Category: Senior Reserve Team

Soussi injury time winner secures another 3 points

Brentham Reserves 2-v 3 Kensington Dragons Reserves

The most difficult games on the pitch always seem to be the easiest before the kick-off. Saturday’s Dragons Reserves game was one of these. Brentham haven’t won any games this season so on paper this looked like a routine 3 points! The Dragons were boosted by the inclusion of 4 first teamers who needed game time after suffering long term injuries. Unfortunately the mind-set of the Dragons was that of the opponent’s league position as opposed to the opponents themselves and as a result a very uncomfortable afternoon was in store which forced the team to work hard to get the 3 points.

Dragons started with a little bit of an experimental squad, 4 players from the first team squad and a 1-3-5-2 formation should have given the team a great balance between attacking and defending and confident, up the front as well as at the back. The team started very slowly and could not work out or counteract the opponent’s game plan. A lot of individual mistakes and impatience with the ball made the game more difficult. Dragons midfielders couldn’t win or dominate in the middle of the park which meant the strikers had been cut off from good passes. In a rare unexpected moment, the team captain, Adam Finch, made a great pass through the defence line into space where Elhabib Oumar could use his pace. He stayed calm in 1 v 1 with the goalie and beat him with a great passing-shot. That was the one good opportunity in the first half for Dragons and the team took it.

15 minutes for a half time interval is always not enough for the team to understand how they can improve their game. Dragons came back on the pitch and a few minutes later two individual mistakes in front of their own penalty box resulted in 2 goals for Brentham to put the team in trouble. The expectation of 3 points put massive pressure on the team and it started to show. . Dragons tried to up their game but it wasn’t very easy, especially with the referee who seemed at times unable to control both sets of players’ emotions. The team did however increase the tempo, and changed their formation to a 1-4-3-3 and started to gain control. When everyone was looking for more intricate team play, Elhabib took a ball almost on the half way line, passed 3 opponents and finished his individual run 2-2 with 3 minutes left.  Dragons knew that they had enough time to score again. With time almost up and with Dragons in possession, a cross field pass found Ali Soussi on the edge of the box. He controlled the ball took an extra touch and hit a fantastic volleyed shot, just in the top right corner of the goal with the home keeper stationary.  A brilliant goal to win any game certainly won this one. This was one of the most difficult games the Dragons have had this season but they showed good determination willingness to win and a never say die spirit which spoke volumes of the team. This was most definitely a case of playing to the final whistle! There is also a lot of work in front of the team but another 3 points and building that momentum is the most important thing at this stage of the season.

Reserves use home advatage to beat their bogey side

Kensington Dragons Reserves 5 v 2 Indian Gymkhana Club Reserves

Kensington Dragons Reserves faced Indian Gymkhana Club in a league game, a fixture played in the best of spirits but usually with the away side taking the points. With a full squad and 4 subs, the team felt a little bit more comfortable and looked forward to another challenge. As the game approached the coach made the team aware of what they had to do individually and collectively to bring another 3 points.  Dragons started very slowly. It looked like they couldn’t take control. The Team sat deeper than usual and tried to play very quickly when they won possession. This approach gave a positive effect. The first two attempts served warning which the Dragons opponents did not heed and on the next counter attack an opportunity for Andrew Scheck was made and he scored for 1-0. This goal opened up the game. Our opponents tried to push forward and forgot about the team balance between attacking and defending.  Dragons were sure that other chances would come and minutes later another straight pass from the middle area and great run from Josiah Johnson gave the team another goal. Dragons stayed calm and looked forward to the half-time whistle. Just before that a very harsh ref decision gave our opponents a penalty.  2-1 and 15 minutes for quick review and deep breath.

