Dragons fail to fire in the big one

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - CLASSIFIEDS -

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.

Pic­ture: FRAN­CIS BREN­DAN

HEADS UP: Daniel Bate­man

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