The Dragoons final home fixture in the Fenix Trophy saw Amsterdam based side Afc DWS travel to Krakow. The Dragoons went in search of their first victory in the competition to level on points with both DWS and Prague Raptors, after losing 4-1 in Amsterdam and 1-5 in Krakow, respectively.
In the opening moments of the game, DWS came close to grabbing an early goal. An electric break down the left saw the ball put across the face of goal. Fortunately for the Dragoons, the cross just evaded an outstretched boot of an opponent.
Expats Come Close
The first chance for the Expats came in the 12th minute. A deep free kick from the left foot of Enrico Forabosco saw DWS unable to clear their lines. Hugo Cruz’s attempted shot deflected to an unmarked Barry Chowaniec in a good position inside the penalty box. The Dragoons attacker attempted a side-footed shot, however, sent the effort wide of the goal. A great chance for the Expats spurned.
As the game continued, DWS began to see more and more of the ball. The visitors tried to use their pace to get behind the Dragoons, however the defence stood firm to deny any clear cut opportunities.
DWS came close to breaking the deadlock after the Dragoons failed to clear a ball into the box. However, a shot from outside of the box skidded wide of Marcin Obyrtacz’s goal.
The Visitors Take The Lead
On the half hour mark, DWS made their pressure count with the opening goal of the game. Nice build up play saw the ball worked to Largo Rogers, who took a sublime touch to get away from Francesco Leuci. The DWS attacker found himself at the corner of the box and sent an arrowed shot across goal, which found the net via the post. A really good finish to put the Dutch side ahead.
The Dragoons Strike Back
Not to be denied, the Dragoons hit back with an immediate equaliser just one minute later. A free kick from Enrico Forabosco saw DWS keeper, Djerano Sint, spill the ball in the box. The Dragoons looked to work a shooting opportunity and Emre Çolakoğlu saw his progress ended by a foul on the edge of the box. Enrico Forabosco nonchalantly stepped up to take the resulting free kick. The midfield magician hit a firmly struck shot beyond the wall and saw the ball bounce into the corner of the net for the equaliser!
As the half petered to a close, neither side could keep possession or find a way to take the lead. The Expats had defended stoutly and had passed the ball around nicely but without creating too many chances.
A slow paced start to the second half saw the Dragoons make their first change of the game after 50 minutes. Rob Smits made way for Rohit Chandran as the Dragoons looked change their fortunes in attack. Smits had put in a good shift against his fellow Dutchmen and had done a good job in helping to protect the attacks down the Expats left flank.
The Dragoons had to make a further change five minutes later. Portuguese utility man went down holding his hamstring and had to be replaced by Michael Lamb. The Expats also took the opportunity to bring on fresh legs at left back, with Michał Nowak replacing Leuci.
A scrappy half saw neither side creating too many clear cut opportunities. DWS continued to probe but a number of offside calls halted any forays into the Dragoons last quarter.
Despite the visitors seeing more of the ball in dangerous areas, the Dragoons kept up the pressure on their opponents. A good chance came the Dragoons way, again from the trusty boot of Forabosco. The Italian lifted a free kick into the box and found the head of a stooping Çolakoğlu. The great wall of Turkey directed his header on goal, but Sint showed safe hands to save.
DWS Come Close
The visitors came close to grabbing a second goal with 75 minutes of the game played. A lightning run by Benjamin Korley saw the full back sprint in behind the Dragoons defence at a tight angle. Marcin Obyrtacz left his line to close the gap and stood strong to deny the Dutch side taking the lead.
With ten minutes left to play the Dragoons made their final two changes. Jamie Beattie took to the field to replace Simon Calabrese and club legend Dani Silva replaced goal scorer Forabosco. Beattie slotted into left back, with Nowak moving across to centre back to partner Michael Lamb.
A guilt edge chance fell for the visitors with 84 minutes on the clock. A dangerous curling cross into the box evaded the Dragoons defence and found the well timed run of Moderessi Amireshan. The DWS substitute could not wrap his foot around the ball, however, striking his shot over the bar from close range.
Late Heart Break
Just one minute later, Amireshan made amends for his missed chance to score DWS’s second goal to break the Dragoons’ hearts. The Expats failed to get the ball out of the danger zone and were punished as a consequence. A threaded pass found Amireshan in behind the Dragoons backline and into the penalty area. The attacker took time to set himself before calmly slotting a shot past Obyrtacz and into the net.
With just five minutes to play, the Dragoons looked to go all out attack to get an equaliser. Deep into injury time, the Dragoons came perilously close after a series of trademark long-throws via Nowak. DWS failed to clear away the danger and Dani Silva attempted a hooked volley from inside the box. The long serving Portuguese saw his effort fly agonisingly wide of the target and the chance passed for the Expats.
The final whistle sounded moments later and condemned the Expats to a third straight Fenix Trophy defeat. Despite being on the wrong end of the score, the Dragoons could be proud of their performance against a very good DWS side.
With a little bit more composure in the final third, the Dragoons may well have caused an upset. An excellent defensive performance frustrated DWS and restricted the Dutch side to pot shots at the Dragoons goal.
The Dragoons will face off against Prague Raptors in their final group game of this seasons Fenix Trophy. However, we will certainly be back to try and improve our performance in next season’s edition.