KENSINGTON DRAGONS 4 V 3 PRINCESS PARK
The under 12s had had to wait a while to put their defeat last time out behind them because of a cancelled fixture and the Easter break.
Surely with their bellies full of chocolate eggs they would produce a sugar induced, hyper-energetic display against a team they beat by the narrowest of margins on the first day of the season, back in September.
The Dragons are an improved team now compared to the one that started the season and we had high hopes that this could be a chance to not only take 3 points but to make a positive impact on our goal difference column.
However the home team were missing players in key positions and were forced to make significant changes to a team that had been dominating matches in recent weeks. The coaches had also noticed that the normally high performance levels in training had dropped off recently and were concerned that we might be taking this game too lightly. And they were warned of this before kick off.
The game got under way and it was clear from the outset that Princess Park were up for a game, they made a lot of the early running while the Dragons personnel adapted to their unfamiliar positions.
Everything came through the middle from the visitors, almost as if they knew we were without the backbone of our team. That seemed to be their strategy. They were tenacious and industrious and what they lacked in tactical variation they more than made up for in gutsy endeavour.
But it was the Dragons who struck first. Joe showing strength and composure on the ball before picking out Sidney to slot past the keeper for 1 nil.
The game was now being fought out in a compressed middle third with the away team’s midfield swarming like angry bees around the ball until it was poked out of the tangle of players, for their spikey number nine to chase towards goal. One such break lead to a free kick being awarded the result of which sailed over Enrique’s head into the net. One all.
The Dragons had numerous chances to add to their tally but it seemed our strikers had left their shooting boots at home today as chance after chance zipped wide of the opposition goal, was smothered by the keeper or grazed the woodwork. It was hard to believe that this was the team sitting just one place off the bottom of the league, having lost 12 of their 17 matches. Maybe they were just really fired up against us? They made their pressure count with another goal, this time from a corner.
But the Dragons weren’t about to roll over and they worked tirelessly to wrestle hold of the midfield and get the ball out to the wide areas where there was space to be exploited.
Karim was also playing well as the only recognized centre back, covering and clearing the ball on numerous occasions.
Finally the Dragons carved open the opposition and provided an end product. Driving in from the left of the box a Dragon attack created havoc in the opposing goalmouth and Aziz restored parity at the break.
As the second half began Lorik was released in an attacking role up front. He repaid the faith shown in him with a great finish, his first goal for the Dragons. 3-2. And it wasn’t long before Joe made it 4-2 with a great solo break down the left, driving into the box and coolly finishing.
A late corner for Princess Park had the desired effect from their point of view and the visitors pulled a goal back. There was a nervy last 10 minutes but the Dragons held on for the win.
Not our best performance of the season but it was hard fought and satisfying none the less.