MATCH REPORT: West Dragons 1-2 Goodwick United
Jordan Griffiths scored a brace of goals in the first ten minutes for an injury ravaged Goodwick United on Tuesday to help they beat West Dragons 2-1 at the Pavilion Pitch.
As the home side were undone by the pace and direct playoff their opponents for a second successive home match this season.
Griffiths first goal came from the penalty spot after he had latched onto a long clearance from former Haverfordwest County goalkeeper James Gwilt, drawing Jermone Mansbridge into a clumsy challenge inside the penalty area after three minutes; He confidently despatched his penalty into the bottom right hand corner as Ben Henton went the opposite way and doubled the lead seven minutes later.
A superbly weight chipped pass from full back Stephen Dockerty over the defence allowed Griffiths flick a header over the advancing Henton five yards outside the penalty area, before smashing a right foot shot into the unguarded net.
Striker Tony Evans got the Dragons back into the game after fellow striker Scott Crawford beat the advancing Gwilt to a looping free kick and his header fell into the path of Evans to side foot into an empty goal to reduce the deficit on 12 minutes.
Chances fell to both sides, with Griffiths having a hat trick ruled out for offside by referee Alan Boswell, who managed the game well issuing two cautions, to Kieron O’Brien for a petulant kick out off the ball [51 minutes] on Daniel Bryce and Crawford for a late challenge on Johnnie Horgan [82 minutes].
Goodwick’s Chris O’Sullivan was substituted due to a recurring muscle injury for the second consecutive game, this time midway through the first half which was pivotal as the Dragons exerted sustained pressure for the remainder of the first half on the Goodwick goal. Scoring opportunities fell to the third of their front men Jay Richards alongside a couple to Evans, one from some sweeping interplay between Bryce, Crawford and Mansbridge.
The pattern of the game continued in the second half, with Gwilt saving from Richards on a couple of occasions and Mansbridge blazing over from the edge of the box after Richards and Crawford combined to create the opening.
The visitors Player Manager Wayne O’Sullivan slotted in at centre back in the absence of Anthony Couzens, partnering Scott Delaney, the pair superb in the air and in reading the game to repel the Dragons offensive line.
Young left back Steffan Hayes played with maturity beyond his years alongside a rejuvenated Dockerty to form a sloid defence unit in front of Gwilt, which left Griffiths to run a lone furrow upfront, starved of any meaningful possession.
Despite losing 2-1 at home for the second time this season the Dragons are a side which clearly wants to play football although the length of the grass on the Pavilion pitch is restrictive to this style.
Their title aspirations are far from over at this early stage of the season, with time on their side to reverse two home defeats, albeit against fellow title aspirants.
Goodwick have set themselves up to be contenders at the top of the table with this victory and the point at Merlin’s Bridge last week, clearly demonstrating the strong ethos of camaraderie and self belief within the squad.
With players of the calibre of Rhys Dalling, Couzens, Lyr Tobin and Adam Raymond side lined through injury, in addition to Chris O’Sullivan struggling for full fitness, their season will develop as they challenge for success on four fronts.
The Dragons host champions Hakin United tomorrow, who arrive with an unblemished record whilst Goodwick travel to Lamphey, before Goodwick again lock horns with the Dragons at Phoenix Park in the first round of the Senior Cup.