After receiving a 1st round bye, the Dragoons kicked off the 23/24 season with a 2nd round tie in the Puchar Polski against Juvenia Prandocin. Following a penalty shoot-out defeat last season, the Expats would be looking to put in an improved showing in the cup this year.
A familiar looking line-up started for the Dragoons with Algerian, Salah Missi, being the only new signing to start. Dutch centre back Brian Lemmen also returned to the team after a period of absence.
The Dragoons kicked off the game and looked to implement their patient passing style on the game immediately. Prandocin looked happy for the Expats to keep possession, defending deep in their own half and struggling to see any of the ball in the opening moments.
After 7 minutes, the Dragoons had the ball in the net through Rob Smits. The Dutchmeester latched onto a through pass from Mark Szczesnowicz, rounded keeper Bartłomiej Walka and put the ball into an empty net. The celebrations were immediately cut short, however, as the flag had gone up on the far side from the referee’s official. Having a good view of the chance, the officials got this one right!
Into the 13th minute, a corner produced a chance for the Expats to take the lead. Enrico Forabosco swung the ball into the box, causing havoc for the visitors. The ball hit a defender, landing at the feet of Kuba Drobny who swivelled and shot first time. The Prandocin keeper showed quick reflexes however, instinctively blocking the ball with his leg and the defence cleared away the danger.
Following the chance, the game entered a real pre-season feel. The Dragoons passed the ball around nicely, but struggled to find the final pass to make their possession count. Prandocin looked happy to camp in their half, looking to try and hit the Expats on the counter.
Prandocin managed to have a period of play in the Dragoons half in the 21st minute. Some nice football resulted in Mariusz Włodarczyk striking a shot from range. The attacker failed to get any real power behind his effort however, and it ran through for Muñoz to comfortably gather.
In the 27th minute, the Dragoons managed to get in behind the visitors defence down the right flank. Martin Voženílek made use of the space, with a covering defender sticking out a leg to deflect the cross. The ball diverted aerially into the path of Yuri Samyonov, who got his head to the ball, but not a firm enough connection to trouble Walka.
Seconds after, the Dragoons regained possession and Enrico Forabosco picked out the run of Voženílek with a defence splitting pass. The attacker ran clear of full-back Dawid Warchoł and sprinted into the penalty box. Warchoł made a grab for the Czech winger inside the box, with Voženílek subsequently going down to the ground and the referee immediately pointed to the spot.
Rob Smits stepped up to take the penalty and hit a firm shot, towards the bottom corner. Bartłomiej Walka dived correctly and got a hand to the ball, but could not stop it hitting the back of the net as the Expats went into a 1-0 lead. The penalty saw the midfield metronome score his 9th Dragoons goal, maintaining his 100% record from the spot.
Prandocin on the Attack
With 34 minutes played, the Dragoons gifted a good chance for the visitors. Forabosco’s attempted forward pass struck an opponent and landed at the feet of Włodarczyk. The Prandocin forward found the run of Aleksander Warchoł, who sprinted into the box beyond the covering Salah Missi. The Dragoons Algerian defender kept the pressure on Warchoł, who could only punt tamely at Muñoz to save from a tight angle.
Straight down the other end, the Dragoons spurned a glorious chance to double their lead. A touch forward from Samyonov found the forward run of Mark Szczesnowicz in alien territory in front of goal. Walka advanced off his line to close the gap and with the angle closing, Szczesnowicz saw his shot cannon back off the keeper’s legs. The ball landed straight at the feet of Voženílek, who sent a rushed rebounded effort wide of the unguarded goal.
After the effort, neither side managed to trouble each other’s goal. The half petered out without any further incident as the Dragoons went into the break in the lead.
The Dragoons had dominated the half and deserved their lead. They had played some nice football, but had struggled to find the final ball in the final third against a stubborn Prandocin defence. The visitors sat happily in their own half, keeping their shape, but showing poor decision making on the counter attack.
