On Friday night the Douglas United Dragons travelled up to Atherton to play the Eagles.
Last season the Eagles were the Dragons main rivals, they met in the Grand Final which the Dragons won in extra time.
Atherton provided the usual mixture of cold temperatures, showers and a bumpy pitch. The Dragons arrived with a full squad of 16, even having to ask players to stand down for the game as player numbers are so good.
The first half started slowly with both teams trying to get used to the slippery bumpy pitch, Dragons were dominating the possession and territory but having trouble getting into danger areas. The Eagles were shut down quickly and rarely made in into the Dragons half.
The left side of the Dragons were combining well, Max Taylor and Manu Dominguez getting past the Eagles defence with some sharp passing, crosses were coming over but were being snuffed out by a packed Eagles defence.
The Dragons were starting to press down the flanks getting in behind the Eagles, Nathan Borzi doing well on the right putting in several crosses, one of which was met on the far post by Adriano Gualtieri with a first time volley which the Eagles keeper got a fingertip to and it rebound off the post.
Another cross this time from the left saw Dominguez with a header from point blank range which was well saved by the Eagles keeper.
Dragons were dominating but unable to capitalise, against the run of play the Eagles pounced on a loose ball after one off the Dragons defenders slipped, a powerful shot rebound off the Dragons post.
Half time and no score, Dragons playing well but as like last year finding it hard to score at the Eagles home ground.
The second half started much the same as the first, Dragons central defenders Gary Cunningham and Ben Syrett in control and keeping the Eagles at bay, Billy Pycroft and Dan Tiffin dominating the midfield.
In the sixtieth minute, the Dragons finally got the breakthrough they needed, a deep low cross from Gualtieri found Dan Ferrero in good position on the far post and he buried it in the Eagles goal.
This gave the Dragons a massive boost and a weight off their shoulders, they started to play with confidence. Pycroft was running rings around the hapless Eagles midfield, showing silky skills he beat several advancing defenders to get to the Eagles goal box and drilled the ball into the right side of the goal with a low shot from 25 yards out.
The Eagles were desperately trying to get into the game in front of their home crowd, they started pushing down the flanks, a dangerous free kick from wide out was palmed away by Dragons keeper Heath Melton, soon after a free kick was put over and just skimmed across the heads of Dragons defenders, again palmed around the post by Melton. Dragons weren’t going to defend their lead, they could smell blood going close with several long range shots just going over the cross bar.
Pycroft, the man with the ball on a string was again toying with the Eagles players, beating several players his low shot going through players and to the side of the keeper, his second goal giving the Dragons a 3-0 lead.
However the last 15 minutes belonged to the Eagles, they came at the Dragons, a through ball put an Eagles striker one on one with Melton who went down well to intercept the ball, but the referee then handed the Eagles a free kick on the edge of the Dragons box for no apparent infringement. The powerfully hit free kick was tipped over the bar by Melton in a great reflex save.
Shortly after a dangerous high ball was put into the Dragons goal area, Eagles strikers were about to pounce on it but Melton punched it away and then blocked the first time with his foot. The referee then blew the full time time whistle a 3-0 victory to the Dragons, their defence again showed their class, two games into the season and no goals conceded.