First Home Defeat
The Dragoons fifth game of the season saw Ekler Baranówka visit Prądniczanka for the first meeting between the two sides. Followingly the point in the previous weekend in Michałowice, the Expats looked to extend their unbeaten run to four games.
One change to the back four saw the suspended Francesco Leuci drop out of the team, with Sasha Arshakian moving to left back to accommodate the returning Kuba Drobny. Roman Bilovol and Simon Calabrese continued at right back and centre back respectively, with Gabi Muñoz starting once again between the posts.
Captain Mark Szcesznowicz and Enrico Forabosco also dropped out of the side with the latter missing out following his red card last weekend. Hugo Cruz reverted back to a 4-3-3 formation with Corneille Malonga, Emre Çolakoğlu and Rohit Chandran starting in the middle.
A much changed frontline saw Martin Voženílek, Yuri Samyonov and Ayoub Chardal all come into the starting line-up.
In just 15 seconds, the Dragoons gifted Ekler an early lead. A stray back-pass caught the Dragoons cold at the back and Sebastian Rafałowski nipped in to dink the ball over Muñoz’s dive for the opening goal.
On 6 minutes, the visitors almost returned the favour for the Dragoons. A defensive slip saw Emre Çolakoğlu win possession, 25 metres from goal. The man-mountain strolled forward and hit a rasping left footed effort at goal. Unfortunately, Ekler’s stopper Dawid Miazga proved equal to the effort, diving to his left to tip the ball over.
With quarter of an hour of the game played, the Expats created a good opportunity to level. A neat one-two between Ayoub Chardal and Rohit Chandran saw the Moroccan marvel pull a pass across goal. Sadly for the Dragoons, the ball went just ahead of Yuri Samyonov and the visitors cleared away the danger.
Dragoons Live Dangerously
A couple of minutes later, goal-scorer Rafałowski attempted to grab a second goal. The Ekler attacker got by two attempted sliding tackles, but sliced his effort way wide of the target.
Into the 21st minute, Ekler came forward again and got in behind the Dragoons defence. Fortunately, Maciej Matławski misread his lines and horribly skewered his attempt wide.
Just seconds later, the Dragoons came forward and almost grabbed an equaliser. Martin Voženílek received a pass from Çolakoğlu and found Chandran in space on the edge of the box. The Indian whirlwind threaded the ball into Chardal to put the attacker one on one with the keeper. The Moroccan sent a delightful curling shot towards the top corner, however, the ball cushioned off the bar, bounced off the post and back into play to deny Chardal his first Dragoons goal.
Straight down the other end, Miazga launched a kick over the Dragoons backline for Rafałowski to run onto. The Ekler forward raced onto the ball and struck an early shot, but lifted his effort skyward.
An end to end game saw a free-kick given to the Expats within shooting range on 24 minutes. Ayoub Chardal sent a speculative curling shot at goal, but the effort lacked the power as Miazga comfortably plucked the attempt out of the air.
Moments later, Çolakoğlu did well to slide into the ball and hooked it to Samyonov on the left wing. The Israeli switched the play nicely from left to right to find Bilovol in space on the opposite flank. The Argentine dropped a shoulder to beat an opponent, flashing a pass across the face of the Ekler goal and the ball found Chandran at the back post. The Indian did well to send an effort towards the net and it looked like a Dragoons leveller, only for Miazga to instinctively stick out an arm to tip the shot onto the bar. The ball bobbled around the box, however, the Expats could not get a telling touch and Ekler cleared.
Just before the halfway stage, a speculative ball forward by the visitors saw Muñoz dash off his line. The keeper got to there first but half slipped as he cleared the ball into touch and went down innocuously clutching his knee. The game halted for a short period whilst the stricken stopper received treatment, before carrying on.
Ekler on the Attack
Ekler had an excellent chance to double their lead with 33 minutes on the clock. A lofted forward pass saw Rafałowski nod the ball unchallenged into the path of Matławski. The visiting attacker ran into the box at an angle, but struck a low effort just wide of the goal.
Five minutes after the visitors had another chance from a debatable corner. The ball came fizzing into the Dragoons box and struck a visiting player on the knee and thankfully landed into the arms of Muñoz.
Into the 41st minute, the Dragoons won a penalty to give themselves a glorious chance to level the game. Arshakian threw the ball long into the Ekler box and it bounced up horribly and struck an opponent on the arm. Yuri Samyonov stepped up to take the kick and sent a weak side-footed shot at goal. Dawid Miazga guessed correctly, sprang to his left to save and to preserve Ekler’s one goal advantage.
