Second bottom side WLKS Krakus Swoszowice travelled to Prądniczanka to take on the Dragoons on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon this past weekend.
Due to injuries and absences, Head Coach Ash Asani had to once again shuffle the pack. With Michał Nowak out injured, Josh Dawson shifted to left back with Simon Calabrese partnering Kuba Drobny at the back. Szymon Urzędowski came into the side at right back with Piotr Hajnrych dropping to the bench.
The only other change saw Barry Chowaniec miss the game with Martin Voženílek taking his place on the right wing. Alessandro Puerini had been an injury doubt, but declared himself fit and started centrally in attack.
A Quick Start
An electric start by the Dragoons yielded the games first goal in the very first minute. Martin Voženílek got down the byline and attempted to cut the ball back across goal. Krakus blocked the cross, but could clear only as far as Enrico Forabosco. The midfielder spied Puerini, Chandran and Dawson all in position at the far post and put a cross in their direction. The ball landed at Chandran’s feet and the Indian attacker took a touch and slotted the ball past Nikodem Capek for the opening goal.
It could have been two for the Dragoons with just 7 minutes played. Firstly, Puerini cleverly put Voženílek in behind the Krakus defence and saw his effort saved by Capek’s legs. Urzędowski got onto the loose ball and put a delicious cross into the box that found the head of Puerini. The Italian did not get enough on his header however, and the ball floated harmlessly into the goalkeeper’s arms.
Straight down the other end, the visitors went on the counter attack. A well-timed through ball saw Krakus’ Karol Wierzbicki in behind the Dragoons defence. Marcin Obyrtacz raced off his line to close the angle and forced the visiting attacker to play the ball back to Ernest Kaletka. Fortunately, Kaletka’s shot cleared the crossbar and the Dragoons breathed a sigh of relief.
Off The Post
Voženílek found himself with a great scoring chance after breaching the Krakus backline moments after. The attacker seemed in two minds whether to shoot or cross and eventually elected to shoot. From a tight angle, the Czech saw his shot spank the outside of the post and back off the keeper for a corner.
Poor defending down the other end gifted Krakus with a glorious chance on 12 minutes. A weak ball into the box saw no Dragoons man attempt to clear. The ball fell to Przemysław Gądek who saw his first time shot saved by the legs of Obyrtacz.
Krakus Level The Score
A minute later, Krakus grabbed an equaliser to level the game at 1-1. The Dragoons cleared a corner out of touch for a throw. Krakus caught the Dragoons napping with a quickly taken throw in and swung a cross towards the back post. Przemysław Gądek escaped the attentions of the Dragoons defence to meet the cross with his head and planted the ball into the net. The visitors had been knocking on the door and the Expats found their early lead wiped out.
In the 20th minute, the Dragoons injury woes continued after Hugo Cruz went down innocuously. The Dragoons utility man found himself on the edge of the Krakus box, when a touch from a defender opened up the Portuguese’s knee. Cruz writhed in agony and had to be helped off the field. After a history of knee problems stunting his promising football career, it sadly looks as if we may have seen the last of Hugo in a Dragoons jersey.
The Dragoons soldiered on with 10 men, which Krakus almost took advantage of. The visitors broke through the Dragoons defence and hung up a cross to the far post where Gądek and Kaletka lurked. Dawson came across to block Kaletka’s shot, however the ball looped straight to Gądek with Obyrtacz left in no man’s land. The Krakus goal scorer headed towards goal, however Kuba Drobny came to the Dragoons rescue and cleared the ball off the line.
Krakus regained possession after the Dragoons could clear their lines and continued to attack. Drobny once again came to the Dragoons rescue in painful fashion, however. The Expats centre back showed balls of steel as he took a firmly struck shot by Patryk Kiebuła straight into the nether region and deflected the ball behind for a corner.
With Krakus knocking on the Dragoons door, a swift counter from the Expats led to their second goal. Martin Voženílek got away down the right flank from a Chandran through ball and looked to put a cross into the danger zone. He saw his cut back handled by an opponent and the referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
The Italian Assassin, Alessandro Puerini put the ball on the spot to take the kick. The striker wasted no time in sending Capek the wrong way, passing the ball in the bottom corner for his 11th goal of the season.
Just after the goal, the Dragoons Israeli hero Yuri Samyonov took to the field to replace the injured Cruz. Samyonov had not previously kicked a ball in anger this season due to a long injury lay off.
Samyonov thought he’d made an instant impact with his first involvement in the game. A cross from Voženílek found Samyonov in space, right in front of goal. The forward took a touch and slotted the ball into the net, but a sharp blast from the referee ruled the goal out. The official adjudged that Samyonov had taken controlled the ball with his arm and therefore ruled the strike out.
