A Farcical Ending
A Dragoons side depleted by injury and unavailability travelled to league leaders Bieżanowianka on a baking hot Saturday afternoon. The game saw a large crowd gather as the hosts would become champions and earn promotion to Klasa Okręgowa, regardless of the result.
Marcin Obyrtacz returned to the side, to take the place of Gabi Muñoz between the posts. Following Josh Dawson’s horrific wrist injury suffered last week, Szymon Urzędowski dropped to right back. Simon Calabrese and Kuba Drobny continued their partnership in central defence as Piotr Hajnrych started at left back.
With Emre Çolakoğlu suspended, Rohit Chandran and the returning Enrico Forabosco lined up in the middle of the park for the Expats with Błażej Święcicki coming into the side to assist Joaquin Serrano and Yuri Samyonov. One final change saw Barry Chowaniec return to action to replace the unavailable top scorer Alessio Sassini in attack.
A Quick Start
Straight from kick-off the Dragoons fashioned the first chance of what would be an incident packed game. Hajnrych received the ball at left back and passed forward to Chowaniec. The Dragoons forward heel-flicked the ball to Samyonov out wide, who cleverly clipped a pass to put Serrano in on goal. The ball bounced awkwardly in front of the Spaniard, meaning he could only lift his attempt into the grateful arms of Kamil Stochel in the home goal.
Screamer to Lead
After just two minutes of the game, Bieżanowianka took the lead in quite sublime style. With the Expats struggling to keep the ball, the home side pressed home the advantage. Full back Adam Popowicz came forward unopposed and cut inside to the middle of the field. With time and space being allowed, the Bieżanowianka man spanked a shot from a good 35 metres from goal and wheeled away as it flew past Obyrtacz and into the top corner of the net.
The Dragoons showed their resolve and immediately responded with a goal of their own to level to the game at 1-1. The Expats came forward from kick off and looked to probe the Bieżanowianka backline. A throw on the far left touch-line saw Piotr Hajnrych chuck the ball long into the box. An attempted clearance found Serrano on the edge of the box, however, his effort deflected off of a defender. Święcicki came upon the ball in the box and his attempts at taking it under his control ended with it at the feet of Serrano. The Spanish sensation drove a first time shot from 13 metres, that beat Stochel and landed into the net.
With just 8 minutes on the clock, the Dragoons charged into the lead. Piotr Hajnrych expertly won possession to break up an attack on his own box. Good link up play between Chandran and Samyonov saw the ball back at the feet of Hajnrych. The Polish full-back came forward and picked out Serrano by the half line in space. The Spanish attacker turned and clipped a delicate pass over the defence for Chowaniec to speed onto. The attacker won the foot race with the home defence and goalkeeper, who collided into each other. With a free run on goal, it turned into a would he or won’t he moment, as Barry’s touch looked like he’d run out the ball out of play. Chowaniec recovered however to walk the ball into an unguarded net for the Dragoons to lead 1-2!
It could and maybe should have been three for the Dragoons after just 13 minutes. With the home side looking to work the ball forward for a quick equaliser they left themselves open to the counter. Good pressure from Chowaniec saw the Expats regain possession with Forabosco passing to Chowaniec. The attacker instantly found Samyonov out to the left and carried on his run forward. With the Bieżanowianka line high, the Israeli instantly hit a speculative pass beyond the backline. Chowaniec showed excellent acceleration to get onto the pass and through on goal. Rather than shoot first time, the forward took a touch to take him wide and drove a tame shot that bounced off of Stochel’s leg and the home side cleared.
The Obyrtacz Show
An action packed game saw both sides struggle in possession. The Dragoons kept giving the ball away in their own half and on 17 minutes Bieżanowianka almost made them pay. Dariusz Kuźma won possession for the home side and came forward with the ball. He played an intricate pass beyond the Expats back line that Konrad Łęcki ran onto. Marcin Obyrtacz raced off his line to close the distance and did well to stop Łęcki’s first time effort with his foot.
The following corner saw Obyrtacz punch the ball away for a throw. The home side kept up the pressure with Kuźma spraying a pass to find Popowicz in the box. The full-back passed across the face of the Dragoons goal, however, Łęcki could only drive a shot into the side netting.
Bieżanowianka continued pressuring the Dragoons defence and Obyrtacz showed strong hands to deny a chance on 23 minutes. Once against the hosts found joy down their left flank with Jakub Sala finding the run of Łęcki. The forward raced beyond a challenge and cut the ball back into the box. Popowicz found himself advanced once again and laced a powerful drive at the goal. Obyrtacz stood strong however, palming the ball down into the turf and Urzędowski completed the clearance.
