Dragons progress to grand finals
Drouin Dragons Soccer Club travelled to Leongatha on Sunday for the first semi final of the Gippsland Soccer League.
With three of the Dragon’s junior teams finishing on top of the home and away season, a spot in the grand final was on the line.
Leongatha Knights Soccer Club had worked hard on the pitches over the past month and provided a great playing surface to host the semi.
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t kind, with strong winds providing a two-goal advantage to one end and rain coming down during the under 14s match. Under 16s The Drouin under 16s lost the toss and played against the wind in the first half.
With determination, they still managed to score a few goals in the first half of the game by keeping the ball low and moving the ball around.
The second half saw quite a few goals scored with the assistance from the wind.
Coach John Ercoles put Lachlan Brown up forward as he was the only player on the team to not kick a goal in 2018. The move paid off with Lachlan scoring three goals.
The under 16s won by 12 goals and move into the grand final against the winner of the second semi final, which will either be Phillip Island or Leongatha. Score: Drouin 12 – Korumburra nil. Under 12s The Drouin Dragons under 12s came up against a highly talented and well-drilled Phillip Island.
The juniors from Drouin came out firing from the start and kept the pressure up forward.
If it wasn’t for the skilled Phillip Island goalkeeper, Drouin would have been up by a few goals in the first half.
Drouin played the second half of the game with the strong wind behind their backs and took advice from the coach at half time on how to play with the wind.
The advice paid off immediately with a goal scored in the first few minutes. Score: 3–2 to Drouin. The next 20 minutes was tight with multiple scoring opportunities at both ends, then Drouin managed to score another one with five minutes to go in the game. Score: Drouin 4 - Phillip Island 2. Under 14s Even though Drouin Dragons under 14s had finished the season unbeaten, the Drouin coach had been saying all year that Mirboo North were the danger side in the competition.
Having finished fourth in a tight top half of the ladder, Mirboo North have a talented bunch of juniors that are well coached.
With a large contingent of parents, players and coaches watching the game, Drouin won the toss and played with the wind behind their backs, scoring three goals to nil in the first half.
The Mirboo North defence put plenty of pressure on the Drouin forwards, doing well to keep them to only three goals.
After half time and with Drouin playing into the wind, Mirboo North scored three goals to nil in the first 15 minutes to level the scores.
It had looked like it was going to rain all day and the rain arrived during the second half, which didn’t discourage the players or the parents on the sidelines.
The last 10 minutes of the second half saw Mirboo North peppering the goals with the wind, however the Drouin Dragons goalkeeper and the Dragons defence held strong. Final score three all. Both team’s regrouped before the start of a 10-minute time on with five minutes for each half.
To the credit of Mirboo and Drouin, both teams stepped it up a notch with a grand final spot up for grabs.
However, neither team could score after time on which meant a penalty shootout.
With only the goalkeeper and striker in the goal area, the rest of the two teams lined up on the half way line and the ever-increasing crowd watching from the sidelines, the immense pressure was on for those involved.
By this time the rain was now constant, however the spectators weren’t going anywhere and after 20 minutes of heart stopping moments, Drouin Dragons won the shootout seven goals to six.
Either team could have won on the day with the juniors giving it everything they had with quite a few exhausted players (and parents) after the game.
The Drouin Dragons under 16 girls play in the second semi final this week at Inverloch, having finished second on the ladder.
Drouin Dragons are hosting a Football Federation Victoria referee course on Tuesday night at Bellbird Park, while the senior presentation is on September 15 at the Royal Hotel in Drouin.
To celebrate the 2018 Gippsland Soccer League Season, the presentation night is on Friday September 14 with Drouin Dragons taking home three league champions trophies from finishing on top of the ladder.