Into the second half, the visitors came out the blocks the quickest. The Dragoons could barely get a touch of the ball as Prandocin looked to play higher and get more numbers into attacking areas.
Dragoons Live Dangerously
An attack in the 47th minute saw Kuba Drobny penalised for a foul on the corner of the box. A low shot came into the box from the resulting set-piece, however, the Polish defender threw himself in the way of the ball to stop the chance.
The Dragoons half cleared the ball out to the edge of the box towards where Mateusz Zębala attempted to hit the ball first time. Martin Voženílek showed bravery to immediately block the shot, with Zębala kicking the winger’s foot on the follow-through and going down in a heap in the box. The visitors appealed for a penalty, however, the referee showed no interest and the game continued.
With 50 minutes on the clock, Prandocin came forward again in force. Sebastian Stanek cut inside after a throw and launched a firm shot at goal that struck a team-mate and bounced clear.
Another foul conceded by the Dragoons, saw the visiting side have another chance to whip the ball into the danger zone. On this occasion, Szczesnowicz cleared away the danger as the Expats poured forward with an aggressive press.
The Prandocin defence looked out of sorts in possession at the back, with good frontline pressure forcing the visitors to gift the ball back to the Dragoons. Enrico Forabosco looked to put Samyonov through on goal, but an overhit pass saw the ball race through to Walka.
Into the 55th minute, Prandocin grabbed themselves an equaliser. Dawid Warchoł did well to intercept an attempted Dragoons pass in his own half and burst down the left flank. A delightful pass by the full-back found the well-timed run of Aleksander Warchoł beyond the Expats back line. The visiting attacker took the ball past the advanced Muñoz and put his shot through the legs of the covering Missi and into the net. Prandocin had started the half the better side and had taken their opportunity to level the game at 1-1.
The goal seemed to wake the Dragoons up, with the side looking to immediately regain the lead. Forabosco sprayed a pass out wide to find Voženílek on the right flank. The winger had a touch of good fortune to escape the attentions of Warchoł and dashed into the box. The Czech attacker found the run of the advanced Urzędowski in the box, who took a touch and hit an effort that went straight at Walka to save.
Emre Çolakoğlu entered the pitch for a despondent Samyonov on 58 minutes and looked to get immediately involved. The Turk came upon the loose ball and hit a speculative first time volley at goal. Unfortunately, the shot lacked any sort of power and bobbled across the turf for Walka to collect with ease.
After 65 minutes, neat interchanging football saw Çolakoğlu release Forabosco down the left wing. The midfield magician put a delicious ball into the box, but just too far in front of the run of Błażej Święcicki and the visitors cleared the ball out of play.
The Polish winger got himself involved again moments later as the Dragoons won the ball back. On this occasion, Święcicki cut in from the flank and hit a shot from range. The attempt failed to trouble the target however, flying high and wide of the goal.
With the Dragoons upping the ante, great pressing high up the field saw Szczesnowicz win back possession. Święcicki played the ball forward to Smits on the wing, whose first time pass found Çolakoğlu free in the box. The Turkish man mountain spun, shooting first time which beat Walka, however, a covering defender booted away the shot from off the line.
Święcicki came upon the rebound, but blasted the ball high over the target from just inside the penalty area. It proved to be the Polish winger’s last action of the game as Emre Bezirkan entered the fray.
Bezirkan’s introduction paid immediate dividends as the Turkish forward played a big part in the Expats re-taking the lead.
The build up to the goal started from Muñoz in goal, passing to Szczesnowicz covering the left back position. Smits came deep to receive a pass from the Australian, turning and finding the run of Missi out wide. The Algerian immediately touched the ball into Forabosco, who laid a pass down the line for Bezirkan to gallop onto. The Dragoons substitute, looked up to find the run of the omnipresent Smits on the edge of the box. The Dutchmeester looked to put his laces through the ball, but sliced his shot horribly.