On the half hour mark, the Dragoons had a great chance to further extend their lead. Neat football from the Expats saw Enrico Forabosco slide into the ball to release Puerini on goal. The striker lowered his shoulder to place the ball past Capek, but stroked his effort wide of the target.
Puerini came extremely close to his second goal just a minute later. The Dragoons talisman collected a ball to feet from Çolakoğlu. The Italian smartly shrugged off the attentions of a defender and spied Capek off his line. He launched an audacious chip at goal and saw the ball clear the goal by a matter of inches.
A corner kick provided Puerini with yet another chance moments after. Forabosco swung a corner into the box and Puerini met the ball with his head. Unfortunately, the striker failed to get a clean contact on his header and flashed the ball wide of goal.
Not long after, Krakus won a free-kick from 40 yard that resulted in Simon Calabrese being left in a heap in the aftermath. The referee produced a yellow card for a Krakus man for a high foot on the centre back’s shin as Adrian Łukaszewski placed the ball to shoot. The Krakus man blasted a long-range effort at goal that produced an easy catch for Obyrtacz in the Dragoons goal.
The visitors piled on the pressure in the last five minutes to try and find a second equaliser before the half time whistle. Statuesque defending from the Dragoons saw Gądek meet a cross into the the box with a volley. Once again fortune smiled on the Dragoons as the shot lacked the pace to seriously trouble Obyrtacz.
Glorious Chance Missed
Despite the visitors looking the more likely to score, the Dragoons came closest to grabbing a goal on the stroke of half time. The Krakus keeper attempted to smack the ball up field, but comically kicked it against his own defender. It fell kindly into the possession of Martin Voženílek who found himself in on goal. The Czech blasted a shot at goal, but Capek made amends and flung himself to his left to tip the ball back off the bar. It fell straight into the path of Puerini with an open goal gaping, but on this occasion, the usual deadly striker rushed his attempt to score and put the ball wide of the target.
The official brought an end to the half moments later with the Dragoons leading 2-1. It had not been a vintage performance, but the Dragoons held the lead. It had been quite an even half with both sides missing glorious chances to further increase the score.
Krakus came flying out of the blocks in the second half, going straight on the attack. A free-kick for the away side saw the ball swung towards the back post. Once again Gądek lost his marker, but this time directed a headed effort wide of the goal.
Dragoons Bang On The Door
Next up saw the Dragoons come close from a corner. Just like last week, Forabosco’s corner found the solid bald dome of Emre Çolakoğlu. The Turkish man mountain flicked the ball towards goal, however; this time the header dropped wide of the post.
A long ball from Forabosco saw Puerini break the offside trap and through on goal but at an angle. Nikodem Capek sped off his line to close the gap and forced the Italian to pull the trigger early. Capek did well to spread himself and diverted Puerini’s effort for a corner.
Josh Dawson met the following corner with his head, but saw his attempt deflect off a defender for a second corner, which came to nothing.
Puerini’s personal duel with Capek continued in the 54th minute. The attacker took control of the ball and launched a vicious shot towards the target. Capek showed good reflexes to get down to save the Italian’s goal bound effort.
Krakus failed to keep the ball and gifted it straight back to Voženílek, who sped down the right flank into space. The Czech sent a searching cross into the box to find Puerini, who showed expert movement to get to the ball first. The Dragoons top scorer lashed a beautifully hit volley that fizzed past Capek and into the back of the net for 3-1.
Straight after the goal, the Italian took the applause of the supporters as he departed the pitch in a precautionary move. Andrea Latino came onto the park looking to make a similar impact as he had done against Rybitwy last week.
Krakus came close to getting back into the game after an hour. A long ball caught Calabrese sitting deeper than the rest of the defence and the visitors broke down the left. Olaf Zdeb breezed into the Dragoons box by the goal line and passed into the six yard box. Calabrese made amends by getting to the ball ahead of an attacker and cleared it out of danger.
Enrico Forabosco looked to further extend the Dragoons lead in the 66th minute. The Dragoons creative heartbeat found the ball at his feet 25 metres from goal. The midfield magician hit a shot at goal with his trusty left foot, but saw his attempt fly agonisingly wide of the post.
A double change saw club legend Dani Silva and Francesco Leuci enter the game, with Simon Calabrese and Çolakoğlu making way. Josh Dawson moved into his usual centre back position as Leuci went to left back.
Spot Kick No 2!
With 73 minutes of the game gone, the Dragoons won a second penalty of the game. A low cross in the box from Voženílek, went through Latino and found Samyonov in space at the back post. Before the Israeli could tap the ball into the net, a defender hauled him back to concede a foul.
