Month: October 2013

U14As pay the penalty with League Cup exit

Kensington Dragons U14A 2 vs 6 TFA Totteridge

It was a case of misplaced shots and mistimed tackles as we crashed out of the cup with a disappointing display, the game itself overall was fairly even as the Dragons were wasteful  in front of goal in the first half with three golden chances not being taken. We were made to pay for these misses as we conceded the first of three penalties as the TFA striker cut into the box our centre half tripped him and the spot kick was calmly converted, not long after we gave the ball away outside our box and their forward latched on to the ball, drove into the penalty area rounded our keeper who’s attempted challenge caught the striker and another spot kick was awarded.

The second half saw the Dragons concede two early goals,  one an excellent passing move and finish which we could not do anything about. The Dragons responded and gave themselves a glint of hope as we pulled a goal back at 4-1 and then did put TFA under a bit of pressure at this point but we were unable to get a second as our players were guilty of making wrong decisions in front of goal and we got hit on the counterattack to go 5-1 down.  We did pull another goal back but conceded another late goal. We couldn’t even blame the ref as it was our DofF standing in at short notice and correctly gave all 3 penalties.

U14B dig deep to earn League Cup win

The U14B’s beat  Willesden Constantine 2-0 at St Marks in a gritty League Cup win. With only 11 strong the Dragons slowly wore down Constantine by staying positive and keeping shape.  The stand in goalie had a clean sheet as he played  tall and rejected surge after surge.  The first 40 minutes saw both teams creating chance after chance as the slippery pitch created surprises for both sides but all to no avail and it remained 0-0 at full time. It was on to extra time despite a reluctant referee who was desperate to earn money elsewhere. The Willesden Coach unhappily refereed the first half before losing his composure to shout at all and sundry whilst the Dragons kept focused to score. It was then the turn of the rather more calm Dragons coach to take over the referreeing. Good manners prevailed as yet again the Dragons went on to score.  Willesden came back with a furious barrage but the Dragons defence slid, nicked, and fought through assault after assault to keep Willesden from scoring. Well done in the most difficult of circumstances.

Improving U16s push Hayes to the limit

The U16’s lost 2-4 away to Hayes and Yeading in the League Cup. This was a much better performance from the Dragons against the top of the Premiership side. Yeading pulled 2 goals ahead before the resilient Dragons drew level. Disaster then struck as Yeading were awarded a penalty in the most dubious of circumstances. The Dragons were finally undone when the howling gale swept ball and Yeading the length of the pitch to score against the run of play. This game was probably the tipping point for the Dragons – they will get much better from here on in.

U12s pull together and blast through to the next round

Acton & Ealing Whistlers B 3 v 7 Kensington Dragons U12s. League Cup

Our mission this weekend was to overcome Acton & Ealing Whistlers B, a team on top of their league and in a whole division above us, with a patched-up Dragons team ravaged by half term absentees. Like the famous scene in the Tom Hanks movie, Apollo 13, we had no choice but to make do with the limited resources at our disposal to get us home safely. Strikers had to be reinvented as goalkeepers, wingers had to be re-imagined as defenders and fringe players had step up and become target men. Every player had to play their part if we were to make the short journey back down the A40 with pride intact.

Yet despite the enforced team selection issues the Dragons got off to a flyer. Felix, playing in a deeper midfield role, picked up the ball and put the Dragons ahead with a superbly executed, right foot finish. And it wasn’t long before he’d made it 2 nil with an equally well-taken strike. The Whistlers responded with a ‘hit and hope’ shot that held up in the gusting wind and made it 1-2. But a great debut goal from Jamal made it 1-3 at the break. The Dragons were putting into practice what they had learned in their previous day’s training session: Shielding the ball and imposing themselves physically on the game. This added steel meant they were winning the midfield battles and were not allowing themselves to be bullied in key areas. They were breaking in numbers from deep and not merely relying on the solo break-away goal.

The second half started with a nasty injury to Sidney, the Dragons’ stand-in right back. A bloody nose meant he left the field of play and we had to re-organize at the back again. The Whistlers took advantage and won a free-kick on the edge of the area. With the strong wind now behind them, they hoofed it into net. 2-3, the game was now in the balance. But if today had begun as an exercise in damage limitation no one had read the script to these young Dragons. Sidney, now back on the field in his more usual right wing position collected the ball and unleashed a rocket from the right-hand corner of the box. Minutes later he found himself in an almost identical position and curled in his second. And it wasn’t long before he completed his right-footed hat trick, this time slotting home low past the advancing keeper.

Enrique made an excellent save before the Whistlers scored another wind-assisted free kick.  As the clock ticked down Felix had the chance to register a hat trick of his own but his shot was blocked and the rebound was calmly stroked into the net by Aziz to make it 3-7.

So just like Jim Lovell’s ill-fated lunar mission made it back to earth, the Dragons made it safely through to the next round of the Cup. And as Commander Lovell famously said “You never know what events are going to transpire to get you home.” I guess that’s the magic of the Cup.

