U14s kick off 2016 with fighting spirit


Goalscorers: George 2.

The first game of 2016 saw the under 14s travelling to table-toppers Hanwell Town. After a few false starts with matches being called off at the last minute the Dragons were itching to play. However we were forced to make the trip west along the A40 with a number of key players missing, leaving a worrying hole in our midfield.

The pitch was in surprisingly good condition considering the deluge of recent weeks. A fresh mist of fine rain was blowing across the park as the game got underway leaving the visiting coaches and subs glaring jealously at the home team’s gazebo-type pitch-side shelter.

Hanwell started strongly, peppering the Dragons’ goal in the opening exchanges but Jordan was on top form and pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the visitors in the match. One in particular is worthy of a special mention, when moving to his left he corrected himself and tipped the ball around the opposite upright.

The Dragons were looking rusty after 7 weeks without a game. It was in defence rather than midfield where our frailties were being exposed, as the back four struggled to cope with Hanwell’s pacey strikers. After 18 minutes the team in black and white stripes found a way past Jordan and got themselves on the score sheet, which was no more than they deserved.

A few changes in personnel were made to the Dragons’ defence as they looked to nullify the Hanwell attacks, especially down the right-hand side. The shuffling of the pack seemed to work for a while but when a long ball over the top wasn’t cleared Hanwell’s number 7 clipped it over Jordan to make it 2 nil, just 4 minutes before half time.

In the second half the Dragons played a lot better. Joe made a big difference when he switched to centre back to provide solidity that was lacking in the first 35 minutes. There were promising debuts for Ayoub and Youness as the Dragons looked to find a formula to get them back into the game. Raaid looked dangerous when he was moved inside from the flank and he provided the creative spark in the form of a through ball to Rex who had only just come on. He unselfishly passed the ball to George who buried it past the despairing keeper to make it 2-1, with 10 minutes of the match remaining.

With the seconds ticking away in time added on Jack was pulled back on the edge of the penalty area and the Dragons were awarded a free kick. George stepped up and dispatched it over the wall and into the back of the net to draw the Dragons level and seal a fantastic fight back. As the final whistle blew it felt more like a win than a draw.

The whole team fought to get something out of this game but Kass deserves a special mention as he played in almost every position on the pitch, centre mid, centre back and right back and excelled in them all. It was also great to see Sidney back in the team, he always looks a threat going forward.

We now have back-to-back home games to try and add to our points tally and move up the table.  If we can replicate this second half performance I’m sure the points will come.