there was some con­tro­versy in­volved.

A right wing cor­ner was cleared only as far as the edge of the area where Nick Houghton was wait­ing to lash an un­stop­pable drive into the bot­tom cor­ner of the goal.

The con­tro­versy arose as the ball hit the frame of the goal square on and re­bounded back into the field of play.

The ref­eree was un­sighted and, think­ing the ball had struck the post, waved play on.

Luck­ily for the Dragons cool heads pre­vailed, the ref­eree con­sulted his lines­man, and the goal was awarded.

The Dragons were able to with­stand late pres­sure from Ma­reeba with rel­a­tive ease with Fitzger­ald only called upon to make one save.

With the 2-1 fi­nal score the Dragons fi­nally moved up one place to fifth in the league, al­beit with a game in hand.

The tight na­ture of the league means a win this week against South­side could see the Dragons as high as sec­ond on the ta­ble.

The Paddy’s Bar Man of the Match went to Jor­dan But­terss who put in a fan­tas­tic per­for­mance on his re­turn to the side.

The de­fender made the mis­take that led to the goal but bounced back to put in his finest per­for­mance in a Dragons’ shirt.

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