Mature Dragons performance maintains winning run in deepest Croydon

9.12.17
Shelton Athletic U10 – 0 TAFC U10 Dragons – 2 (Danson, White)

Up with the larks and a cross-country dash to the wide expanse of Shelton’s home ground – nicely defrosted by the pixies and their mini hairdryers – the Dragons took formation against similarly football-minded side Shelton Athletic.  A classic 7 a side match with no subs available for either team and a worried Management duo knowing several sleep overs had taken place the night before.

It was to be a game of two halves – not the end-to-end ding-dong you’d expect if you just read this line in the Guardian/Times/Telegraph. Eh? Oh sorry, Sun/Mirror/Other Rag of choice…but an extremely useful experience nonetheless.

The Dragons started well employing a high press and early signs were positive as lone stand in striker White benefited from a tuned in midfield trio of Bayon, Goodall and Danson. Goodall showed perseverance and solidity on the right side of midfield – a towering performance that bodes well for the post-Christmas break. Go George.

The breakthrough came quite early, with build up through Bayon and White, and a neat layoff to Danson who needed no prompting to open the Dragons account for the day.  On the stroke of half time White’s constant terrier like hounding of the opposition defence paid dividends as he created his own space to slot home to make it two to the Dragons without reply to take us to half time

The second half didn’t so much let Shelton back into the game as much as the Dragons eased off somewhat from their more intense first half display. A deeper set team allowed Shelton to come forward more often but the assured nature of how the Dragons dealt with it was inspiring, – none more so than the back three trio – goalkeeper Atherton’s confident handling and punching, and on-way-to bona-fide superstar centre back pairing of Firebrace and Bishop – the latter earning a well-deserved MOM award – whose second half efforts were workman like and showed again how this team is developing maturity beyond its tender years.

Not a classic performance, but touches of class were evident and if this Dragon side can win and maintain a clean sheet away from home while not playing to their best for the entire 50 minutes, we’ll gladly add it to the memory banks to draw on in future games.

Last 6 matches results: L L W W W W

Go Dragons!  Next up Kingswood Blues (Home) 16.12.17

 

Visiting dignitaries approve Dragons latest win

TAFC 10 Dragons v. Cobham Comets

3 - 0

A higher than usual ‘Grandparent quotient’ witnessed the Dragons extending their unbeaten run to three wins in a row. We should marvel at their excellent timing and of course delightful pitch-side etiquette. The stakes were high as the Dragons sought to avenge a 2-1 defeat at the Comets in the first game of the season.

A Dragons side missing talismanic attacking midfielder Bodhi White found good balance from back to front with regular centre-back pairing Herbie Bishop and Jack Firebrace underpinning an attacking midfield trio of George Goodhall, Felix Danson and Liam Holloway.

The midfield generals made their presence felt in the first half as Holloway drilled a long range shot against the bar before Danson opened the scoring after sustained pressure – and great following up - from the Dragons. Despite missing a penalty, the Dragons went for their half time oranges with good reason for optimism – one up and a solid defensive performance.

Early in the second half the Dragons prolific opportunity-engine delivered again as neat interchange play set up Seth Humphries to slot in after Max Bayon and Zach Littig had bossed the left and right-hand channels respectively for a sustained period.

Then the Dragons hit the pause button, allowing Cobham back into the game possession and opportunity-wise – obliging Dragons keeper Jacob Atherton to earn his corn and a man of the match award to boot. Three fine saves in a row including a strong handed flick onto the bar of a bullet-like shot heading **top bins** secured the accolade and kept the Dragons ahead.

The Dragons re-engaged only to find Cobhams keeper also in inspired form but Seth Humphrie’s predatory instinct was rewarded with a second goal after a weak clearance from the otherwise sterling Comets keeper was dispatched with style.

Three-nil it finished. Another assured performance from the Dragons – a clean sheet to top off a solid attacking display. Grandparents welcome every week.

