2021/2022 Mid-Season Recap
Following a COVID hit winter break last year, the Dragoons kickstarted their 2021/2022 season with a victory over Pychowianka. Prior to that game, I asked Expat’s head coach Ash Asani what his aim for the rest of the season is. Asani replied bluntly “to win every game”.
Fast forward to the 2021/2022 season and the Dragoons have done just that so far! The Expats head into the second half of the season with an impressive 12 victories in 12 matches.
Below is a blow-by-blow account of each month and just how the Dragoons have completed the task of winning all their games.
Excitement reigned as the club kicked-off the season in the Puchar Polski (Polish Cup). A 4-2 victory over A Klasa side Iskra Krzęcin saw the Expats progress to the 2nd round. The Dragoons cup run ended abruptly after a penalty shoot-out defeat against another A Klasa side in Tramwaj.
The league campaign started a week later than the rest of the opposition due to Grom resigning from the competition. The Dragoons faced off at home against KS Bronowicki in their first fixture. An early goal for the visitors stunned the Expats, however three strikes from Yuri Samyonov, Flavio Nkola and Simon Calabrese saw the Dragoons go into the lead at half time. The second half saw three more goals added. Samyonov grabbed his second and Adrian Paliś came off the bench to score twice to give the side a 6-1 win.
Opatkowianka faced off against the Dragoons in their second league fixture. The Expats brushed aside their opponents in style with Michał Nowak, Nkola and Enrico Forabosco providing a three-goal buffer at half time. Forabosco notched a second goal with a beautiful free-kick before Joaquín Serrano expertly scored his first goal for the club. Yuri Samyonov came off the bench to tap-in a fifth, however the match ended on a sour note. Flavio Nkola saw red for a second bookable offence and a late consolation goal denied Gabi Muñoz a clean sheet.
A home fixture followed against Victoria, a side who have caused problems in the past for the Expats. Emre Bezirkan opened his Dragoons goal account to put his side into an early lead. A red card for Victoria talisman Krzysztof Wojciechowski looked to end the visitors goalscoring threat after just 20 minutes. However, Victoria did manage to level the score from the penalty spot to go into half time even. The Dragoons made their numerical advantage count in the second half! Bezirkan fired the Expats ahead straight after half-time and a quickfire brace from Rob Smits made the game comfortable. Yuri Samyonov wrapped up the scoring late on, to secure his fourth goal and a second successive 5-1 victory.
Red Card Galore
Next up came an ill-tempered affair against Pychowianka. The hosts took the lead on the stroke of half-time, leaving the Dragoons with it all to do, however, an own goal in the 52nd minute gave the Expats a way back into the match. A well-crafted move from the Dragoons saw Nkola head a cross into the path of Paliś. The Polish striker calmly slotted the ball beyond the keeper to give the Expats the lead. A flurry of late red cards soured the encounter, with Gonçalo Rodrigues receiving his marching orders, along with two Pychowianka players and manager.
A second successive away fixture at Kolejarz-Prokocim II saw the Dragoons once again come away with the points. Two quick goals from Samyonov put the Expats in a commanding position at half-time. Adrian Paliś made sure of the game late on to wrap up a 3-0 win.
Following a comprehensive month of victories, the media team decided to run a Player of the Month competition. The first nominees saw a fan vote to choose between Enrico Forabosco, Yuri Samyonov, Flavio Nkola and Emre Bezirkan. We soon learned of our massive Turkish fanbase with Emre finishing head and shoulders above anyone else to become the inaugural player of the month.
Universum travelled to Nadwiślan for the sixth game of the season. Club president Alex Băcica deputised between the sticks following an injury to goalkeeper Gabi Muñoz. On the field, Mark Szczesnowicz scored a piledriver to give the Dragoons an early lead. Second half goals from Joaquín Serrano and Enrico Forabosco sealed a 3-0 victory to strengthen the Expats grip at the top of the table.
A 6-2 demolition job followed away at Tramwaj. The home side took a surprise lead early on, however a Josh Dawson header restored parity. An unstoppable shot from Enrico Forabosco on the stroke of half time saw the Expats go into the break ahead.
