Expats Caught Cold
The Dragoons final game before the winter break saw Bieżanowianka travel to visit Prądniczanka in freezing conditions.
Marcin Obyrtacz returned in between the posts replacing Gabi Muñoz. The Dragoons kept to their 3-5-2 formation with Josh Dawson and Alexey Zelenkin joining Simon Calabrese at the back, replacing Kuba Drobny and David Nicolas.
The Dragoons started with fire in their bellies against a side that topped the table.
With three minutes on the clock, the Dragoons should have taken the lead. A lovely hooked pass from Enrico Forabosco allowed Flavio Nkola to sprint down the right flank. The Angolan crossed into the box, which saw a defender slice his clearance.
Alessandro Puerini looked to tuck the ball into the net, only for the same defender to excellently deny a shot. The ball came straight to Chandran, who had all the goal to aim for, but leaned back too far and somehow smashed a shot over the bar from inside the six yard box.
In the very next attack, Bieżanowianka scored the first goal of the game. Josh Dawson laid a pass into Rohit Chandran. The Indian appeared to be fouled as he looked to move the ball, but play continued and Dawson conceded a foul on the edge of his own box.
Piotr Więckowski curled the ball at goal and saw his effort thump off the crossbar and back into the Dragoons box. The rebound from Konrad Łęcki saw Obyrtacz spring to his left to in the attempt to keep the effort out, however the quick thinking Sebastian Kowalski pounced to tuck the ball into an empty net. The Dragoons protested at the decision believing Kowalski to be offside, however the officials judged that Łęcki’s original effort had crossed the line.
Straight from kick-off the Dragoons went forward and could have grabbed an instant equaliser. Dawson laid a forward pass into Puerini, who turned and thread a through pass to Forabosco. The midfield magician ran through on goal, but attempted a quick shot against the onrushing Kamil Stochel and the ball bobbled past the post.
Down the other end Bieżanowianka came forward and won a corner after a Calabrese intervention. The ball came to the near post and a shot came close to adding a second.
Dragoons Fall Further Behind
Straight from the goal-kick, a poor pass had Dawson running back towards his own goal. The defender attempted to pass the out on the edge of his box but saw the ball deflect of an attacker straight to Kowalski.
Obyrtacz in advanced position, struck out an arm to save the shot, however it looped up off of him and bounced into the net for Bieżanowianka’s second goal. The Dragoons had it all to do as two big missed chances and poor defending had cost them dear.
The Expats looked to get back into the game and Chandran won a free-kick down the left side. Forabosco whipped the ball into the box and a Bieżanowianka defender cleared over his own bar. The visitors cleared away the corner and instantly cut the Dragoons in half on the counter. A long range drive came flying at the Dragoons goal and missed the target by a matter of inches.
Expats Toil in Front of Goal
The Expats continued to look for a goal back and Robert Ambrosie played a neat pass to pick out the run of Puerini. The Italian found Forabosco on the edge of the box, but the shot went high and cleared the goal.
Straight after, the same combination of Ambrosie and Puerini linked up again. The Romanian wing-back put a lovely pass to allow Puerini a run into the box. The striker struck a firm first time shot from an angle, but saw the effort fly over the bar.
In the 21st minute, the Dragoons came even closer to pulling a goal back. A pass forward saw a defender get an interception ahead of Puerini. The loose ball bounced to Çolakoğlu who laid a forward pass into the path of Nkola. The Angolan strode forward and whacked a left footed drive just past the post.
3-0 to the Visitors
Ten minutes later and Bieżanowianka grabbed a third goal of the game. A corner towards the near post created havoc in the Dragoons rear-guard. The ball went through the six yard box untouched and hit Dawson on the line. Once again, statuesque defending cost the Expats as Tomasz Krzywda got to the ball quickest to force over the line.
With 33 minutes played, the Dragoons hauled themselves back into the game with a goal of their own. Flavio Nkola went down under a challenge 25 metres from goal, well within the shooting range of Enrico Forabosco. The Italian stepped up and hit an absolutely unstoppable curling effort straight into the top corner to bring the score to 3-1.
The goal seemed to invigorate the Dragoons who drove forward looking for a second one. They came perilously close to reducing the score twice in quick succession.
Firstly, nice passing football saw Emre Çolakoğlu try a shot from range. The swerving ball forced the visiting custodian Stochel to palm over the target.
The following corner saw Josh Dawson run from deep to head the ball down into the frozen turf. Sadly, the opportunity went begging as the Englishman saw his effort bounce wide of the goal.
