Dragons Get Much Needed Match Practice /Newsport
Wednesday March 19 2014
By Logan Marsh
The Paddy’s Bar Douglas United Dragons got plenty of valuable minutes under their belt at the weekends Mareeba Mazda Cup pre season tournament without necessarily producing the results that they would have hoped for.
An impressive win and draw on the opening day saw the Dragons in contention to make the final on the Sunday but a first up loss on Sunday put paid to those ideas.
The tournament started brightly for the Dragons with Michael Wade’s finish past last years Dragons custodian Christian Mackintosh allowing the Dragons to repeat their victory over Marlin Coast from a few weeks previous.
It was a game where the Dragons had plenty of good periods, with the returning Perry McIlroy looking particular threatening when he was on the ball.
However, they were forced to withstand a withering Marlin Coast onslaught towards the end and Ben Syrett was perhaps fortunate to keep a clean sheet given the volume of chances, however the Dragons held on.
The second match saw the Dragons matched against the FNQ FC Heat U20’s side that play in the Premier League.
Quick, fit and well drilled, it was always going to be a tough match for the Dragons and so it proved.
The Heat had the majority of the play but were unable to find the back of the net in the first half.
The second saw much of the same with the Heat dominating possession.
This dominance was rewarded when the unlucky Dom Varfis turned the ball past Syrett and into the back of the net.
The Dragons responded immediately and Wade was on hand to sneak to ball into the bottom corner and restore parity almost immediately.
Far from being deflated the Heat attacked with renewed purpose, almost forcing a second own goal out of Varfis.
Again, it was a case of the Dragons gifting the second goal rather than it being created as the Heat took the lead for the second time.
Pleasingly, the Dragons again showed a determination not to give up and for a second time were level almost immediately.
Excellent pressing from Alastair Baird, playing against a team coached by his father incidentally, saw the Dragons force a turnover high up the pitch.
The ball fell to Wade who crossed for new signing Dan Baker to announce himself in emphatic style, lashing the ball past the helpless Heat keeper and into the back of the net.
No further goals resulted and the Dragons would go into day two with every chance of progressing.
Sunday’s first game saw the Dragons take on an Edge Hill side stacked with an abundance of raw pace.
With Douglas only being able to muster the bare eleven and a few of those being pretty sore from the previous days exertions it was always going to be a tough ask.
This proved to be the case as the pace of the Edge Hill attackers caught the Dragons defence napping on two occasions to give them a relatively comfortable 2-0 win.
With hopes of making the final now dashed the Dragons were looking to end their tournament on a positive note against Mareeba reserves.
While the performance was slightly better in terms of retaining possession the lads were near enough spent and finished on the wrong end of a 2-1 score line.
Michael Wade managed to net his third goal of the tournament in the match to cap a good weekend that saw him scoop the award as the Paddy’s Bar Player of the Tournament.
While the overall results were slightly disappointing, the lack of players was always going to make it difficult to compete with squads boasting over twenty players.
Those that did make the tournament will be all the better for it when the season kicks off in just over a weeks time against Redlynch at fortress Cassowary Park.
The Reserves kick off at 3pm with the main game starting at 5pm so come on out and show your support.