Smits’ effort skewed comically wide towards the corner flag bringing amusing ironic cheers from those in the crowd. Somehow, the ball failed to go out of play however, with Voženílek doing well to keep it alive on the by-line. With Prandocin caught napping, Voženílek expertly picked out the run of Çolakoğlu, inside the penalty box. The Turkish man mountain used trickery to bamboozle a covering defender and put a low cross into the 6 yard box.
Çolakoğlu’s pass saw his fellow Turkish national attempt an outrageous backheel, but failing to get a goalward touch. Thankfully, the ball cannoned off of an unsuspecting defender, who diverted it into his own net to give the Dragons a 2-1 lead.
Dragoons Hold On
With the Dragoons now ahead in the tie, the visitors looked to pour bodies forward. The Expats conceded a couple of late free-kicks. One of which rolled through nicely to Muñoz and the second sailed over the bar.
A Late Chance
As the visitors pushed more bodies forward they left themselves open to the counter. Goal scorer Bezirkan, attempted to break forward but a foul on the Turk saw a free-kick given within shooting range.
Enrico Forabosco stepped up to the ball, looking to catch Prandocin out with a quickly taken effort. With Bartłomiej Walka well positioned, the keeper showed smart reactions and got a strong hand to keep the ball out of the goal.
Despite the visitors throwing themselves in the Expats half, they could not find the equaliser. The Dragoons held on to see the game out professionally after a period of injury time.
The 2-1 victory sees the Dragoons advance into the third round of the Puchar Polski. A deserved victory for the Expats, who dominated the game for long periods. Mark Szczesnowicz put in a real captain’s performance, protecting the back line and progressing the side forward. Similarly, Rob Smits produced a typical all action display, continuously on the move to get himself involved in the game.
Hugo Cruz’s charges passed the ball around nicely but lacked a cutting edge in the final third. The Dragoons did not start the second half particularly well, but the introduction of Emre Çolakoğlu saw the side regain the upper hand in midfield. Çolakoğlu put in an excellent battling cameo, playing a key part in the winning goal.
The coaches can feel satisfied that their tough pre-season regime and match preparation had paid off. In the most part, the Dragoons played to instruction and looked much more organised than their opponents. The coaches can feel doubly proud with their choice of substitutions too, who all played a role in the Dragoons victory.
All in all, a good workout for the side who will now face our “frenemies” Fairant in the next round. Fellow membership side Fairant defeated Zawisza Sulechów 4-2 on Wednesday evening to set up a mouth-watering meeting with the Expats.
History has a habit of repeating itself as the Dragoons first ever competitive fixture happened to be in the Puchar Polski versus Fairant. A glorious day in the annuls of the Dragoons short history so far.
A beautiful summers day saw the Expats stun their opponents with a thrilling 6-0 victory in the 1st round of the cup. Club legend Dani Silva opened the scoring from the spot on that fine day, with all time top scorer Adrian Paliś bagging before the break. The Expats blew away their opponents with a swift counter-attack resulting in Silva scoring a 2nd goal. The Portuguese hero secured a stunning debut hat-trick with a second penalty to put the Dragoons in dreamland.
Silva turned provider for Angolan lionheart Ernesto Bumba Jnr, as the Dragoons scored 3 goals in 10 minutes to extend the lead. The sixth and final goal saw Vitor Pereira score late on to give the Expats a memorable start to life in Polish football.
Last Time Out
The Expats have faced Fairant on 3 further occasions, with the Expats winning twice more and losing once. Last time the two sides met, saw the Dragoons move closer to the B Klasa title with a 6-1 victory. Yuri Samyonov put the Dragoons into a first half lead. Adrian Paliś grabbed four second half goals, however, Josh Dawson stole the headlines with a wonder-strike. The defender hit a first time effort from a full 25 metres and gave the keeper no chance as the ball flew into the top corner.
We hope to welcome as many fans as possible as the Dragoons look to proceed to the 4th round for the first time.