Last Minute Pain
An early Sunday morning kick-off saw the Dragoons face Prądniczanka II, looking to leapfrog their opponents in the table. Following a poor performance the week previous at Wanda, Hugo Cruz made five changes to the line up.
Marcin Obyrtacz remained in between the posts with Szymon Urzędowski and Simon Calabrese coming into the team at right and centre back. Meanwhile, Kuba Drobny and Josh Dawson kept their places in central defence and left back respectively.
Corneille Malonga dropped out of the team as Enrico Forabosco returned from suspension to partner the Dutch duo of Rob Smits and Brian Lemmen in midfield.
In attack, Flavio Nkola and Ayoub Chardal dropped to the bench as Andrea Latino started centrally with Rohit Chandran and Yuri Samyonov on the wings.
A Slow Start Punished
The Dragoons started the game slowly for the second consecutive week and found themselves behind after just 4 minutes. A searching pass saw Victor Yalama collect the ball out wide and drive inside the pitch. Yalama spotted the excellent run of Damian Adamczewski and slotted a through pass behind the Dragoons defence to put Adamczewski in on goal. As Obyrtacz looked to close the gap, Adamczewski sent a delicate chip over the custodian’s head towards the far post. The Dragoons defence anticipating a shot, ran to the near post to cover leaving Vitalii Sydorenko unmarked to casually nod the ball into an empty net for 1-0.
Despite being under pressure, the Expats almost equalised in comical fashion immediately after. Forabosco lifted a pass into Latino on the side of the area, with the striker sending a low cross into the danger zone. A defensive clearance cannoned straight into the shins of Rob Smits and forced goalkeeper Michał Mielecki to sprawl to his left and push the ball wide.
Still Prądniczanka came forward, pressing high to put the Expats under pressure. The visitors regained possession and Adamczewski spun excellently to get by Urzędowski and laid the ball into Bartek Krewniak. An incoming shot took a slight nick off of Drobny, but landed comfortably in Obyrtacz’s grasp.
The Expats struggled to get out of their own half and could not deal with the visitor’s high press. They lost the ball on the edge of their own box and a neat reverse pass found Kuba Kopeć in behind the defence. From a tight angle, Kopeć tried an attempt at goal, but failed to hit the target.
Further misery compounded the Dragoons on 12 minutes when Rob Smits signalled to the bench that he could not continue. The Dutchmeester left the field as Flavio Nkola readied himself to enter the game.
With the Expats temporarily reduced to 10 men, the game continued in the same manner. Stanislav Redzel dispossessed Dawson and rounded Chandran to advance down the right wing. A pass into the area found Kopeć, who prodded the ball towards Vitalii Sydorenko in the box. Sydorenko shot first-time, only for Urzędowski to block a certain goal and a lunging challenge from Drobny saw the Dragoons get the danger away.
An Enforced Change
Following Nkola’s entry, the Dragoons returned to their full capacity and had their first shot in anger on 17 minutes. Good first time passing and moving saw Urzędowski find Samyonov and continue his run down the wing. Forabosco passed to the Polish full-back in space and Urzędowski immediately looped the ball to Latino in the box. The striker struck a first-time effort at goal, but couldn’t keep his attempt down and it flew over the bar.
Moments after, Prądniczanka went back on the attack. A long pass from right to left bounced off the turf past Urzędowski and found Krewniak in space. The winger raced into the Expats box, but a poor effort at goal dribbled wide.
The Dragoons Battle Back
Slowly, but surely, the Dragoons began to get a foothold as Prądniczanka held off on the high press. With the opponents sitting on the halfway line, the Expats defence had breathing space to travel out with the ball.
Into the 24th minute, Brian Lemmen broke down a visiting attack and the Expats pushed forward. A one-two between Chandran & Forabosco saw the Dragoons progress through the Prądniczanka half. Chandran found Samyonov free out on the wing and released a pass into the Israeli. A cross from Samyonov found Latino free in the box, and the Italian glanced a header that just went wide of the post.
