A Solid Win
The final game before the winter break saw the Dragoons entertain Czarni 03 Grzegorzowice. Despite being a home fixture, the Expats accepted the request for the game to be played in Grzegorzowice.
Hugo Cruz made six changes to the line up, but owing to his red card against Szreniawa Koszyce had to watch the game from the side-lines. With Scott Halcrow and David Nicolas unavailable, club captain Mark Szczesnowicz prowled the touchline, assisted by yours truly.
After suffering a broken finger in training, Marcin Obyrtacz had to miss the game. With Gabi Muñoz still unavailable, there was a debut in the posts for goalkeeper coach Lorenzo Bartolomei.
Szymon Urzędowski dropped out the first XI as Roman Bilovol came into the team at right-back and Kuba Drobny returned to start after suspension. The Pole lined up alongside Simon Calabrese at the centre of defence with Salah Missi continuing at left-back.
In the middle, the only change saw Brian Lemmen back to anchor the midfield with Rob Smits and captain Enrico Forabosco keeping their places in the team.
After his red card last week, Alessio Sassini missed the game as did Martin Voženílek due to unavailability. This meant that Rohit Chandran moved from midfield to the wing, with Vałdzis Fuhaš and Ayoub Chardal completing the team.
An impressively small pitch saw Enrico Forabosco attempt a shot straight from kick-off, but the home goalkeeper Grzegorz Lis read the flight of the ball to easily catch it out of the air.
Neither team could get the upper hand in the early stages of the game as a sodden bobbly pitch made it difficult to get the ball down and pass it successfully.
Both sides had shots on goal from range in the opening 10 minutes to varying degrees of success. Czarni sent their effort curling over the bar and Forabosco drove straight at Lis to comfortably save.
Dragoons Apply the Pressure
Into the 13th minute, a fierce looking attempt from Roman Bilovol called Lis into action a second time. Once again however, the shot went straight at the home keeper who gathered the ball at the second attempt.
The Expats began to see more and more of the ball as the half progressed. Two chances in two minutes saw the Dragoons attempt to take the lead, but neither Smits nor Chandran could find the target.
Despite being on top for most of the half the Dragoons had to be wary at the back. A shot from range called Bartolomei into action for the first time, but the Italian stopper got down well to turn the effort around the post.
The Dragoons kept on attacking their opponents, but the ball just would not sit kindly for them in the final third. Lots of good build up play saw the Expats get to the edge of the box but fail to make their possession count.
Finally, in the 35th minute, a handball gave the Expats an opportunity to score from the spot. Rob Smits stepped up to take the resulting penalty, but went for power and sent his spot-kick over the crossbar.
With five minutes left of the half the Dragoons came close to taking the lead. Fuhaš found time and space to launch a rocket of a shot at goal, but missed the target by a matter of millimetres.
A fairly nondescript half closed with a booking for Salah Missi. The left-back attempted to close down an opponent’s clearance and the Czarni man kicked the Algerian’s foot on the follow-through as he kicked the ball down field.
Immediately after the free-kick, the whistle blew to end a fairly boring first half. The Expats had seen the better of the ball, but had failed to seriously trouble the visiting keeper. Czarni had their moments, but the Dragoons defended well to protect their goal.
The first chance of the half came the way of the Dragoons from a Kuba Drobny long throw. The ball eventually landed at the feet of Fuhaš who saw his effort blocked by a defender and out for a corner.
A mistake by the Dragoons saw Czarni test Bartolomei for the first time in the half on 49 minutes. A pass from Chandran to Calabrese bobbled under the Italian’s foot and out for a throw. Czarni worked the ball to the edge of the box and Damian Korfel whacked an attempt straight at the Dragoons keeper.
Moments after, the Dragoons conceded the ball from their own throw-in and Korfel again went close. On this occasion, the Czarni attacker hit a firm effort way wide of the target.
Nice football by the Expats produced a good chance shortly afterwards. Chardal sent Missi scampering down the left wing and the Algerian put a teasing ball across goal. It looked like an easy finish for Forabosco, however the ball bobbled up off the turf and against his standing leg allowing the visitors to clear.