The home side began to lay siege the to Expats goal, but the Dragoons managed to keep their lead. A corner for the hosts saw the Dragoons fail to clear their lines at the near post. A home player managed to flick the ball towards goal, but Obyrtacz fortuitously blocked the ball and the Dragoons cleared.
Still Bieżanowianka came forward, as the Dragoons struggled to contain the relentless charge of the opposition. Only an excellent stop by Obyrtacz saved the Dragoons with 27 minutes played. Paweł Sikora spotted Łęcki in space and played a perfectly timed pass for the striker. Łęcki burst beyond a ragged Dragoons defence, but saw his shot expertly turned wide by a firm hand from Obyrtacz.
A water break brought a brief respite for the Expats midway through the half however, the home side went straight back on the offensive. From the Dragoons own throw, the visitors lost possession easily to allow Bieżanowianka to go straight on the counter offensive. A pass into Volodymyr Myshko saw the winger advance through the Expats half, but a tame shot saw Obyrtacz save comfortably.
Off The Line!
On 36 minutes, Bieżanowianka came even closer to grabbing the goal to level to the score. Neat interchanging football released Myshko into the Dragoons box on the right side. The winger attempted to cut the ball back into the box, however, Simon Calabrese inadvertently deflected it towards his own goal. On this occasion, Kuba Drobny lunged at the ball and somehow diverted the ball back into Calabrese and just wide of the upright. Quite a let off for the Expats.
With five minutes of the half left to play, Obyrtacz saved the Dragoons for the umpteenth time. Myshko latched onto the ball ahead of Hajnrych and delicately put Denis Kagize through on goal. The Bieżanowianka forward shot first time, but put his effort straight at the Dragoons keeper to save. One of the easier ones for Obyrtacz.
The half petered out with the hosts mainly in possession of the ball, but the Dragoons hanging on to preserve their lead.
It had been a good half for the Dragoons, who had weathered the storm well with Obyrtacz in inspired form. Bieżanowianka had shown the quality that had taken them to the top of the league. They had seen most of the ball, however, had lacked the end product to put the Expats to the sword. The Dragoons needed to be better in possession, but had shown great resolve to find themselves in the lead.
The hosts dominated the first five minutes of the half, but failed to create any clear cut chances. A neat through pass by Sikora almost found substitute Piotr Więckowski, however Obyrtacz came off his line fast to smother the ball.
Down the other end however, the Dragoons began to show some signs of life in attack. A throw from Hajnrych found Chowaniec in the box. The attacker nimbly thread the ball past two defenders and saw his progress ended with his heels being clipped. The official Kazimierz Dzióbek put his whistle to his mouth for an obvious spot-kick, only to give a corner.
This would not be the last of the baffling decisions as Mr Dzióbek decided to become centre stage.
From the following corner, Chowaniec missed the ball for a free header. It landed at the feet of Serrano who spanked it against an opponent and Dariusz Kuźma looked to head away. The ball came back towards Serrano who looked to take it under control, with Kuźma in close proximity. As Kuźma manoeuvred his body to get to the ball first, it appeared to inadvertently brush off his arm. The Dragoons already irate at the first non-decision appealed to Mr Dzióbek to no avail.
Serrano Sent Off
Tensions reached boiling point for the Dragoons as they gifted possession back to Bieżanowianka in the 52nd minute. Kuźma raced past Serrano to receive a pass in the middle of the pitch. Serrano attempted to keep up, crudely lashed out, swiping the back leg to floor the midfielder and end his progress. Kuźma reacted furiously at the challenge, however Mr Dzióbek denied any fisticuffs by producing a straight red for Serrano. One of those decisions where you have seen them given, but nine times out of ten it’s a yellow card. Enrico Forabosco also talked himself into the book for protesting against the decision.
With the Dragoons composure lost, Bieżanowianka took their numerical advantage and found an equaliser on 55 minutes. Marcin Obyrtacz attempted a dangerous short throw to Hajnrych. Konrad Łęcki got to the ball first and drove into the Dragoons box. Łęcki played a pass across goal and Paweł Sikora worked the space well to tap the ball into an empty net for 2-2.
A period of consolidation saw the Dragoons manfully defend their goal, but unable to keep the ball. The Expats continuously launched the ball forward and it kept coming back at them.
