A Fatal First Half
Borek Krakow welcomed the Dragoons on a cold and wet Saturday afternoon. The host side sat joint first and would provide a stern test for the Expats.
The Dragoons made three changes to the side that drew last time out against Gajowianka. Marcin Obyrtacz returned to the side in between the posts, replacing Gabi Muñoz. Robert Ambrosie returned from injury to fill in at right back, with Piotr Hajnrych dropping out of the squad. Rob Smits returned to the starting XI with Chandran moving to the wing to replace the unavailable Flavio Nkola.
A quick start to proceedings saw the Dragoons try and stamp their authority on the game. An early shot saw Enrico Forabosco send a wild effort high and wide of the goal.
In the 5th minute, the hosts had a great chance to take the lead. With the Dragoons midfield advanced, a simple pass into the middle of the park saw the Expats stretched. A simple through ball caught out the Dragoons high line and Piotr Buczek found himself on goal. A poor finish by the Borek attacker saw the chance go wide of the target. An early warning sign for the Expats.
Two minutes later, the Dragoons fell behind as Borek scored the opening goal. Another through ball attempt ran through to Obyrtacz. The Expats keeper cleared the ball, but struggled to find any distance to his kick, with the clearance dropping straight to the head of an opponent. A headed ball forward saw the Dragoons defensive line all over the place.
Michał Dąbrowski took the ball down on his chest, burst in between Dawson and Lemmen to get in on goal. The forward shrugged off the attentions of Dawson and excellently hooked the ball over the stranded Obyrtacz for 1-0.
The Expats kicked off and looked to try and impose their passing style on the bog-like surface. Despite some neat pass and move football, the Dragoons struggled to break down the stubborn Borek defence.
Dragoons Go Close
A corner kick produced a good chance for the Dragoons in the 11th minute. Forabosco failed to beat the first man, however Borek could not clear properly. Lemmen laid the ball into the path of Forabosco, who curled back into the box. A defensive header fell to Dawson, who took a touch but saw his lashed shot blocked. The ball bobbled into the path of Rob Smits, who worked it onto his left foot and arrowed a shot just wide of goal.
Although the Dragoons looked to be getting back into the game, Borek proved to be dangerous in attack. A corner for the hosts floated across the Expats box and landed at a head of Maciej Zapała at the far post. Dawson blocked the ball, but it fell back to Zapała, who saw his volley thunder against the Englishman for another corner.
Borek added a second goal with only 17 minutes of the game played. Disaster struck for the Dragoons as Michał Nowak attempted to cut out a pass, sliding into the ball. The left back connected with it and sent the ball looping up into the air towards his own goal. Obyrtacz ran back and flapped a hand, but could not stop the ball from landing in the net. The goal bore similarities to Nowak’s previous own goal against Dąbski in the opening game of the season.
Borek Add A Third
With 22 minutes on the clock, Borek added a third to treble their lead. A goal kick for Borek saw Chowaniec tussling in the outfield for possession. The winger played the ball towards his own half, but owing to the Dragoons high line, inadvertently put Dąbrowski through leaving the defence trailing in his wake.
Dąbrowski unselfishly squared the ball to Damian Warchoł who faked a shot, grounding Obyrtacz and Lemmen. The Borek attacker had all the goal to aim for and stroked calmly past Dawson on the line to score Borek’s third goal.
The stunned Dragoons came close to grabbing a goal back on the half hour mark. Alessandro Puerini battled well to past a defender in the box. The striker managed to shoot at an angle, but saw the attempt whistle past the post.
Rob Smits starting his first game in a while tried to get the Expats going in the attack with his movement. The Dutchmeester managed to work off a shot, but saw the effort cut out for a corner. Forabosco swung the ball in, but it did not beat the first man, coming instead back to the Italian. A better cross into the box saw Dawson and Puerini free, however Smits jumped to take it away from both of them and saw the ball bounce wide of the goal.
A defensive horror show saw Borek further increase their lead in the 36th minute. A goal kick landed in the midfield unchallenged. A combination of Çolakoğlu and Chowaniec tracked the ball down, but the referee deemed a foul to be committed by one of the pair.
Borek took the free-kick quickly, catching the Dragoons high-line napping once again. On this occasion, Warchoł ran through on goal. The forward shrugged off the attention of Nowak to pass across to Dąbrowski for a simple tap in.
With the Dragoons four goals behind, they toiled in their attempts to get back into the game. Rohit Chandran blasted over from range and Forabosco had a further shot. A nice passage of football ended with the Italian floating the ball at goal, but Michał Sepioło easily plucked the ball out of the air to save.
The referee mercifully blew the whistle as soon as the clock struck 45 minutes. An absolutely shocking first half had seen the Dragoons blown away by the joint league leaders. The hosts had not had to get out of first gear, playing simple through passes to exploit the Expats backline.
In an attempt to change the Dragoons fortunes a formation change and double substitution came at half time. Captain Mark Szczesnowicz entered the game for his 50th appearance replacing Brian Lemmen. The hapless Nowak also made way for the big Belarusian Alexey Zelenkin. Both slotted into a back three with Chandran and Ambrosie becoming wing-backs as the side went to a 3-5-2 formation.
The changes seemed to breathe fresh life into the bewildered Dragoons. An early corner saw the ball fall to substitute Zelenkin. The centre-back tried a shot at goal, but saw his attempt balloon into the air and Borek cleared.
