Once again, Thursday training was purposeful & during the practise match versus the Blackstone United team we did many good things including lots of passing to each other & surprise, surprise, lots of running.
Coach Mat is going to personally lead a petition to the QCSA for next season to schedule the official matches on Thursday evenings, because the lads are always relaxed & not frazzled after a long week at school & play so well!
Saturdays match against the ladder-leading St Cats Reds was always going to be another tricky affair with their well-drilled compliment of players up and ready for a big clash. The warm-up was good & all Dragons were in good spirits & ready to crush the team of felines. The Iron Wall of Blackstone defensive line was further bolstered with the inclusion of CB-Ll11 & JC-P2 to ensure the slippery St Cats strikers were contained. And this was the case for most of the first half.
It was a really good competitive match with all the lads running their little legs into the ground with some sublime dribbling & passing. It didn’t result in any goals, but it sure was enjoyable to watch. The team as a whole played well & looked just as good as the Red & Black Shirts. Unfortunately the high octane pace of the match took its toll on the Dragons & The Wall finally cracked with an easy goal scored against the run of play. Nil-1.
The Dragons spent a lot of time in the St Cats half & at one stage JH15 who was the first half keeper was lounging around in the penalty area with nothing to do. Multiple corners to the Dragons did not result in a goal with the opposition counter attacking, ending with a super strike that was too high for JH15 to get to.
With the first half quickly coming to an end, nil-2 was a good representation of the match so far & Coach Mat was happy with how it was all going, not-with-standing his erratic yelling to the players – both encouragement (not much) and advice (instructional more than abuse, he hopes).
St Cats made one last charge to the goal & it looked as if their attack was shut down when Dragons got possession of the ball & were in a great position to boot it away towards the sidelines (in accordance with Coach Mat’s ranting). Uncharacteristically, a couple of the senior players had a brain snap, keep the ball in play within the penalty box, lost possession, turned the ball over & had the softest of goals scored. Sigh.
Oh well. Blackstone were still in it & all were still feeling okay. A stern word of encouragement to go with the water at half time did the trick & Blackstone were focused again.
It was a rampaging performance by the lads & so many opportunities were created. JH15 stepped up from being in the defensive line (swapped with JH10 as keeper) to weave past a couple of Red & Black Shirts & smash the ball past the opposition goalie! 1-3. The heads lifted & the deserved goal had been got. LB7 threatened to break the game open on quite a few occasions & finally after some great lead up work from the midfielders, he latched onto the ball, went for a scoot through the centre of the field & calmly slotted another goal for the Dragons. This is his fourteenth goal for the season & if anybody else doesn’t score more than 13 goals over the next two matches, LB7 will be the golden boot winner.
It was game on!
2-3 was the score & the professional St Cats coaching staff was rattled. They made a slew of changes to their line-up & revised their playing structure. Coach Mat had a big smile on his dial & really enjoyed the bit of panic that had set in. He He. With more astute coaching, the Dragons should have gone on with it, but unfortunately they were mentally & physically spent just getting to this stage of the match & took their collective foot off the accelerator pedal. St Cats realised this & raced away to slot 3 goals during the last seven minutes.
Oh well. The Dragons did so well & the effort was immense. The passing was great, the field vision is improving & our potential is being fulfilled. Next season in under 10’s, the lads will be even better & faster & will give it an even bigger crack! Right on full time, the St Cats were awarded a penalty when a Dragon player picked up the ball within the 18 yard box – after he thought it went out – to set it up as a goal kick, not knowing the ball was still in play at the time.
Oh well. All thought the referee could have let it slide, but ‘rules-is-rules Macca’! Sigh.
During the match there were a few offside calls on the Dragons which disallowed them to score a couple of goals, so they will need to go back to the drawing board regards staying on side.
Again this season, the St Cats coaching staff commented on the overall discipline & fun that the Dragons bring to the match – a great compliment. If every game was like this, no matter the result, anybody would want to be coach of the team, because it was a pleasure to watch & be part of. Every player did their job as best they could on Saturday & all deserve a pat on the back. However, as is protocol, two players were acknowledged for their efforts.
JP-C2 was rewarded for his never-say-die attitude during the match which produced some super plays along the sidelines & some desperate defence & winning the contested ball. Emrys the Dragon is guest at his home for the week.
KK8 was again the wanderer in the match & had his best game of the season. Coach Mat could not let him leave the field today without awarding him Taffy the Dragon. He made some incisive kicks & passes in the first half & generally rallied wherever possible. He was subbed-off midway through the second half because he was injured, but he still did enough to help get the team back in the game.
Two matches remain in the season, the penultimate being against the Westminster Warriors at our home ground & then out to Boonah to complete the 2016 winter football season. These are both matches the Dragons should win, but as long as they play their best like Saturday, both games will be worthy contests for the spectators to witness.
Keep on soccering!
PS. Coach Mat (and the Blackstone Cheer Posse) can’t wait for Saturday morning sleep-ins to become more of a usual weekly occurrence that are taken for granted rather than a luxury during the winter football season. He He.