** apparently this means “top corner”

Go Dragons!  Next up Cobham Comets (H) 2.12.17

Leaping salmon and ghost of Rosenthal found in deepest Surrey

Oxshott Royals Reds v. TAFC U10 Dragons

2 - 3

TAFC U10 Dragons 3:2 Oxshott Royals Reds U10

The Dragons were up and off early on a frosty morning to make the short trip into leafy Oxshott for their away game against the Royals Reds.

The game exploded into life after about 12 minutes as Oxshott pushed down the middle exploiting the Dragons early hospitality and went one-up after a low-down shot was parried but not cleared. The effect on the Dragons was immediate, however.

Great link up play from the back released Bodhi White who delivered a sublime scooped cross to the back post where Liam Holloway intelligently lifted the ball over the keeper - the first of many tackles, turns and lay-offs that won him a well-deserved Many of the Match trophy for the week.

The Dragons generosity continued, however, and a Red’s break into an eerily empty quarter of the pitch beckoned a shot into a lonely front post leaving the Dragons frustrated at 2-1 down after creating lots of chances but not quite converting at the other end.

However, the Dragons are made of stern stuff these days and their confident commitment and link-up play conspired to generate chance after chance. A piece of top-drawer athleticism took the game to parity: Max Bayon leapt like a majestic wild salmon to direct one of many forward assaults goalward with a deft flicked header to level at 2-2.

Chance after chance created but not converted by the Dragons is really the story of the second half. Dragons’ build up play into the final third is improving game by game – the sheer number of opportunities and shots on or close to the target -including a couple of near-misses of which Ronny Rosenthal himself would have been proud of – served to underline the emerging potency of this delightfully free-playing side.

The break came finally a few minutes from the end. Sustained pressure from the Dragons – yet another goal-bound attempt – but this time a MYSTERY – YES! 3-2 up – but who scored?? Did Max swim through the air again for the last touch, or did marauding centre back Jack Firebrace take the honour? Perhaps we’ll never know.

A tense final few minutes of the match saw keeper Jacob Atherton find glorious redemption with a smart save from close range before the Dragons closed ranks to clear as the ref blew time.

Another exciting ride for the travelling fans, all but exhausted by the Dragons attacking endeavours and which left a score-line highly unreflective of their sheer dominance in the final third.

Go Dragons!  Next up Cobham Comets (H) 2.12.17

 

The Dragons served up an inspiring performance – and win!

TAFC 10 Dragons v. Ashtead Colts Rovers

5 - 2

Udney Park Ground. 18.11.17

Saturdays match was no mere appetiser for what was to unfold up the road as England prepared to host Australia at Twickenham.

The Dragons served up an inspiring performance combining great teamwork, spirit and dogged persistence against a strong side from Ashtead that had only lost once this season.

Underpinned by a solid back 3 - a man of the match performance from Jack Firebrace, a similarly impressive turn from Herbie Bishop and solid handling and shot-stopping from keeper Jacob Atherton, the Dragons took confidence in their ability to turn defence into attack. And they did just that...

The Dragons went ahead through neat work and a strong finish by Liam Holloway with his first goal for the club. But with the game in its early stages Ashtead took their chance to equalise before the Dragons went ahead again thanks to a clinical finish from Felix Danson with his first goal of the season.

The second half was mostly one-way traffic. The Dragons found an extra forward gear after a lapse of concentration left the game level at 2-2. Hard pressingcharacterised by George Goodhall’s committed defensive midfield performance and neat interchange play across the breadth of the pitch regularly released Max Bayon down the left, Zach Luttig down the right and Seth Humphreys down the middle to devastating effect. Two corners met with powerful Bodhi White headerswere just reward for the Dragons’ hard work and commitment on a heavy pitch to open-up a 4-2 lead. The icing on the cake was the 5th from Bodhi completing an impressive second half hat trick following more sustained pressure from a team playing with new-found confidence.

The Dragons didn’t have it all their own way, but with no easy games at the higher level the boys now play in, the score line fairly reflected a new, gritty resistance, throughout the team combined with a more clinical approach in front of goal.

A delight to watch for the vocal “hardcore” of regular fans/parents on the side and a fine start to any weekend.

Go Dragons! Next up Oxshott Royals Red (A)