Forabosco stepped up to score two more goal of the season contenders, sealing the midfield magician’s hat-trick and further increasing the Dragoons’ lead. A Michał Nowak own-goal gave Tramwaj a glimmer of hope, but a late brace by Paliś ensured the points.
Toughest Test Yet
Rybitwy travelled to face the Expats at home, looking fired up and eager to end the winning run. The visitors stormed the Dragoons backline and an unforced error led to the visitors taking an early lead. A penalty kick dispatched by Adrian Paliś saw the Expats restore parity and go into the break level. The visitors retook the lead almost immediately in the second half when a deflected thunderbolt gave Gabi Muñoz little chance. Yuri Samyonov pounced to equal the score before Rob Smits reacted quickest to prod home in the 75th minute after Szczesnowicz’s cross had been tipped onto the crossbar. The goal gave the Dragoons a hard-fought 3-2 win over a determined rival.
The Dragoons winning streak continued away at Albertus. Two early goals from Paliś and Josh Dawson put the Expats in a commanding position. Albertus pulled a goal back from the spot to give the home side some self-belief. An own-goal from a Michał Nowak long-throw gave the Dragoons some breathing space early in the second half. However, disaster struck as poor defensive work saw Albertus half the deficit. The Dragoons managed to seal a 4-2 triumph in spectacular fashion in the last minute through Rohit Chandran. The Indian playmaker acrobatically launched himself at a cross into the box to volley home his first goal of the season.
The Visit of Fairant
Up next saw the Expats “frenemies” SF Fairant come to visit Nadwiślan. Fairant looked impressive with their warm-up and their immediate high press gave them the lead with only a minute on the clock. The Dragoons rallied back and great determination from Dawson saw Rob Smits fire home an equaliser. A triple change at half-time saw the Dragoons go on the rampage with two rapid-fire goals from Paliś and Nkola. Fairant pulled a goal back, however a Rob Smits pea-roller ensured a 4-2 success against another of the challenging pack.
Following the success of the previous months’ player of the month competition, it was decided to do another! October saw Enrico Forabosco, Flavio Nkola, Mark Szczesnowicz and Rob Smits nominated. On this occasion, Dutchmeester Rob Smits deservedly won the gold with his match-winning performances against Rybitwy and Fairant.
A trip to a happy hunting ground saw the Expats easily dispatch Wawel 3-0 on a bitterly cold day. The visitors made hard work of their win, with Alexey Zelenkin scoring early doors to go into half-time in the lead. Michał Nowak added a second from the penalty spot, before mid-season signing Filippo de Felice made sure of game late on.
The twelfth and final game of 2021 saw the Dragoons take on Bieżanowianka II. The youngsters put on a brave showing, but proved to be no match for the Expats. Alexey Zelenkin thumped home a corner to put the Expats into a half time lead. Yuri Samyonov doubled the lead just after half time and Cedrick Mwamba rounded up the scoring to complete a 3-0 victory.
Adrian Paliś leads the goalscoring charts with eleven goals so far this season. Yuri Samyonov sits just behind the Pole with eight goals to his name, whilst Enrico Forabosco has hit the net on six occasions too.
Flavio Nkola is the top assister so far with the Angolan pacemaker contributing seven assists in total. Forabosco has assisted five times and behind him sits Samyonov with four assists.
Discipline (or lack of it!)
Some things in life are guaranteed. In Dragoons terms, Mark Szczesnowicz being booked is definitely one of those guarantees. In his ten games thus far, the popular Aussie midfielder has been carded in seven. Behind him in the bad books is Flavio Nkola with three bookings – one of which lead to a red card. Another dead cert to hear on a matchday is the dulcet tones of Scott Halcrow grumpily screeching “Sędzia” each week to make his feelings known to the officials. The midfield general completes the top three bad boys with three yellows against his name.
Full stats for the current season can be found in our Player Charts 2021/2022 page. For a full historical overview, visit our All-Time Player Charts.
The Dragoons head into their first fixture of the restart this Saturday against bottom side Bronowicki. The Expats will hope to start the second half of the season with victory to continue the winning run.
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