Just before the restart, Ben Ravenwood injured his groin and had to be replaced. Matt Fitch came on and with his first touch scored a brilliant goal and gave Dragons back their 2 goals advantage.  The team was now on fire. All the players tried their best and it soon resulted in another goal. Again great movement from man of the match Andrew Scheck brought goal number 4 and the Dragons were now 3 goals in front and the team was sure that nothing wrong could go wrong.  Gymkhana pushed the game forward but the stoic Dragons defended well.  The Manager took off one of the strikers and replaced him with a central defender and the decision changed the team mindset. Players knew that they had to be focused on keeping what was shaping up to be a great result. The game in truth then  became a little bit boring, but credit to the visitors who scored a 2nd goal to give them some brief  hope at 4-2 but this just made the Dragons ever more hungry for goals. It looked very difficult especially when Jon Laycock who was deployed as a CB for this game was forced of with an injury. A quick line up reorganization and the team was ready for the last 15 mins. Dragons didn’t wait too long for another opportunity as Justas Krisciunas made a long penetrating run with the ball and scored the 5th Dragons goal and most definitely the goal of the game.

Dragons won another league game and bring another, very important 3 points into the league table. The Team showed absolutely great mental abilities as well as football performance and look forward to the upcoming with optimism.

Youth section graduates make the grade for the Reserves

St Lawrence Reserves 2-5 Kensington Dragons Reserves (Jeff Nardin Cup)
It is always difficulty to play a cup game if the team have an inconsistent squad and that’s exactly what faced the Dragons Reserves in fact they took to the field with a bare 11 and 2 debutants on a pitch that resembled a cow patch. Thank fully, this was a chance to give the younger members of the squad the opportunity to make their pitch for a regular staring spot. Dragons started with good tempo and took control of the game. The team created 2 great chances but missed them both more to the conditions than player ability. This fact pushed the team to harder work as Dragons felt they were much better than their opponents and they knew they had to be patient. Good play and a corner for Dragons put St Lawrence in trouble. From the resulting corner the home side’s attempt to clear the ball was unsuccessful and the Dragons capitalised forcing a home player to score an own goal.  Dragons wanted more and created a few more great chances but could not convert them for a goal. 1-0 at half time.
In the second half the players wanted to score another goal as quickly as it was possible and with it, kill the game. A Few minutes  into the 2nd period and the Dragons were awarded a penalty. U14s coach Dean Humphrey stepped up and rammed home the spot kick. 2-0. After 55 minutes Dragons made a great counter attack and scored another goal through El-Habib Oumar. 3-0 and the Dragons were seemingly on the home straight! WRONG, the team lost their concentration and started thinking about the final whistle and this put them in big trouble. The very physical St Lawrence Striker scored 2 opportunist goals the first from the most obvious offside position which the average referee missed. Another strike on 70  brought the hosts back into the game and seemingly in the ascendency. The referee continued to make strange decisions  which seem to unsettle the young Dragons team.  However the Dragons always looked dangerous upfront and in the 80 and 85th minute their class told as they scored 2 outstanding goals one via a free kick 30 yards out which the keeper could not hold and former youth Dragons Andrew Scheck followed up to tap home and a 5 man move from the edge of their own penalty area finished with a sweet strike from 12 yards by the Dragons right midfielder Justas Krisciunas, a graduate from 2011’s U18s, to give the Dragons their 5th goal and a more respectable scoreline as they were by far the better team in atrocious conditions and on a pitch which was by far the worst they have played on for many a season. The team showed great attitude over the 90 minutes solving the few problems during the game with solidity and tactical discipline bringing a great result.

Reserves miss out in County Cup

Kensington Dragons Reserves 1 v 2 Spelthorne Sports Club Firsts

Kensington Dragons Reserves played in the 2nd round of the MCFA Junior Cup against Spelthorne Sports Club first team. Players expected a very difficult game as they remembered last season’s semi-final against the same opponents which was won by the Dragons. The coach’s game approach was easy, try to face speed and good ball rotation against physical football preferred by their opponents. Unfortunately the Dragons were not able to put their plan into the game. Dragons lost possession and were pushed very deep, just in front of their own box.  Spelthorne surprised the Dragons using very high pressing up the pitch and closing down quickly in the middle of the park. This proved to be the key to the first half as after 15th minutes of the game, a cross into the Dragons penalty area was not dealt with leading to an opponent’s goal. Unfortunately it didn’t wake up the Dragons and with playing only one striker up front it looked like a ‘mission impossible’ to come back into the game.