From the resulting goal-kick, the Dragoons pressed high up the field to win the ball back. Quick passing football saw the Expats work a shooting chance for Forabosco, who saw his effort blocked.
The Dragoons started to exert control on the game, keeping possession well with good passing football. A foul on the edge of the box on the half hour mark gave Enrico Forabosco another shooting chance. The midfield magician shot directly at goal from the free-kick, however, Mielecki got two hands to punch the attempt away.
A minute later, another foul saw Forabosco whip a cross into the box. Prądniczanka could not clear the ball away and Chandran found Nkola 20 metres out. The Angolan showed great skill to get away from an opponent and sent a low shot curling at goal. The ball bounced awkwardly just in front of Mielecki, however, the visiting keeper kept the effort out with a fine fingertip save.
Ill discipline from the visitors saw the Dragoons given another free-kick 40 metres from goal with 32 minutes played. Forabosco sent the resulting set-piece towards the back post run of Josh Dawson and the Englishman managed to get his head to the ball, but sent it over the bar from a tight angle.
As the half wore on, the Dragoons dominance began to wane and misplaced passes saw Prądniczanka back in possession. A series of corners came into the Dragoons box, however, the defence stood tall to keep the ball away from the goal.
Dragoons Almost Caught Cold
Further sloppy passing by Calabrese saw the ball lost deep inside the Dragoons own half. Damian Adamczewski skipped down the wing and found Kopeć free in the box with a cross. The visitors failed to punish the error on this occasion, as Kopeć sent his header wide of the goal.
On 37 minutes, the Dragoons saw appeals for a penalty turned down. Forabosco showed good footwork to get into the corner of the area and put a pass across goal. The ball struck the backside of Latino in the 6 yard box and fell into the path of Nkola. The Dragoons substitute went to strike at goal, and an opponent’s attempt to block the shot left the Angolan in a heap on the floor. In spite of the Expats’ appeals, the referee remained unmoved and pointed for a goal kick.
Dragoons Level from the Spot
Three minutes later, Nkola found himself down in the box once again. The winger showed trickery in an attempt to beat an opponent and found his progress ended early by a trip. On this occasion, the referee blew straight away and pointed to the spot to award a penalty kick.
Penalties have not been the Dragoons strong point in more recent times, although this time around, Enrico Forabosco stepped up and made no mistake from the spot. The Italian drilled a low left-footed effort beyond Michał Mielecki to level the score at 1-1.
As the end of the half approached and with the Dragoons on the attack, Rohit Chandran had his ankles clipped as he looked to pick out a pass. Forabosco lined the free-kick up from 25 metres out, but got under the ball and lifted his attempt over the bar.
Dragoons Add a Second
Into first half stoppage time, the Dragoons grabbed a goal to go into the lead. Chandran stole the ball off the toes of an opponent and prodded a pass to Forabosco. The Italian shifted the ball to Nkola on the flank, who outrageously beat two opponents and attempted to nudge it past a third with the ball running loose inside the 6 yard box. Good battling from Yuri Samyonov saw the Israeli get a toe to the ball ahead of a defender and diverted it back into the path of Nkola. The Angolan made no mistake with his close range finish, smashing the ball into the net for 2-1.
The whistle blew immediately after with the Dragoons turning the game around in the last 5 minutes of the half.
Prądniczanka had scored early and gave the Dragoons no space to breathe in the first 20 minutes of the half. The visitors took their foot off the gas however, allowing the Dragoons to work the ball out from the back. Coupled with a lack of discipline by Prądniczanka, the Dragoons went on to dominate the remainder half and deservedly led at the break.
Despite being ahead at the break, Hugo Cruz made a double change for the second half. Alessio Sassini and Francesco Leuci came into the game with Szymon Urzędowski and Andrea Latino making way.
