On Friday night the Douglas United Dragons travelled to Innisfail to take on the Cutters. It was a “must win” game if the Dragons are to keep in the hunt for the minor Premiership, with only one point separating the top three teams in the League and the Dragons sitting in third position.
The Dragons were missing a couple of regular players but having so much depth, they were able to field a full-strength side on a slightly damp pitch after recent showers.
The game began with both teams fighting over possession. It didn’t take long for the Dragons to stamp their authority on the game. Billy Pycroft took control of the midfield and Adam Howell, the defence.
The Dragons began wave-after-wave of attack on the Cutters’ goal. Adriano Gualtieri’s thundering left foot shot from wide out was well saved by the keeper. The Cutters were looking to link up with the quick strikers but the Dragons defence snuffed out any danger. Xavi Aranda was torturing the Cutters left-back with some great runs down the right flank putting over several dangerous crosses.
The Dragons were peppering the Cutters goal, several shots just missing their mark with some good saves by the Cutters’ keeper. Finally, late in the first half Aranda again beating his man, sprinting down the right flank he then headed straight for goal, his low powerful shot across goal found the net.
Dragons 1- 0
A few minutes later the Dragons were handed a free kick 25 yards out from the Cutters’ goal. Daniel Ferrero stepped up, his well-placed dipping shot over the wall heading for the right-hand top corner, but the keeper somehow pushing it around the post.
Halftime and the Dragons were 1-0 up, playing some great football and defensively very strong.
The second half was a carbon copy of the first, with Dragons dominating the game. Every time the Cutters got the ball the Dragons wrestled it back, pushing forward and having target practice on goal. But the Cutters weren’t laying down either, being outplayed but only one goal down. They could still salvage the game. A lot of near-misses and some good saves by the Cutters’ keeper was keeping the game alive for them.
Twenty minutes to go in the game and the Cutters started pushing into the Dragons half, the vocal crowd cheering them on. A through-ball by the Cutters midfield was pounced on by the striker, a slip by the Dragons defender saw him one on one with keeper Heath Melton, the low hard shot easily dealt with and Dragons a sigh of relief.
This prompted the Dragons to lift their game, pushing forward with more venom to finish the game. In the 75th minute Ferrero was on hand at the far post of the Cutters’ goal, the cross coming over from the right flank and Ferrero buried it into the top of the net.
Dragons 2 – 0
A quality performance from the Dragons, one of their best of the year, controlling the game for 90 minutes and defensively outstanding. If it wasn’t for some great saves from the Cutters’ keeper they would have bagged a few more goals.
On Tuesday the Dragons travel to Cairns to play Souths and then Friday away to Leichhardt, two games the Dragons should win and need to win.