Marcin Obyrtacz came to the Dragoons rescue on two occasions to save his side from going further behind. A firm hand tipped a shot wide of the target and poor play saw the keeper comfortably save 21’s effort from range.
Half time came shortly after with the league leaders punishing the error prone Dragoons. The well drilled visitors had been first to every second ball and took their chances when presented to them.
Whatever Ashvin Asani said at half-time, it must have worked. The Dragoons came out flying out of the blocks and Asani’s charges scored a second goal moments after kick off.
Back In the Game
A beautiful through pass from Forabosco, split the visitors defence and found the run of Ambrosie at the corner of the box. The Romanian drilled a low cross that a defender partially cleared but only as far as Çolakoğlu. The Turk played a nice pass back to Ambrosie, who kicked the ball off of a defender to win a corner.
Forabosco sent a firm cross into the six yard box. Alessandro Puerini got ahead of his marker to stoop and slam a header into the net for his eighth goal in a Dragoons jersey.
The Expats continued to press and search for an equaliser. Another Forabosco free-kick arrowed to the far post and a defender headed towards his own goal. A Bieżanowianka headed away in the six yard box but Nkola recycled possession and played a pass back to Chandran. A cross came into the box and Simon Calabrese leaped highest and his header hit the hand and went out for a corner. Forabosco swung the ball in but nothing came of the set-piece.
The Dragoons came close again after 50 minutes of the game played. A speculative long pass from Calabrese saw Puerini escape the attentions of the Bieżanowianka defence. The Italian assassin tried to lob the onrushing Stochel, however the custodian managed to get back to deny a potential tap in at the back post for Forabosco.
Four minutes later, Bieżanowianka re-established their two goal lead with their first real attack of the half. A speculative shot from Paweł Sikora looked like a routine save for Obyrtacz. The Dragoons custodian could not keep hold of the ball however and Kowalski ran in unopposed to tap in the rebound. An absolute kick in the teeth of the Dragoons, who had been looking the more likely to score.
Barry Chownaniec entered the pitch for Szymon Urzedowski on the hour mark. An attacking change the Dragoons hoped would assist them in getting back into the game.
Disaster Strikes… Again
Any chance of getting back ended just two minutes later however as another howler cost the Expats dearly. Alexey Zelenkin played himself into trouble and it resulted with the Belarusian chopping down an attacker to concede a penalty.
Dariusz Kuźma took the spot kick and sent the ball straight down the middle to give Bieżanowianka a flattering 5-2 lead. The Expats had been the better side in the second half, but two mistakes had once again cost them dear.
The Dragoons continued to knock the ball around the pitch, but found it difficult to keep possession in the Bieżanowianka half.
A free-kick gave Enrico Forabosco a chance to shoot from range. On this occasion, however he sent Stochel scrambling across his goal, but the ball went wide.
Bieżanowianka continued to press the Dragoons and create chances for themselves. Martin Obyrtacz kept the visitors at bay, making a low save to his right.
With twenty minutes left of the game, the Dragoons won a penalty through Ambrosie. The wing-back raced onto a lovely pass from Nkola and a lunging challenge took Ambrosie off his feet.
The Dragoons and penalties has not been the best mix this season. Ambrosie dusted himself down to take his first spot-kick this season. He stepped up and calmly stroked an effort into the bottom corner to give the Expats hope of an unlikely comeback.
Despite the goal, the visitors attacked once again just after the penalty. A shot from range deflected off a Dragoons man and bounced away off the post.
Rohit Chandran sent a shot wide of the target as an entertaining end to end game petered out.
There was excitement in the 78th minute as a melee resulted in the Bieżanowianka coach, Piotr Fima being sent off and forced to watch the remainder of the game from the stands.
Chances came for both teams with Bieżanowianka hitting the post for a second time. Barry Chowaniec had a great chance in injury time, but sent a header when unmarked at the back post.
The visitors claimed the points to clinch a 5-3 victory and remain in top spot as the winter break comes into force. Dragoons have stood toe to toe with each opponent so far this season, however the big difference has been mistakes have been ruthlessly punished.
Bieżanowianka’s pressing game caught the Expats cold at times and in attack managed to get space to shoot from range as well as create overloads – especially in the first half. It certainly was not a poor performance from the Dragoons, who created plenty of chances themselves – but goals win games and the visitors made no mistakes with their opportunities.
The Expats end the first part of the season in ninth place and had it not been for the five draws, it could have been higher.
Regardless, it has been a good learning curve for the side, who will no doubt come out fighting in the second half of the season.
We will keep you updated with any developments and will see you all soon!