Deep into first time injury time, a floated ball across goal saw the visitors with an overload on their left flank. The Dragoons did well to block the initial effort at goal, and a second effort went flying over the bar.
The referee brought a close to the half immediately after the chance with the Expats’ early mistake proving costly. In truth, the Dragoons had played some nice football but had failed to take their chances. A big second half would be needed for the team to change their fortunes around.
A half-time change saw Gabi Muñoz unable to continue after suffering a knee injury and Marcin Obyrtacz came into the game for his first appearance of the season.
Obyrtacz came into action for the first time on the 51st minute as he came sprinting out of his goal to stop a through pass. The keeper did well to get to the ball first, however, his clearance went straight to an opponent. A shot came towards an empty goal, but fortunately it went high and wide of the target.
On 53 minutes, a pull back on Chardal gave the Dragoons a free-kick within shooting distance. The Moroccan marvel arrowed the ball towards the top corner, but Miazga scrambled across his goal to push the attempt wide.
Visitors Double Their Lead
With ten minutes of the second half played, the visitors doubled their advantage. A nice aerial pass forward saw Rafałowski beat Drobny for pace to get to the ball first. With Obyrtacz in no-man’s land, the Ekler marksman lifted a first-time effort over the stranded Dragoons keeper and into the back of the net for 2-0.
Ekler smelt blood and continued to get numbers forward as the Dragoons floundered. A number of efforts from range came at the Expats goal, however, they failed to seriously trouble the target.
In an attempt to reestablish control of the game, the Expats made a double change. Yuri Samyonov and Martin Voženílek made way with Andrea Latino and Flavio Nkola entering the pitch.
High, Wide and Handsome
The Dragoons first effort of the second half came in the 68th minute. Corneille Malonga found Çolakoğlu in space inside the Ekler half. The midfielder came forward and blasted an effort high, that threatened to clear the netting behind the goal.
With just over ten minutes of normal time, Hugo Cruz made a triple change. Emre Çolakoğlu, Ayoub Chardal and Simon Calabrese made way for Brian Lemmen, Tarik Boufeniza and Taye Johnson.
Despite making the changes, the Expats struggled to find their usual passing rhythm. Malonga and Arshakian attempted shots from range, however, neither could find the target.
Dragoons Best Chance of the Half
The Expats huffed and puffed but failed to trouble Miazga in the Ekler goal until deep into injury time. An excellent through pass from Chandran, saw Johnson accelerate through on goal, but a well struck effort from the South African saw the keeper stick out a leg to stop the shot.
Into the dying embers of the half, the Dragoons won a free-kick after a foul on Nkola. The Angolan went for goal himself, but failed to hit the target as the shot sailed over the bar.
Not long after, the referee brought an end to the game with the Dragoons unbeaten run coming to a halt.
The result sees the Dragoons falling to 7th in the table with Ekler holding onto 3rd position.
Sometimes you win them, and sometimes you lose or draw them. Sadly, it was not meant to be for the Expats on a bad day at the office. The Dragoons played some tidy football in the first half to open up their opponents. Unfortunately, the game is about taking chances and Ekler took their chances, whilst the Expats did not.
The Dragoons looked too flat footed all over the park and the midfield battle against a physical side was lost. Sadly, Ekler did not have to work hard to win the game. They got into the Dragoons’ faces and showed more aggression all over the pitch.
Although the Expats had more possession statistically, in the second half they created virtually nothing. Aimless long passes and being unable to keep the ball in advanced areas saw Ekler deal with most of the threats easily. Too often, the Dragoons looked ponderous on the ball and made poor decisions. The Expats failed to stretch their opponents and none of the substitutes could make a telling impact.
Goalscoring appears to be an issue as the Dragoons have scored only 7 goals, the 5th worst in the league. The defence has been a plus point however, with the defensive reinforcements helping the side to have the 3rd best goals conceded record.
Next weekend, the Dragoons take on Galicja Raciborowice who currently lead the league with 15 points. The free-scoring “green-whites” have scored 32 goals so far, winning all five of their fixtures this season. They have the second meanest defence in the league, so the Dragoons will have to be at their best.
Formed in 1991, Galicja have spent the past 8 seasons at Klasa A level and finished last season in 3rd position.