The Dragoons Hold On
A rare Tuesday evening encounter saw the Dragoons face off against 3rd placed Tramwaj. Despite being a home fixture, with the pitch unavailable at Prądniczanka, the opponents kindly agreed to host the game.
With a third game in a week, the Dragoons made a few line up changes. Marcin Obyrtacz returned between the posts with Gabi Muñoz dropping out of the squad. With Josh Dawson suspended, Kuba Drobny came into the team to partner Simon Calabrese. Szymon Urzędowski also deputised at right back in the place of the injured Michał Nowak.
The final change to the line up saw Alessandro Puerini return to the starting XI for Yuri Samyonov, who made the bench.
A quick start saw Tramwaj get down the Dragoons left flank and swing a cross into the box. Kuba Drobny got his head to the ball and diverted it out for a corner. The following set piece saw Francesco Leuci get the ball away to start a Dragoons counter attack.
Rohit Chandran took possession of the ball and passed it down the line for Alessandro Puerini to run onto. The striker powered his way forward and got into the far side of the box. With space running out, the Italian elected to shoot but Martin Szwiec caught the ball with ease.
Puerini Scores The Opener
On 10 minutes, the Dragoons scored the first goal of the game through Alessandro Puerini. Enrico Forabosco curled the ball into the box and the Italian assassin escaped the attentions of his marker to thump a header past Szwiec and into the net.
Dragoons Pegged Back Immediately
Within two minutes however, the visitors levelled the game. Tramwaj worked the ball down behind the Dragoons left flank. Jakub Kostrz somehow kept the ball in play and slid in to hook the ball into the box. The Dragoons defence found themselves caught out and Jakub Osuch came onto the ball inside of the penalty area unchallenged to smash a shot into the near post past Obyrtacz.
After 15 minutes, a shot from range from the goal scorer, Osuch dribbled along the bobbly turf. Obyrtacz got down to save and did well to not be deceived by a vicious divot in front of him.
Five minutes later, the Dragoons captain Mark Szczesnowicz went down clutching the back of his leg. The Australian could not carry on and the Dutchmeester Rob Smits entered the game in the skipper’s place.
Tramwaj had the ball in the net a minute later. A free-kick on the right side of the box came into the box and found the head of Łukasz Szewczyk in an offside position. His fellow defensive partner, Piotr Grygiel prodded the ball into the net, but the flag on the side cancelled out the goal.
Not long afterwards, the visitors had a good chance at taking the lead. A neat through pass exposed the Dragoons line and Dariusz Osuch ran down the left and into the box. Marcin Obyrtacz did well to close the gap and Osuch blasted the ball straight at the Dragoons keeper. The ball came back to Osuch for the rebound, however, he could only tamely lift the ball wide of the goal.
Despite playing some neat possession football in the opening 10 minutes, the Dragoons found it hard to keep the ball. Matters did not help when Rohit Chandran found space to drive forward in the midfield. The Indian whirlwind elected to shoot from range rather than pass, and blasted a shot high over the goal.
A foul near the edge of the Dragoons box gifted a chance for the visitors with 35 minutes played. Jakub Osuch elected to shoot from a tight angle and forced Obyrtacz to tip the ball over the bar.
From the following corner, the ball looped towards the far post. Grygiel got his head to the ball to put it across the face of the Dragoons goal and Kuba Drobny headed away the danger. Just as the defender cleared the ball, he received a painful blow to the face from the head of an opponent. Blood poured from the nose of poor Drobny and he ended up leaving the pitch with a broken nose.
Play continued and the Dragoons conceded another free-kick from shooting range. A shot came towards the Dragoons goal, but went wide of the target.
Michael Lamb came on to replace the stricken Drobny after the chance. Lamb came into action almost immediately as Tramwaj broke down the right flank once again. Jakub Osuch got onto the cross ahead of the Scotsman but could only drive into the side netting from close range.
Half time came not long after with the Dragoons struggling to get into the game. The side had started brightly, however, since the goal had not seen much of the ball in attacking areas.
The Dragoons came out looking more confident on the ball. In the 50th minute, a neat move involving Puerini and Smits saw the latter shoot at goal. The midfielder received a pass to get in on goal, but did not connect well with his shot and Szwiec gathered with ease.
Both sides cancelled each other out and neither could create any clear cut chances for a long period of the half.
The first real chance of note came in the 63rd minute for Tramwaj. A throw in saw the ball recycled back to Szewczyk who sent a curling cross into the box. The ball bounced horribly in the box just avoiding Grygiel on the six yard line and arrowing towards the goal. Marcin Obyrtacz threw himself to his left to just about palm the ball away, and the rebound was smashed over.
Just a minute later, and Obyrtacz came to the Dragoons rescue twice in succession. A quick free-kick exposed the Dragoons defence and a shot from Szymon Pachlowski at the near post saw the Dragoons stopper save with his legs. The ball came straight back to Pachlowski who hung a cross towards the back post. Szymon Moskal attempted an acrobatic effort at the Dragoons goal from six yards, but Obyrtacz stood strong and instinctively kept the ball out.
The following corner went towards the far post and Szewczyk lost his marker, but headed just over the bar. A real let off for the Dragoons!
Dragoons Come Close
With 70 minutes played, the Dragoons had their first chance in some time. Jamie Beattie got to the by-line and his pass found Puerini lurking at the edge of the box. The Italian spun well to make space, and sent a left footed effort just wide of the post.
As the game progressed, neither side could produce too many chances of note. The game became stretched as both sides went for a winner, but the defences came on top on each occasion.
With five minutes left to play, Tramwaj once again came close from a corner. Another lofted ball to the far post saw Piotr Grygiel rise highest. The big bald Tramwaj centre back headed downwards and the ball struck the foot of Obyrtacz and somehow stayed out of the goal.
The Dragoons survived another cross into the box minutes later. On this occasion, a weak header dropped wide of the goal as the Expats clung on by their fingertips.
Injury Time Half Chance
Into injury time, the Expats had the final chance of the game. Rob Smits sent a delightfully clipped pass over the defence for Jamie Beattie. The ball would not sit kindly for the Englishman, who did well to get a shot at goal with his right foot. The ball looped towards the corner of the net, however, Szwiec plucked it out of the air with relative ease.
The game ended shortly afterwards with the game somehow ending 1-1. A valuable point for the Expats who had been second best for long periods of the game. Both sides defended resolutely and Tramwaj found the Dragoons stopper Marcin Obyrtacz in inspired form to save his side a point.
Injuries and fatigue had an obvious effect on the Expats, who struggled to find any real tempo after taking the lead. Tramwaj used the flanks well, and constantly looked to move the ball quickly. The Dragoons struggled to get their feet on the ball and on too many occasions could not keep possession. In previous seasons, the Expats heads would have gone down. However, they found fight and determination in their play to keep going until the end. A worthy point for the side against a very well drilled and organised opponent.
A fourth game in just 10 days sees the Expats take on Wanda Krakow at home on Sunday.
Wanda sit in sixth place in the table, seven points ahead of the Dragoons. They have won 11, drew once and lost six times so far this season, scoring 48 times and conceding 32 goals.
The last time the two sides met saw the debut of the Italian assassin Alessandro Puerini. The Dragoons top scorer grabbed a hat-trick on his maiden appearance and fans favourite Błażej Święcicki nodded a late goal to secure a stunning 4-0 victory away from home.