Here We Go Again: 2-2
With just a few seconds played in the half, the Dragoons gave away a free-kick on the edge of their own box. The referee produced a yellow card to Calabrese who handled the ball as he put in a sliding tackle to stop an attack entering into the box. The Expats vented their frustration at the decision as it looked like both Nkola and Drobny had been fouled in the build-up. Arek Klimczak stood over the ball from 20 metres out, curled a shot around the wall and into the net for the equaliser.
On 50 minutes, the Dragoons substitutes combined well to work a shooting chance. Leuci intercepted the ball just inside the Prądniczanka half and broke forward. The full-back cut inside off the wing and played a pass into the feet of Sassini. The Italian assassin took a touch on the turn, but blasted his shot over the crossbar.
Sassini found himself involved again five minutes later. Chandran got ahead of an opponent to win the ball midway through the Prądniczanka half. He found Lemmen in the centre of the park, who in turn picked out Samyonov on the right flank. The Dragoons winger crossed into the box to find Sassini, who whacked a volley over the bar.
Two minutes later, Prądniczanka won the ball high up the field and a pass found Bartek Krewniak in space on the left wing. Krewniak pulled the ball back to Klimczak just inside the Dragoons box, with the midfielder releasing it to Kopeć. A fierce shot came at goal from the edge of the area, however, the ball landed comfortably into the arms of Obyrtacz to save.
Dragoons Turn the Screw
Straight down the other end, a clipped pass found Sassini running the channel on the left side. The Italian crossed into a dangerous area and a defensive header landed at the feet of Forabosco. The Italian nodded it to Chandran just inside the box, who attempted an ambitious overhead kick, but failed to make a connection with the ball.
On 58 minutes, a quickly taken free-kick by Forabosco found Samyonov free on the right. The Israeli hung a cross into the six yard box, looking to pick out Sassini. The Italian managed to get his head to the ball, but could not guide it goalward.
Glorious Chance Goes Begging
With an hour played, the Dragoons wasted a glorious chance to retake the lead. A long punt forward by the Expats rolled tamely through to the advanced Mielecki 25 yards out of his goal. Flavio Nkola accelerated to close the keeper down and a poor touch allowed the Angolan to put a challenge in. The ball bobbled up off the pitch and landed perfectly in the path of Samyonov. Rather than take a touch, the forward elected to shoot first-time and sent the ball painstakingly wide of a completely open goal.
The Dragoons almost paid the price just a minute later as a long ball down the left found an opposition winger. A cross fell into the feet of substitute Jakub Spruch, who took a touch before taking a shot. The effort looked to be heading towards goal, only for Drobny to slide in and block it away for a corner.
A Huge Let Off…
Prądniczanka continued to come forward and should have gone ahead on 64 minutes. Vitalii Sydorenko left Drobny for dead, storming past the defender with pace to get into the left side of the penalty area. A cut back found Witold Dzięgiel free in the box, but the incoming shot from close range somehow went wide of the post.
With 70 minutes on the clock, nice combination play between Sassini and Nkola saw the Angolan shoot from range. The ball took the slightest of touches off a covering defender and swerved viciously through the air. Michał Mielecki flew to his right and managed to get his fingertips to send the shot narrowly wide of the goal.
Four minutes later, the same combination linked well again as Sassini found Nkola down the left wing. A defender blocked the initial attempt to cross and the ball dropped back to the feet of Nkola. The Angolan standing inside the 6 yard box attempted to lift the ball back to the waiting Sassini, however, Mielecki pushed the cross away.
Dragoons Go Close Again
In the 81st minute, the Dragoons missed another glorious chance to take the lead. Forabosco swung a corner into the area, which found the head of Sassini inside the 6 yard box. The striker seemed to jump above the ball, heading it down into the turf with the bounce taking it over the bar.
Moments after, a foul on Sassini gave the Dragoons a free-kick out wide. Substitute Ayoub Chardal swung the ball into the box, but the backpedalling Mielecki got two firm fists to punch the danger away.
