Dragons on a roll
IN FRONT of their home fans at Cassowary Park the Nathan Verri Dragons firmly put the Leichardt Lions in their place in a rematch between last season’s grand finalists.
After a long pre-season and having trained and played on the second pitch, this was the first opportunity for the side to play on the number one pitch and its new surface and it didn’t take long for the Dragons to exert their dominance. Jamie Gosling managed to find some space out wide, and after toying with his defender found Daniel Bateman whose left foot volley in a crowded box gave the keep little chance.
Gosling having set up the first goal was again at hand to tuck his third penalty away of the season after a Leichardt defender was judged to have handled the ball in the penalty area from a Dragons cross.
At 2-0 up it was time for the Dragons to put the match to bed, but like the week before they lacked the composure to put Leichardt under real pressure, and it was Leichardt that responded first. A needless foul just outside the area resulted in a free kick that the same fouled midfielder stepped up and placed his shot under the wall that seemed to jump, leaving the Dragons keeper Christian McIntosh little chance.
At halftime the Dragons spoke of showing that ruthlessness and quality and ensuring the result was comprehensive and the Dragons didn’t disappoint. After a lovely piece of football in and around the halfway line Bateman found himself too much time and space bearing down on goal, and from 30 yards out picked his spot and sent the ball into the top right hand corner.
The Dragons’ fourth goal was Bateman’s third, Matty Smith played Gosling in with a short corner, and wriggling free of the defender Smith had too much time to pick out Bateman whose cheeky little header nestled into the far post to complete his perfect hattrick - a goal with his left foot, right foot and head - to earn the Court House man of the match.
There was more to come for both sides at Cassowary Park, when a deep free-kick found captain Nick Tither at the far post whose cushioned header back across goal led to a goal mouth scramble. Gosling was first to react and prod the ball home, scoring his second, and the Dragons’ fifth.
Coach James Turner was happy with the result.
ON A ROLL: Daniel Bateman chalked up a hattrick for the Dragons fupicbyNEIL WEAVERS