During the half time, the Dragons coach decided to change the game system. The team got back to the pitch with a 3-5-2 with Jon Laycock and Josiah Johnson up front, Andrew Scheck just behind them and Hassan Osman and Ben Ravenwood on the wings. Constructive directions given over the half time brought a positive effect. 3 minutes of great ball possession put Josiah one on one with a keeper however his first effort was saved by the keeper but the dragons forward stayed alert and pounced on the rebound to score; 1-1 and a new opening.  Another few minutes of good and disciplined play brought another big chance for Dragons. On 70 mins, Josiah was again one on one against the keeper. Unfortunately a great save from the Spelthorne number 1 saved their team. That was the best chance over the next 15 minutes for the Dragons as Spelthorne’s direct style of play had the Dragons locked deep in their own half, however they couldn’t take any advantage from a series of corner kicks. Finally on 81 mins, a Spelthorne corner was half cleared, the ball returned to the edge of the Dragons box and hesitant defending from 3 Dragons players resulted in a miss-hit shot trickling past the wrong footed Dragons keeper.

The Dragons then created opportunities to draw level and possibly win the game the best falling to Jon Laycock, who from a Dean Humphrey free kick headed wide from 6 yards when it seemed he was likely to score.

To sum up,  Spelthorne Sports Club fully deserved to win yesterday’s game as Dragons couldn’t distribute any balls from the middle and lost their pace too often.  It is impossible to win a cup game if a team is not able take control in the middle of the pitch.

Kensington Dragons MCFL Junior Open Cup Champions 2012-13

Reserves get back on track with Derby win

FC Fire Reserves 1- 7 Kensington Dragons Reserves

Saturday afternoon Dragons faced FC Fire Reserves in an away league game at Scrubs. The Dragons encountered a lot of trouble with getting a squad for the game with the usual last minute drop outs which meant they went into the game with just 11 players. After their first league defeat last week the players wanted to get back to a ‘winning way’. This approach could have been more difficult as they did not have a recognised goalkeeper for the game. However the great attitude of Matt Fitch helped us to resolve the problem as he offered himself to be in goal.

The attitude and the commitment of the team thereafter made this the easiest game this season for Dragons. In the coaches words ‘total one way traffic and absolute game control’. Dragons didn’t wait too long to open the score. Two great opportunist strikes from the Dragons centre forward El Habib Oumar inside 25 minutes calmed the nerves and made the team very confident. 40 minutes saw the 3rd Dragons goal, Abdullah Hussein’s free kick 40 yards out took the slightest touch off the head of Ben Ravenwood and saw the Dragons go into half time 3-0 up although the Dragons had few more chances to score.

In the second half a team showed that great ‘willing to win attitude’ and wanted to score more goals. Supporters didn’t have to wait too long as Habib scored another goal and completed his hat trick. That was not the end of the goal spree. A great run forward by full back Hassan Osman resulted in his brilliant volley flying into the net and gave the 5th score for Dragons this afternoon.

The Dragons were totally dominant and kept passing the ball despite the rough house tactic of their opponents who time and time again scythed the Dragons down with some bad challenges. However another 2 goals came via skipper Adam Finch and Ade Akeredolu.  The perfect performance for the Dragons was spoiled when the home team were assisted by the referee who failed to spot the linesman flag waving furiously as 4 home team players were offside positions (yes 4 players!) and they went on to grab a consolation goal.

That was an easy game for Dragons made so by the players attitude and performance which  was brilliant. All of them put maximum effort and took the game serious which made their coach very happy and proud of the team.

Reserves suffer first home loss in the League

Kensington Dragons Reserves 3 v 5 British Airways Reserves

The Dragons suffered their first league defeat of the season against an experienced and at times physical BA side. The game almost did not go ahead as the original referee pulled out but the DofF stepped into the breach to officiate the game. The heavy conditions seemed to suit the BA’s route one football and it was from such a move that the first goal was scored on 15 minutes.  A long ball to the BA centre forward resulted in an over zealous challenge from the Dragons centre half 30 yards out.  The resulting free kick was drilled into the top left hand corner right where the keeper should have been standing after he set his wall.

The Dragons were soon level with an early contender for goal of the season.  Andrew Scheck the Dragons centre forward controlled a ball on his chest 30 yards out, swivelled and hit an unstoppable volley beyond the despairing dive of the visitors’ goalkeeper to make it 1-1 after 20 minutes.

