A Draw To A Close
The Dragoons ended a long, hard-fought season with an entertaining 3-3 draw against Albertus Kraków this weekend.
In a fast paced start, the Dragoons had a great chance for the first goal in under 2 minutes. Mark Szczesnowicz played a delicious lofted through pass for Flavio Nkola to run through on goal. The wingman chipped the onrushing goalkeeper Filip Kowalski but the assistant referee flagged for offside against the Dragoons man.
A long throw from stand-in striker Michał Nowak caused a nuisance in the Albertus box in the 8th minute. The visitors managed to clear the ball back to Nowak and the subsequent cross was met by defender Alexey Zelenkin. The big Belorussian stabbed the ball towards goal, however Kowalski stuck out a leg to make the save.
Just a minute later, Rohit Chandran danced through the Albertus half and played the ball to Nowak. The Dragoons striker slotted a perfect through pass to Nkola, however Kowalski bravely dived at the feet of the attacker to deny a shot at goal.
In the 11th minute, Nowak won a free-kick just outside of the penalty area. Flavio Nkola stepped up and unleashed a beautiful effort that cannoned back off of the crossbar.
Despite dominating the ball, the Dragoons suffered a sucker-punch in the 22nd minute as they fell behind.
Bartłomiej Chowaniec obtained possession on the counter and broke through the Dragoons defence. The striker released fellow forward Szymon Urzędowski through on goal and he made no mistake in slotting the ball past Gabriel Muñoz in the Dragoons goal.
The Dragoons almost hit back instantly through Michał Nowak, however the striker failed to hit the target when well placed.
Nowak played provider moments later, as he released a great through ball for Nkola. The Angolan attacker rounded Kowalski and passed the ball into the net, only to be denied by a debatable offside call from the assistant referee for a second time.
Into the 30th minute and danger-man Nkola showed excellent acceleration to break into the box but the forward could not find a way past Kowalski. The visiting keeper had to be alert moments later and on this occasion palmed away a well struck effort to deny Mark Szczesnowicz.
Albertus left the Dragoons stunned in the 36th minute as they grabbed their second goal of the game. The home side gifted possession in their own half to the visitors and received the ultimate punishment. The dangerous Chowaniec took full advantage and again released Urzędowski on goal in the penalty area. The Albertus man showed great composure to cleverly dink the ball over the onrushing Muñoz to bring the score to 2-0.
Dragoons Strike Back
Not to be denied, the Dragoons hit back with a goal of their own in the 40th minute. Nowak held up the ball well and played a lovely pass in behind the Albertus defence. Nkola ran onto the ball, delicately cut onto his right foot and blasted the ball into the corner of the net past Kowalski.
The home side came tantalisingly close to an equaliser just before the half time whistle. A Nowak long-throw saw goal-scorer Nkola rise highest and send a thumping header against the underside of the bar. The striker could not get a touch on the bouncing ball to put the rebound into the net and proved to be the last chance of the half.
Straight into the second half a defensive error allowed midfield general Scott Halcrow a shot on goal that stung the palms of Albertus substitute goalkeeper Szymon Obyrtacz.
In the 52nd minute, Flavio Nkola drove through the heart of the Albertus midfield. The wingman unleashed a vicious shot towards goal that took a knick off of a defender for a corner.
Disaster struck in the 57th minute, as the referee gave a penalty kick to the visitors to offer them the chance to score their third goal. Dragoons centre-back Simon Calabrese misjudged the bounce of the ball and allowed Chowaniec to run through on goal. The defender looked to have recovered well and slid into the challenge on the edge of the box and appeared to get to the ball first.
Much to the ire of the Italian, the officials saw differently and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Amazingly, no card was issued to the centre-back despite being the last man, although the referee did caution Scott Halcrow for his protestations at the decision.
Wiktor Chudy stepped up to take the resulting spot-kick and slotted the ball past the despairing dive of Muñoz to make the score 3-1.
The Comeback is On!
The Dragoons hit back in the 62nd minute to reduce the deficit.
Mark Szczesnowicz drove forward with purpose through the midfield and found the feet of Nowak on the edge of the box. The striker turned expertly and hit a low, stinging drive straight down the throat of Obyrtacz. The visiting keeper spilled the ball straight into the path of Yuri Samyonov, who fired the rebound into net to bring the score to 3-2.
The goal rallied the home side, who continued to pour forward to grab an equaliser. Francesco Leuci sent a curling effort just over the bar and Rohit Chandran danced through the Albertus box and his cutback was deflected out of play.
Flying Finnegan to the Rescue!
In the 71st minute, the Dragoons grabbed a third goal to equal the scores to 3-3. Substitute Enrico Forabosco swung in a corner-kick left footed. Fellow sub Daniel Finnegan leapt highest and beautifully powered a headed effort into the top corner of the Albertus net.
Finnegan came close to notching a second goal in the 83rd minute. The Irishman again evaded the Albertus defence and met another Forabosco corner-kick. Unfortunately, the defender could not find the target on this occasion and the ball sailed just past the post.
The Dragoons began to throw caution to the wind and pushed forward in an attempt to grab a winner.
Good work from Vladimir Chumakov saw a threaded pass into the Albertus box for Nowak to chase. The striker stretched to make contact with the ball, but could not get a toe on it to divert it past Obyrtacz.
In the 86th minute, a wonderful pirouetting run from Ernesto Bumba Jr bamboozled the visiting defence. The substitute wide-man gyrated through the penalty area and found David Nicolas in-front of goal. The Frenchman snatched at the chance however, dragging the ball off target from close range.
Shortly afterwards, the referee’s whistle brought an end to proceedings with the score tied at 3-3.
The Expats could not find a win in the last game of the campaign and finish the league in 4th place. The Dragoons know they are capable of better and will be looking to mount a promotion charge next season.