KDFC U15 Eagles

U15B extend cup run

Heathrow Club 0 v 6 Kensington Dragons U15B

Those of you who follow the mighty Eagles will recall last season’s one regret: amid all the triumph in the league there lingered a sense of early let down in the cups. And that’s another thing we’re putting right this term. Yes, this had none of the drama of last week’s 5-4 last gasp victory; and yes, this was against a team we’d bossed home and away last season. But far from home, and battered by winds that care nothing for the finer arts of pass and move, we kept our heads and watched our feet and got the job well done. A fine hat-trick from our tireless mid-field maestro was just another just reward. So, trudging home from an Autumnal Hayes, we could certainly agree: the season’s changing. For us it is getting very interesting.

Firsts suffer shoot-out heartache

Kensington Dragons 0 v 0 Interwood 0 (Away win on pens AET 2-4). Premier Division Cup

Any hint of a storm on its way would have been clearly present with the wet and blustery conditions in West London. Dragons prepared for the visit of a team intent on setting the record straight after we had inflicting their first defeat of the season. Dragons concerns lay elsewhere and that was in making good use of the chance to give squad members more minutes to enhance the strength of the squad for the league campaign. It looked as if such members would get off to a great start as all three were involved in a move that resulted in Mariner somehow not connecting properly from six yards. It was probably the clearest opportunity for either side in the opening half where strong midfield and compact defence had both teams cancelling one another out.

The trend did not change to any with good build up play at either end being let down by a telling final ball. While it is easy to heap praise on the attacking side of the game, there should be as much recognition given to the defensive side of the game and both teams where showing why they will have a big say in where the title goes this year. Still both teams searched for the winner and with all substitutions made before the 90 minutes were up it would be Dragons that finished stronger with Mariner making space for a measured shot that just missed the target. So without the deadlock broken extra-time followed and Dragons continued to win on points sustaining longer spells of possession and when they did get through a player on the line or an instinctive save from the keeper would not allow this match to avoid a penalty shoot-out.

It was Dragons who started the kicks and we quickly got to two a piece but Dragons then went on to miss their next two and with that bowed out of the second cup with one remaining, and more importantly a league game to concentrate on next Saturday to remain at the summit against the highest scoring team in the division.

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.

Solid showing for the U12s

Kensington Dragons U12 0  V  3 Parkview Rangers. Middlesex County Cup

A depleted Dragons team missing their top scorer and regular goalkeeper took on a Parkview side sitting at the top of their league and brimming with confidence. There were doubts whether the game would actually take place after an early morning deluge but the sun came out bang on time for the noon kick off, making ideal conditions for the cup tie.

The early exchanges were high-energy with most of the action taking place in the Dragons half. It wasn’t long before the visitors took advantage of their superior possession and broke through to take the lead. The Dragons battled hard after going behind and went into the break just the one goal down. They were definitely holding their own against the team from the higher division. In the second half the Dragons’ midfield showed flashes of composure and class as they tried to impose themselves on the game and work the ball to Felix, up front. But the final pass just couldn’t find it’s way through and the lone striker found himself feeding on scraps for most of the match. Enrique, more used to bearing down on goal than standing in one, put in an accomplished performance to deny Parkview a handful of times. And it was the Dragons’ defence, normally so rock solid, who weren’t quite on song this week. They switched off for a well delivered corner and got pulled out of position from a throw in and were punished both times. With a three nil lead you would have thought that the team from Tottenham would have been happy with their performance but unfortunately it just revealed their nastier side. They resorted to some totally unnecessary rough stuff and inappropriate banter which the referee chose to ignore. Did he actually have a whistle? He didn’t seem use it much if he did.

The home team did have a chance to register a goal in an attack that ended up in a spell of goalmouth pinball but Parkview somehow managed to keep the ball out of the net.

So a three nil home defeat and no fairytale cup run for the under 12s this year. But there were plenty of positives to take out of this match. The boys played with real purpose and endeavour and they should be proud that they held their own against a team who went the whole of last season undefeated. Well done Dragons.

KDFC U15 Eagles

Eagles claw back to victory

Kensington Dragons Youth U15B 5 V 4 LNER Youth

The score tells only half the story. Yes, the match was tight and fought to the last kick of the game by both sides. But it was not just a single contest these mighty Dragons won on Sunday. It was a landmark victory snatched countless times from the jaws of a beckoning dignified defeat. 2-0 down and we pulled a goal back only for their lead to stretch to 3-1. Again we battled to even the score but went behind 4-3 before we took those stunning strides to take the game.

We often talk now about the spirit of this skilful team. But here was another level ­ achieved, no less, over a confident division one side. One more round of the cup. One giant leap for the team.

U14A lose out in County Cup

Kensington Dragons U14A 0 V 3 Greenford Celtic. Middlesex County Cup Round 1

The team gave a very credible performance against a team three divisions higher than us and for most of the match we were their equals especially in the first half which started with the team looking a bit rusty after our game last week being called off, but after this nervy first five minutes we settled and played some good football without really threatening the Celtic goal.  We did have the best chance of the half following a good move and the ball fell to our midfielder inside the area but his shot went past the post. The defence was playing well and limited Celtic to long range efforts.

The second half began badly as straight from the re-start our centre half got caught in possession and Celtic broke into our box and their striker scored. A second followed midway through the second half as their winger cut into the area and his shot rattled against the post but the rebound fell nicely to their midfielder who converted. A change in formation to 3-4-3 and a raft of subs, saw the Dragons look more dangerous but unable to capitalise on the few chances we created. A third goal was conceded as we pressed to get back into the game and got caught on counter attack.