On one such occasion however, a poor touch in the middle gifted the ball to Samyonov just inside the Bieżanowianka half. The Israeli put a pass over the home defence for Chowaniec to run onto. The Polish attacker once again should have shot first time, but took a touch to go wide. Chowaniec attempted to cut the ball back to where Urzędowski and Chandran waited, however a good interception saw the danger pass.
Mr Dzióbek Takes The Stage
The Expats looked to be seeing more of the ball, but fell behind controversially after 62 minutes. A cross into the box missed the flying header attempt of Calabrese and landed at the feet of Łęcki at the far post. A poor attempt of a first touch saw the ball bobble up in the air, controlled by the arm of Łęcki before being turned into the net. A clear as day handball, however, somehow a well positioned Mr Dzióbek missed it!
Enrico Forabosco reacted furiously once again with his protestations at the injustice served on his side. The Mr Dzióbek show continued as he immediately pulled out a second yellow card for Forabosco. That decision saw the red card produced for the Italian and the Dragoons down to nine men. As if it was not hard enough already, Mr Dzióbek had single handily spoiled an entertaining spectacle.
Bieżanowianka smelt blood and continued to go for more goals to put an end to the contest. Więckowski headed wide from a corner on 68 minutes as the Dragoons struggled to hold on.
Just a moment, Mr Dzióbek made himself the centre of attention once again as he gave the home team a penalty. The hosts worked the ball down their right and crossed into the box. As substitute Jarosław Moroński attempted to pull the trigger, Kuba Drobny dived in to block the incoming shot. Moroński put his shot over and kicked the bottom of Drobny’s foot on the follow going down in a heap as a consequence. Mr Dzióbek immediately pointed to the spot, producing a yellow card to a dumfounded Drobny. Rob Smits appealed to his coaches to walk the Dragoons off the field in protest as the officiating had become a farce. Moroński picked himself up to take the penalty himself and put the ball just beyond the dive of Obyrtacz for 4-2.
With 77 minutes played, Bieżanowianka added a fifth. With the game all but over as a contest, a swerving corner kick landed at the feet of Adrian Paliś. The former Dragoons hitman nonchalantly stabbed the ball into an empty net to make it 5-2.
The Dragoons attempted to make a game of it with a couple forays forward. Unfortunately, Chowaniec saw a fierce drive blocked by a defender and cleared.
With five minutes left to play, Bieżanowianka completed the scoring with their sixth goal. The hosts pushed forward and a long ball exposed the Dragoons left flank. A ball came to Więckowski on the cut back, and the midfielder found time and space to pass to Kuźma on the edge of the box. The Bieżanowianka man calmly side-footed the ball beyond Obyrtacz into the corner of the net to end the scoring.
Straight after the goal, the Dragoons introduced Gabi Muñoz to play in attack for 5 minutes to complete a farce of a game.
Mr Dzióbek blew the whistle dead on 90 minutes to put the Dragoons out of their misery. The Expats players walked over to the hardy group of fans as the Bieżanowianka side celebrated a well earned promotion.
To Sum It All Up
First things first, congratulations must go to Bieżanowianka for their title victory. They had been head and shoulders the best side this season and deserved their title win. Only last season, the Dragoons tasted victory to earn the B Klasa title and gain promotion at the very same ground!
Take nothing away from Bieżanowianka, they have had a great season and are top of the league for a reason. They have incredible facilities and we wish them the best of luck in a higher league next term.
As for the game, Bieżanowianka had showed their quality in the first half but could not find a way past Obyrtacz. It is just a pity that the officials had to spoil a thoroughly decent game of football with some farcical decisions. The hosts deserved the victory, however, the poor performance from the referee left a sour taste. Sadly, this has been a rather common theme of the season. All we ask for is fairness and consistency, even at this low level of the game.
Enough about the officials however. It has been a long, hard maiden season at A Klasa level for the Expats. The Dragoons finish the league in a respectable 8th position. Whilst there had been expectations to finish higher, a lack of squad consistency and conceding too many sloppy goals proved costly. The Expats won 9, drew 7 and lost 10 in an arduous campaign, scoring 74 times and conceding 70. Alessio Sassini top scored with 18 goals and Enrico Forabosco topped the creativity chart with 12 assists. The Expats will reflect on this past year and look to come back stronger next season.
Lastly, we would like to thank all of our fans for the support this season, it really does mean everything. See you all soon!