Dragons fail to fire in the big one
THE Nathan Verri Douglas United Dragons failed to retain their Far North Queensland Premier League Title, going down to minor premiers Marlin Coast at Endeavour Park on Saturday night. It was a bitter pill for the Dragons who looked to play more of the football in the contest but were caught out by Marlin Coast’s direct approach. The match would have been the perfect way to cap off another fantastic season for the Dragons but it was not to be but the Club will look back at what was a successful season none the less, making the grand final for the second successive year and winning the inaugural FNQ Cup.
The match started at a frantic tempo with Marlin Coast racing out of the blocks quickly and instantly putting the Dragons under pressure. It was not until about eight minutes in that the Dragons began to get a foothold in the match and began to threaten the Coast goal. Luke Finnie was very impressive in the opening half an hour, biting into challenges and using the ball intelligently while Perry McIlroy also started very well. As the half wore on the Dragons looked more and more comfortable and were asking most of the questions but just as half time approached one long kick was allowed to bounce and Marlin Coast’s Chris O’Hare showed excellent composure to steer the ball past Christian Mackintosh in the Dragons goal and give them a one-nil half-time lead.
The second half saw the Dragons press, looking for the goal that would get them back into the contest but found Marlin Coast in a resolute mood. In fact the Dragons were limited to half chances at best and the more they pressed the more dangerous Marlin Coast looked. Mackintosh was forced into a couple of fine saves to keep the Dragons in the match. However when his short kick out put Ollie Moffat under pressure and when he lost the ball, three quick passes and a cross saw the ball turned in by Patrick Ram to give Marlin Coast the vital second goal.
Try as the might the Dragons could not find a way back into the contest. The introduction of Matty Smith and top goal scorer Jamie Gosling with twenty minutes to go looked to provide fresh impetus but Gosling was understandably rusty after six weeks out and was not able to influence the contest as he would have liked. With time ticking away the Dragons switched to three at back in a last push but could not breach the outstanding defence of Marlin Coast with the final score remaining 2-0.
The Court House Hotel Man of the Match went to Luke Finnie who was outstanding in midfield, snapping into challenges and using the ball in a thoughtful and creative manner. The club and first team squad members would like to thank the wonderful Dragons supporters for travelling down to support the lads.
HEADS UP: Daniel Bateman