Instead of pushing on, the Dragons sat back and allowed BA to get into the game and their midfield was disjointed and BA began to exploit the spaces.  The Dragons conceded another free kick on 30 minutes 10 yards in from the touch line.  BA made their physical dominance tell and good movement from their players resulted in the free kick being headed in 1-2.

1-2 shortly became 1-3 when the Dragons failed to clear a corner and in the melee that ensued the BA forward poked home from 7 yards past the unsighted Dragons keeper.

Half time saw the score remain unchanged and the Dragons had a battle on their hands to preserve their unbeaten league record.

The second half saw the Dragon raise the tempo, the challenges were flying in thick and fast and the referee had his hands full keeping things in check. The controversial moment of the game came after 65 minutes, the Dragons skilled number 10 Andrea Levato was disposed by a very strong challenge (Dragons players argued it was 2 footed and dangerous), the Dragons stopped playing expecting a whistle, which never came and they shot into an unguarded net  1-4.  Players from both sides argued the validity of the goal and the DofF was put in a predicament.  Cool and calm he approached the BA skipper about the goal and the fact that the Dragons players stopped and asked for fair play to be instigated.  He and BA duly obliged and from the restart they allowed Scheck to score unopposed 2-4.

The Dragons pushed hard for another goal but could not get that opening.  On 80 minutes following a counter attack BA forced another free kick which the Dragons again defended badly and found themselves 2-5 down.  The Dragons then enjoyed their best period of the game, BA tired and became over aggressive and the Dragons forced a number of good situations which they could not capitalise on until the 95th minute when they finally scored via former youth Dragon Hassan Osman.

Whilst disappointed with the result the Dragons are still in 2nd position in the league and very much involved in the race for the title.  Although there is work to do on defending set pieces better, the result should not detract on what has been an excellent start to their campaign.

Reserves make it 5 out of 5 at LCS

Kensington Dragons Reserves 4 v 0 FF Haringey Reserves

Kensington Dragons Reserves faced Haringey on Saturday afternoon at Linford Christie Stadium. With four wins from four they took to the pitch as favorites, however their opponents seemed a strong and well organised team as well.

Again the Dragons had a small squad this week so they had to make multiple changes to their first 11 for the 5th consecutive time. Abdullah Hussein joined Will Conway in a new look central defence. This gave the chance for Matt Finch to jump into the starting line-up after a spell on the sidelines. However the 6 in midfield and up front were as last week and this was to prove decisive.

The Dragons, usually slow starters, were in sharp form from the off . After 5 minutes they were leading 2-0. Just after kick off and a few passes completed, Andrew Scheck hit a powerful drive, the Haringey Goalkeeper dropped the ball straight in front of the upcoming Alvaro Ferrer who scored the first goal. Immediately after the restart, Dragons’ central midfielders recovered possession and played in George Mariner who finished as he usually does. Over the rest of the first half the Dragons controlled the game with excellent performances from Adam Finch, Andrea Levato and Scheck. HT 2-0

At the break Coach Martin Rusiecki, at the helm for his first game, asked the players to keep possession and explore the wide areas as much as possible. Players followed his directions implicitly, knowing that chances of their own will come. Unfortunately Ferrer missed an empty net from a few yards but the rest of the team showed great character to push on and kill the game. Levato made a great run through half of the pitch, went by 3 players and pinged a cross straight on to Mariner’s head. 3-0. The game was probably clinched but the Dragons defenders played fantastically to keep a zero next to their name. They were strong, solid and very well organized. Injured Will Conway made way for Ashley Ankrah, who slotted in nicely having being left on the bench from the off, meaning the Dragons kept a clean sheet for the first time this season. Mariner scored his 3rd goal 10 minutes before the final whistle, completing an excellent hatrick and claiming the match ball to boot.

The Dragons strong start continues but they still need to add to the squad if they want to consolidate this and push for a first league championship.

