Champagne Back on Ice
The Dragoons took on K.S. Wawel this week, knowing victory would secure a maiden league title for the Expats.
Following the previous win over Fairant, the Dragoons made three changes to the starting line-up. The big friendly Belarusian, Alexey Zelenkin returned to the squad after injury, taking the place of Simon Calabrese. David Nicolas and Adrian Paliś also came into the starting line-up replacing Rob Smits and Enrico Forabosco.
The Dragoons created the first chance of the game in the 5th minute. Brian Lemmen came out of defence and played a lovely through pass for Yuri Samyonov. The striker burst through the Wawel backline, taking a touch and cutting the ball back to Robert Ambrosie. The Romanian full-back hit a fierce effort at goal, which forced Antoni Grzyb to fling to his right and palm away for a corner.
Ambrosie whipped the corner into the box and Nicolas ran onto the ball at the near post. The Frenchman got to the set-piece first but could not stab the ball towards the target.
Dare to Dream!
Moments after, more pressure from the Expats saw the ball played into Paliś, who gloriously flicked a pass to Samyonov. The Israeli hit a shot at goal and saw the ball deflect wide for the Dragoons second corner of the game.
Flavio Nkola stepped up to take the set piece, sending a strong swerving ball into the box. Paliś got a firm forehead to the ball, and sent it beyond Grzyb and into the back of the net. The goal saw the Dragoons take the lead in the 7th minute and the Polish striker grab his 22nd goal of the campaign.
In the 15th minute, a swift attack saw Paliś sprint down the right flank. The forward tried a shot on goal, but did not strike it cleanly and the effort went wide.
A minute later, Wawel had their first attempt of the game through veteran Grzegorz Pater. The striker wasted no time in hitting a first-time effort, but ballooned the shot into outer space.
Wawel Tear Up The Script
In the 20th minute, a foul on the edge of the Dragoons box gave Pater another shooting chance. The former Wisła Kraków veteran dusted himself down to take the kick himself. Pater sent a curling effort around the Dragoons wall and beyond the despairing dive of Munoz to equal the score at 1-1.
The goal appeared to knock the stuffing out of the Dragoons who huffed and puffed in attack.
In the 30th minute, Adrian Paliś flashed a rasping shot wide after a period of good build up play.
Five minutes later, the Wawel goalscorer and one time Poland international, Pater saw red. The striker looked to break forward, but Rohit Chandran would not give the veteran any breathing space. The Wawel man proceeded to chuck an arm back, whacking Chandran in the face and the referee showed no hesitation in sending Pater for an early bath.
Chandran produced the next best chance of the half for the Dragoons on the stroke of half time. The mercurial Indian burst through the Wawel defence down the right and tried to cut a pass back across goal. Antoni Grzyb got down bravely at the near post and did well to hold the ball under pressure.
The half time whistle sounded moments later with the Expats lacking their usual panache in possession.
With the chance to win the title beckoning, the Expats came out of the break quickly.
The Dragoons drove forward in numbers and Robert Ambrosie found himself in possession on the right flank. The full-back ran into the box and put a ball across the goal that caught everyone out, but came back off of the base of the post. The Expats regained possession of the ball and Brian Lemmen tried his luck from range, sending a powerful drive at goal, but straight at Grzyb who clutched the ball into his body.
In the 50th minute, the Expats created three opportunities to score. Dawson had the first chance, finding himself in the box and lashing the ball low, which Grzyb diverted away. The loose ball fell to David Nicolas who saw his effort again saved by the visiting custodian. The ball bobbled out of the box with Samyonov seeing a shot blocked by a defender and Chandran then tried his luck, but Grzyb remained alert to save comfortably.
A Gilt-Edged Chance
Another huge chance fell the Dragoons way three minutes later. Alexey Zelenkin found himself on the edge of the Wawel box and played a great flick into the path of Samyonov. The May Player of the Month nominee, had just Grzyb to beat, but saw his tame side-footed shot deflected away by the keeper’s legs.
Moments after, Dawson put in a teasing low cross into the Wawel box. Paliś looked to have an easy tap in, however the usually deadly striker missed the ball completely. Ambrosie reacted fastest to gain possession, but smacked a shot over the crossbar.
The dangerous Dawson went close in consecutive minutes, firstly nodding over Ambrosie’s cross and came a hair’s width of getting his head to an Nkola corner. Should contact have been made, it would have certainly have seen the Expats re-take the lead.
Martin Voženílek entered the game in the 65th minute replacing Yuri Samyonov.
Despite the Dragoons dominance in possession, they struggled to create many more clear-cut chances.
Wawel Spoil The Party?
With the Expats pouring men forward, it was Wawel who looked the more likely to score on the counter. Jakub Warchał found himself free in space for the visitors, but the Wawel man saw his shot saved easily by Muñoz.
The visitors had a better chance three minutes later, as neither the Dragoons defence or Wawel attack quite knew where the ball was. Muñoz came off his line and saw the ball strike his shins before the Expats could clear.
Muñoz again had to be wary with ten minutes left. Bartosz Kidoń saw the Chilean stopper off his line and attempted an audacious shot from range. Fortunately, the Wawel substitute failed to get any elevation on the ball and Muñoz grasped the shot out of the air.
Brave defending by Wawel man-mountain Adrian Chrobak saw a cross from Paliś turned away for a corner. The set-piece saw Bezirkan somehow miss the ball, and a foul was given as the Expats looked to bundle it into the net.
A Last Chance
The last chance of the game came and went for Dragoons. Voženílek gained possession for the first time since coming onto the pitch and burst into the Wawel box. The Czech sent a teasing ball across goal and found Nkola at the back post. The Angolan could not find the target and the whistle went shortly afterwards.
In truth, the Dragoons lacked the final ball to kill off the ten men of Wawel, who defended stoutly. Time and time again, the Expats struggled to stretch their opponent’s backline and failed to work the Wawel goalkeeper.
The draw means that the Expats blew the chance to win the league and the title race will go down to the wire. Rybitwy are now just two points behind the Expats owing to Kolejarz/Prokocim II Kraków forfeiting the fixture. Rybitwy travel to Albertus on the final day of the season needing to win to have a chance of stealing the title.
Bieżanowianka II Kraków stand in the way of the Expats next Saturday. The Dragoons won the reverse fixture 3-0 earlier in the season and know a solitary point will be enough to be crown league victors.