Enrico Forabosco drove a firm shot to his left, however, a flying dive from Capek saw the Krakus stopper keep the ball out of the net and deny the Dragoons a fourth goal.
With 79 minutes on the clock, Marcin Obyrtacz came to the Expats rescue. A Krakus through ball found Szymon Tylek through on goal. Obyrtacz rushed off his line and the visiting front man saw his shot saved by the legs of the Dragoons custodian.
A Glorious Chance
Down the other end, the Expats should have grabbed their fourth goal to put the game to bed. Great work by Urzędowski saw him break forward and release Martin Voženílek down the wing. The Czech accelerated past a tiring defence and picked out Rohit Chandran in the box with a cross. The Indian whirlwind looked up and saw Dani Silva in acres of space. Chandran’s pass bobbled towards the Dragoons legend, and he elected to shoot first time rather than take a touch. The ball ended up ballooning over the bar as a great chance went begging.
With 10 minutes of the match left to play, Krakus keeper Nikodem Capek appeared to have picked up an injury and had to be replaced.
Dragoons Bag A Fourth
Jeremiasz Rybiński came onto the field and in his first real action had to pick the ball out of his net. With the visitors wilting in the warm spring sun, the Dragoons continued to show energy to drive forward. Dawson got ahead of a challenge to pick out Rohit Chandran with a long pass onto the left flank. Chandran pirouetted his way into the Krakus box with gay abandon. The fleet-footed attacker ran through a sea of red shirts and laid the ball off to Enrico Forabosco in space in the box. The Italian, dropped a shoulder to dupe a defender before slotting a right, yes, right footed shot under the substitute keeper for 4-1.
Dani Silva came close to notching a fifth goal for the Dragoons with four minutes of the game to play. The Portuguese playmaker received a pass from Samyonov and found himself in space on the edge of the box. Silva took a touch to set himself and smashed a shot that whistled just past the post.
Visitors Grab A Consolation
As the game drew to a close, the visitors grabbed a late consolation to halve the Dragoons lead. A lovely through pass found Szymon Tylek, who accelerated in behind the Dragoons defence and get through on goal. On this occasion, the Krakus man bore down on goal and neatly passed the ball past Obyrtacz and into the net.
The visitors had another opportunity to get a further goal deep into injury time from a free-kick. Fortunately, the set piece landed straight into the grateful grasp of Obyrtacz.
Even deeper into injury time, the Dragoons saw a fifth goal rightfully ruled offside. A throw into the Krakus box caused havoc with the visitors unable to clear. Dani Silva showed nice feet to find Francesco Leuci in space just inside the corner of the box. The substitute full back curled an attempt at goal which Rybiński palmed straight to Samyonov, who tapped into an empty net. The goal did not count however, as the freshly shaven headed forward had been ahead of the Krakus defence and denied a goal on his first game of the season.
The game ended moments after as the Dragoons produced a strong second half performance to win their second consecutive game.
To Sum Up
After scoring so early, it looked like the game would only go one way. However, Krakus managed to get the ball into dangerous areas behind the Dragoons defence and hauled themselves back into the match. The Expats showed good chance creation, but will need to show a better killer instinct against the better sides. After the injury to Cruz, the Expats lost their defensive screen and could have easily gone into the half time break level. We can only hope the injury to Cruz is not too serious, although it did not look good at the time. We wish Hugo all the best!
The second half the Dragoons looked far superior and seemed to up their work rate. It was only after a plethora of substitutions did the shape go a little awry, however the side still looked threatening and should have scored more.
Following the victory, the Expats have moved to 8th position in the table and sit point above Gajowianka Gaj. However, Gaj do have a game in hand over the Expats, so could jump back up should they secure a win.
The Dragoons take to their travels to face off against Bratniak next week. Earlier in the season, the Dragoons raced into an early lead through Enrico Forabosco’s cross-shot bobbling into the net. Bratniak equalised immediately with a corner catching the Dragoons defence napping. The Expats fell further behind after a calamitous goalkeeping error gave the visitors an easy finish. Mistakes at the back formed a large part in Bratniak scoring a third, but on the stroke of half time Josh Dawson reduced the score to 3-2.
After the early second half introduction of Flavio Nkola and a positional shift the Dragoons got themselves back in the game through another substitute in Simon Calabrese. Barry Chowaniec scored a late winner for the Dragoons as they came from behind to win 4-3.
Bratniak did not play this past weekend and slipped down to 12th in the table. They currently have 12 points on the board after 16 games, with four victories and 12 defeats to their name. Despite their lowly position, the Dragoons will need to continue playing with confidence to maintain their winning run.