Reserves progress in MCFA Junior Open Cup

Hinton 1 v 3 Kensington Dragons

After a super cup season last year, the Dragons reward was to be promoted into the more senior County Cup for 2013-14. Being drawn away to last years semi finalists Hinton seemed a difficult step up, particularly as they lost 2 squad members early on Saturday morning and then another as one had a late call up to the First Team. So the management decided to take a different approach this week and simply focus on their football and not the result, hopefully allowing the players to relax a little and enjoy their football.

From the off they looked the better team with Captain Adam Finch setting the perfect tone from the off. Some cute passing moves then often lead to a more direct long ball out wide and but for some poor crossing and movement they could have been out of sight in the opening 20 minutes. However they had to be patient and soon after got their reward. Andrea Levato, playing a little deeper than usual, floated a ball over the Hinton center back for the offside George Mariner to chase on to. He realised he was offside and with the whole home back four stopped in his tracks, the onside left winger Justas Krisciunas did no such thing and raced on to the ball in behind before composing himself and slotting past the keeper. It should have been two shortly after with the returning Mariner being gifted a ball from the keeper but chose to take a touch with the net empty and the keeper recovered to put the striker off. As the half wore on Hinton became more of a threat, veteran keeper Irwin Guy making a great save onto the bar late in the half.

The Dragons were sleeping in the opening 5 minutes of the second half and paid the penalty conceding a sloppy goal when the ball should have been cleared on two occasions. The captain suggesting a switch of Levato and the excellent Andrew Scheck and the Dragons re-took control. Mariner was now a real handful and mid second half powered down the right and saw and fed the onrushing Krisicunas in the box and the winger banged home from close range to claim his brace and Man of the Match to boot. Hinton responded again and were probably unlucky not to equalise but then enjoyed a gift as Levato was thrown to the ground in the box when about to slot home the third, the ref not giving it because he “didnt like how he’d played through the game”. The Dragons were outraged and even more determined to grab the unexpected win. The manager brought himself on with 10 minutes left as the only sub available and 5 minutes later rued the decision as center half Kieran Cox dislocated his shoulder from an overly zealous challenge in the Dragons box. Cox went off to hospital and the Dragons had to hold on with 10 men. After a third straight corner in the final 2 minutes , finally the Dragons cleared, right winger Alvaro Ferrer, excellent throughout, grabbing the ball short of the half way line on his own. He drove into the home half and then the penalty box and calmly slotted the third and deciding goal. FT 1-3 and an excellent 4 wins from the start of the season.

Reserves christen LCS in style

Kensington Dragons Reserves 3 v 1 CB Hounslow Reserves

Usain Bolt and Sergio Aguero had to contend with the long long grass midweek as they made their Puma Advert (see youtube) but Hammersmith and Fulham County Council had it cut on friday for the Dragons.

The Dragons were looking for their 3rd straight win but as is usual with reserve team football, many factors meant they had to make a further 7 changes to the team from last week, having made 8 changes the week before. In all truth it looked a tough task with a very young looking squad, thin on numbers and options, 4 players being called up and making their competitive debuts and also bringing Manager Jon Laycock out of semi retirement to lead the line, the veteran heading towards the big 40 in April.

But the opposition, although big and physical weren’t a side to be feared necessarily and the Dragons took to the pitch intent on 3 points, anyway they could. They began brightly, Captain Adam Finch setting the tone and linking well with debutant Andrea Levato playing in the hole. Numerous corners were scrambled away and after 20 minutes Laycock was put through by Finch but hesitated to let the defender recover. The Dragons then went a little quiet and physicality was looking to be winning the game as CB pressed for a solid 20 minute period. Keeper Dave Hills was on good form though and saved well on more than one occasion. However there was nothing he could do as the away team took the lead. Growing hesitancy was apparent in the Dragons defence and they failed to clear the danger on four attempts and paid the ultimate penalty as a long cross/shot found its way into the top corner. However as part of the contract for a Dragons player, you nearly always have to deal with being a goal down and they responded well with another new debutant Alvaro Ferrer easing his way into the game from wide left. His clever link with the excellent Hassan Osman created a corner. Finch’s delivery met by Laycock’s head and Levato sneaking in to poke home the equaliser right on the the half time whistle. Goals change games but excellent coaching decisions do the same and Coach Martin Rusiecki conferred with DofF Tony Smith and they reluctantly switched to a 3-5-2, having decided to generally try and play in the first team’s formation. But positive club results are also important and given the restriction of player option it was the only sensible choice.