Dragoons Down to Ten
Less than a minute later, Missi would be involved in the action for all the wrong reasons. A mistimed tackle by the full-back saw an opponent go down in a heap. The referee immediately went to his pocket to produce a second yellow card followed by a red to send Missi off.
Czarni looked to take immediate advantage getting bodies forward on the attack in the 52nd minute. Luckily, the Dragoons survived as an incoming shot ballooned over the Expats goal.
Moments after, the visitors again exploited the space following Missi’s dismissal and put the goal at threat. Korfel sent a shot on target from inside the box, but could only sting the palms of Bartolomei.
The Ten Men Lead
Despite being down to ten men, the Dragoons took the lead with ten minutes of the half played. An attempted clearance from the visitors saw the ball booted up into the air. Forabosco controlled it with a nice touch, looked up and passed sideways to Chardal in space. The Moroccan passed first time into Smits, who used neat footwork to put the ball beyond a defender and towards Fuhaš. The Dragoons forward timed his run to perfection, running onto the ball and hitting a first-time effort across Lis and into the corner of the net from a tight angle. A deserved goal to put the Dragoons 1-0 into the lead!
Although the Dragoons had a numerical disadvantage, they continued to dominate the ball. On 65 minutes, the “home” side almost went ahead in comical circumstances as nice football saw Smits hang a cross into the box. Grzegorz Lis came off his line to catch the ball, but spilled it into the path of Chandran. It looked like Chandran would get a tap in, only for the giant keeper to show amazing powers of recovery to push the ball away from goal.
Visitors Search For an Equaliser
Czarni had offered little during the game and a horrible shot over the Dragoons goal summed up their performance. They went closer to an equaliser on 70 minutes however, with a long range shot coming at goal. The ball took a wicked bounce just in front of Bartolomei, but the keeper dealt with the shot comfortably.
Into the 75th minute, Brian Lemmen did well to block a shot at goal as the ball dropped back outside the Expats’ box. The Dutchman looked to close down Korfel and was adjudged to have fouled the visiting attacker. Kasianenko Mykola stepped up to take the following free-kick but slammed his shot into a well constructed Dragoons wall.
Good passing football almost resulted with the Dragoons grabbing a second goal on the counter with 77 minutes played. A throw forward by Czarni saw Josh Dawson nod the ball into Forabosco, who immediately touched it into Smits. The Dutchmeester shifted a pass into Fuhaš, who had Smits breaking to his left and Chandran to his right. The attacker laid a perfect pass in behind the defence for the Indian whirlwind, who saw his effort blocked by a covering defender and out for a corner.
Fuhaš At The Double
From the following corner, the Expats grabbed a second goal to double their advantage. Enrico Forabosco, stepped up with his mythical left peg and swung the ball high into the 6 yard box. Lis, blocked by a defender made a poor attempt to punch the ball clear, getting a slight touch and it dropped straight to Fuhaš to head into an empty goal for his third goal of the season.
The visitors came close to getting back into the game on 81 minutes. A long hanging cross saw Korfel show a deft touch to bring the ball under his control. The shaven-headed frontman curled towards the top corner but saw the immovable object of Bartolomei stick out his arm to paw the ball out for a corner.
Dragoons Look For A 3rd
Almost immediately after the Expats went on the counter with Fuhaš finding himself in the right place from a long ball forward. The striker played a neat one-two with Smits, receiving the ball on the edge of the box and passing out wide to Forabosco. The midfield magician showed great feet to get to the by-line but saw his attempted cross-goal pass collected by the keeper.
Lis launched the ball into the Dragoons half, but the Expats won possession and came straight back on the offensive. Forabosco saw an attempted effort blocked for a corner as the team went for a third goal. The Italian’s ball into the box found the head of Dawson and the Englishman made a firm connection, but could only direct the ball over the goal.
A late effort from the visitors went over the bar as the Dragoons easily saw out the rest of the game. Bilovol had the final say of the match with a shot from just outside the box going wide as the clock ticked into 90 minutes.
The final whistle ended the match moments later with the Dragoons victorious. The Expats find themselves in 7th place in the table, however, depending on the yet to be scheduled Ekler Baranówka and Victoria Smroków result, the Dragoons could end up in 8th position going into the winter break.
We would like to thank you all for your constant support and we will catch you all next year!