Dragoons Error Prone
With 5 minutes left to play, a clumsy challenge on the corner of the box by Arshakian saw the Ukrainian booked. The following free-kick bounced horribly in front of Obyrtacz, who made an unorthodox stop with his knees. Arshakian came to the rescue to get to the ball first, right in front of goal and hooked it back over his own bar. The following corner landed on the head of Dzięgiel at the far post, but the visiting forward could not find the target.
As the game reached the final minute, Hugo Cruz removed Forabosco and Lemmen and introduced Błażej Święcicki and Tarek Boufaniza. A decision which would ultimately prove costly.
Prądniczanka Steal The Points
Święcicki’s first action of the game, saw the winger attempt to get to Arshakian’s poor pass and concede a foul. A quickly taken free-kick saw the ball at Boufaniza’s feet, however the midfielder failed to get the danger clear and gave away possession. As the visitors looked to break forward, Święcicki swiped the legs of an opponent to conceded a second foul.
Arek Klimczak swung the ball into the Dragoons box and Arshakian’s attempted clearance landed straight to Jakub Spruch. The Prądniczanka forward took a touch to set himself and hit a firm effort towards goal. The ball took the slightest of touches off of Arshakian and squirmed agonisingly out of the grasp of Obyrtacz to nestle into the back of the net. A heart-breaking moment for the Dragoons who had thrown the game away in the last minute.
The final whistle sounded shortly after as the Dragoons fell to a second consecutive defeat. The result sees the Expats fall two places in the league table into 8th position, only five points from the last relegation place.
Despite the defeat, the Dragoons played rather well for the majority of the game. Slow starts to both halves ended up being crucial to the end result.
For a second week in a row, the Expats started the game slowly and left themselves with a mountain to climb. The team find themselves on the back foot too often and need to find a way to start games better. Another issue the Dragoons have is playing the ball out from the back with teams pressing high. The Dragoons struggled to get the ball out of their own half in the first 20 minutes and need to find a way to work the ball faster from their own back line.
Eventually, Prądniczanka stopped pressing high and gave the defence more time to pick a pass. From that point onwards, the Dragoons managed to control the midfield and got the ball out wide in dangerous positions. It resulted in the Expats getting two goals back to lead the game.
In the second half, the Dragoons put themselves on the back foot straight from kick-off. Frustratingly, the Expats continued to play well and created good chances but could not find the net. The Dragoons concede easily and always have to work so hard to score themselves. It almost appears as if the Dragoons want to score the perfect goal!
As the game wore on the Dragoons became visibly tired in the driving rain. Prądniczanka’s changes saw them grab more of a foothold in midfield as the Expats became sloppy in possession.
The late substitutions for the Dragoons, gave the entering players no time to adjust to the game with the visitors beginning to exert the pressure. It is evidently a tough job to keep all the players happy, but for the sake of 3 minutes the Expats ended up paying the price.
A break from league action sees the Dragoons compete in their first group fixture of this season’s Fenix Trophy. French YouTube sensation Vinsky FC make the long journey to Krakow for their first ever game in the competition.
Vinsky FC were formed in 2017 by YouTuber and French football personality Vincent Maduro (aka Vinsky360). They have amassed a following of 307k followers on YouTube, where they bring the day to day goings on at a grassroots football club to life.
After starting life in Tier 14 and gaining 3 promotions, Vinsky currently ply their trade in the regionalised 11th tier of French football.
With 4 games played so far this season, Vinsky find themselves top of their league with 10 points. After winning the first 3 games, they drew 0-0 in their latest league fixture against Andresy FC.
Vinksy also competed in the regional preliminary rounds of the Coup de France exiting in the 3rd round with a 7-1 reverse against Paris 15 AC.
It would be awesome to see as many people as possible come along to cheer on the Dragoons who are looking for their first ever win in the competition.