The change in play was immediate, the team looking stronger in all areas. The game was a little more end to end and the back three still needed to be on their toes however Ashley Ankrah hobbled off and young Will Conway had to step in and did very well. Levato was now in his pomp though, his only restriction being his lack of English. He fed Laycock who hooked a ball into the box for Shegun Beckley to turn his defender and was brought down in the process. Lack of English yes, composure no, as Levato tucked the pen into the bottom corner with ease. The Dragons then withstood some pressure with young Kyle Edwards on a steep learning curve at right wing back. But they would not be denied the three points on their debut at their new home and Levato decided he needed an assist to cap his display and promptly delivered with a super cross for Laycock to head home and seal the points.

3 games, 9 points and the Dragons very happy in their new home.

Reserves win 2-1 away at Broadfields United

Broadfields United Reserves 1 v 2 Kensington Dragons Reserves

After winning a nine goal thriller last week, The Dragons were looking to consolidate with a positive result at last year’s runners up Broadfields United. They were also aware that the home team would be baying for blood after losing to the Dragons in the League Cup final 3 months ago.

The Dragons lined up in a 4-2-3-1 after the club management team decided it was in the best interests of  the players and the club to play in the same formation as the first team, predominantly to allow the players to step up and down with a better of understanding of the job required. It would mean a re-shuffle especially with 6 changes to the squad.

They began brightly and as the half progressed they began to open up the Broadfield’s defence with front 4 James Shirley, Josiah Johnson, Andrew Scheck and Shegun Beckley all heavily involved. However, unlike last week, they couldn’t find the net with Scheck and Johnson particularly a little carefree in their finishing. After 5 guilt edged chances they paid the penalty for their profligacy as Broadfields took the lead on the 35 minute mark. Ethan Meyers lost possession wandering forward and a after a neat Cruyff turn from the winger the ball was delivered to inexplicably find the smallest player on the pitch rising between 3 Dragons defenders to head home. A little deflated the Dragons limped to half time 1-0 down. The coaches were generally pleased with the performance and simply re-inforced the players tactical responsibilities and requested a more level headed approach to finishing and decision making in the box. The crucial change however was switching Scheck and Shirley, the latter playing in an unfamiliar left wing role and getting the former’s huge physical presence in the middle of the pitch.

Playing uphill and into the wind now, the Dragons made light of the challenge and with captain Adam Finch and Mark Amado holding firm in midfield and Ashley Ankrah and Ade Akeredolu mopping up superbly at center half, had the platform to go after an equalising goal. On 60 minutes the coaching team threw on Hassan Osman and although not directly involved, 3 minutes later they were in the lead. The equaliser was direct football at its best. A quick out ball from Ankrah found Johnson with a little space in midfield, he turned and slid a beautiful pass through the middle, perfectly into the onrushing Shirley’s path for him to neatly lob the keeper. The change in belief was palpable and Shirley was taking control. The midfield again fed him down the left but looked short of options as he reached the byline with 2 defenders in his path. However, with the confidence of his goal and little options he shimmied the first and drove into the box, he then dropped the shoulder again and left the second defender standing still and cooly slotted the ball square for the lively Johnson to flick home ala Olivier Giroud.

The game should have been over 3 minutes later shirley linking beautifully with left back Meyers to create another byline cutback. This one found Scheck 7 yards out and on his own, he composed himself took a touch but found the goalkeeper instead of the net. Shirley then ran on to a super over the top ball from Amado and got to the ball before the keeper who was left no choice but to bring him down. Frustratingly Finch’s penalty was well saved by the Broadfield’s number 1. The home team celebrated and all of a sudden there was a light at the end of the tunnel for them. The question now was could the Dragons adjust their play and show maturity in closing out a result when under pressure? Matt Finch replaced Meyers and Jon Laycock came on for Beckley to add a physical presence as Broadfields resorted to long balls with the referee giving 5 consecutive free kicks to United in the closing 5 or 10 minutes. But the Dragons would not be denied and held on to make it 2 wins from the first two fixtures, a first for Kensington’s second string leaving them tied at the top of the league.