Borek sat back in their own half happy to protect their lead. The Expats kept pressing forward but struggled to breach the sturdy backline of the home side.
A deep free-kick near the halfway line saw Forabosco drop the ball into the Borek box. Josh Dawson got a head to the ball, but could not find the power or direction to trouble the score.
Dragoons Pull One Back
The Expats continued to play nice football and a foul down the left wing on Chandran saw Forabosco presented with a crossing opportunity. The midfield magician zipped a fierce high ball into the six-yard box. The cross caught Sepioło cold, as the Borek custodian palmed the ball against his own post and into the net for 4-1.
With 65 minutes played, the Dragoons had an excellent opportunity to half the deficit from the penalty spot.
A good attacking move saw Zelenkin play a ball forward to Robert Ambrosie on the wing. The Romanian touched the ball into Smits first-time, who in turn crossed towards Puerini. The Italian sublimely brought the ball down, but the Sepioło managed to get a foot to deny a shot on goal. A poor defensive clearance landed to Smits, who passed into Ambrosie. The Romanian looked to dart past an opponent but went down due to an outstretched foot of a defender, with the referee immediately pointing to the spot.
Enrico Forabosco stepped up to take the kick, looking to preserve his 100% record from the spot. On this occasion, the Italian stuttered as he shot a tame effort at goal. Sepioło guessed right and got down low to block the ball with his legs to save as a great chance went begging. The Dragoons penalty curse returned to haunt the side once again with the spot-kick being the fourth one missed this season.
Çolakoğlu Halves the Deficit
Just under 10 minutes later, the Dragoons grabbed a goal their second half performance deserved. Once again patient build up play stretched the Borek defence.
The move started initially from Mark Szczesnowicz coming out of defence and passing wide to Ambrosie. The full-back played a neat one-two with Szczesnowicz before picking out a forward pass to find Chowaniec.
Nice triangle passing saw Chowaniec pass out wide to Smits who found Ambrosie in the box. The full-back backheeled back into the path of Chowaniec, who bypassed a defender before laying the ball back to Çolakoğlu on the edge of the box.
The Turkish man-mountain took a touch before sending a neat low drive at goal. The ball skidded across the sodden turf and nestled into the bottom corner of the net beyond the dive of Sepioło. A first goal in a Dragoons jersey for the midfield man!
Just as the Expats looked to be in the ascendancy, Borek added their fifth goal within a minute. An aimless clearance from Borek saw Josh Dawson misjudge the ball. It bobbled past the Englishman’s outstretched boot, allowing a Borek attacker to break forward. A sublime through-pass put Maciej Wcisło through on goal with just Obyrtacz to beat. The Borek man showed a neat touch to set himself, before calmly rolling the ball past the Dragoons keeper to score.
With the score at 5-2, it would be a difficult ask for the Dragoons to get anything out of the game. The Expats huffed and puffed but struggled to create any chances of note.
A triple change with eight minutes to play saw club legend Dani Silva enter the fray. Jordi Badolato and Kuba Drobny also came on, with Ambrosie, Forabosco and Çolakoğlu making way.
The Dragoons grabbed a late consolation to reduce the lead back down to 5-3. Chowaniec raced onto Chandran’s long pass to stretch the Borek defence. A great sliding tackle ended the Pole’s run, giving the Expats a corner kick.
Dani Silva whipped a curling cross with pace into the dangerzone. Josh Dawson came from nowhere to get his head onto the ball and sent a thunderous attempt at goal. The header pinged off of the inside of the post and into the net for the versatile defender’s second goal of the season.
Silva laced over a late shot in injury time, which proved to be the last chance of the game.
The final whistle blew with the Dragoons lamenting their first half performance. A disastrous high-line breached on multiple occasions, with a lack of runners tracking back.
Jekyll & Hyde Performance
As bad as the first half had been, the second period showed the Dragoons have enough in their arsenal to trouble the better teams. Borek had a clear game-plan to get in behind the Dragoons and it clearly worked first half.
The Expats failed to really stretch their opponents; however, the formation change and withdrawal of the dangerous Michał Dąbrowski gave the Expats a second half boost.
Following the defeat, the Dragoons remain in ninth position, but have lost ground on those above them. A third reverse of the season sees the Dragoons retain a better goal difference than those sides above them however. Depending on other results, the Dragoons could move to seventh with an away win against KS Podgórze next week.
Podgórze currently trail the Expats by five points and sit in 11th position. The White & Reds have won three times and lost eight of their 11 games this season. Formed in 1913, Podgórze played two seasons at the top level of Polish football alongside Wisła Kraków, Cracovia and Garbarnia Kraków between 1933 and 1934.
The last 10 years have seen the side in between A Klasa and Liga Okręgowa, with the last five seasons in the same division. Podgórze finished the 2021/22 season in 8th position and go into the game on the back of a three game losing streak.
A familiar face currently plies his trade with Podgórze in the former Dragoons Portuguese Pitbull – Gonçalo Rodrigues. A club hero, Rodrigues left the Expats at the end of last season, having been with the Dragoons since the Kraków Sunday League days. The tough-tackler is currently in the Dragoons top ten appearance makers, turning out 39 times in the famous blue jersey. Although he never scored, he contributed five assists, received six yellow cards and one memorable red card against Pychowianka.
The midfielder will no doubt provide key information to his new coaches on how his new side can get one over the Dragoons!