Shooters Shot Down
Following on from an impressive victory against Wanda last weekend, the Dragoons looked to win two games in a row for the first time this season as Strzelcy Kraków visited Prądniczanka.
Changes to the line-up saw Robert Ambrosie and Barry Chowaniec miss the game through injury. Brian Lemmen came into the central of defence to partner Simon Calabrese with Josh Dawson moving to left back. Michał Nowak shifted over to the right back berth to fill in for the Romanian.
Flavio Nkola returned to first team action to replace Chowaniec and a midfield shake up saw Rohit Chandran come into the team for Szymon Urzędowski.
A Quake To Start
Strzelcy had only scored five goals this season prior to the game. The opening minutes of the game showed why, as the visitors looked to camp in their own half.
A rapid start for the Dragoons saw the first opportunity arrive in only the 2nd minute. A cross from Flavio Nkola went over the head of Alessandro Puerini and into the path of Joaquin Serrano at the back post. The Spanish sensation looked unusually ungainly as he comically lost his footing and flopped onto the turf, causing a small seismic tremor.
With seven minutes of the game played, the Dragoons came close to an opening goal through Emre Çolakoğlu. A Michał Nowak long-throw into the box saw the ball cleared to the Turkish national. The midfielder unleashed a rasping first-time drive, but saw his effort sail wide of the target.
A minute later, Serrano showed quick feet to leave three opponents for dead. The Spaniard tried to find Puerini in the box, but a defender cut out the cross.
The Dragoons continued to press and Serrano and Puerini combined once again. On this occasion, the Spaniard read the Italian’s run and picked him out with a through-pass. Puerini shot first-time, but saw an outstretched hand from Rafał Juszczyk push the ball into the side netting.
Enrico Forabosco sent a curling ball into the box and found the head of Puerini in the six-yard box. The striker sent a firm headed effort towards goal, but this time the crossbar came to the visitors rescue.
In the 10th minute, Puerini laid the ball into the path of Rohit Chandran in the Strzelcy box. The mercurial attacker took a touch to round an opponent but an outstretched foot tripped him to the ground. The referee pointed to the spot to give the Dragoons a penalty and the chance to take the lead.
Penalties have been a huge problem for the Dragoons this season. Enrico Forabosco is the only Expat player to convert in the league and he stepped up to take the kick for a second time this season. The midfield magician continued his 100% streak from 11 metres, calmly passing the ball into the corner of the net. A deserved opener and a fourth goal of the season for the Italian playmaker.
Another Dragoons Spot-Kick!!!
Just four minutes later, the referee again pointed to the spot for a second Dragoons penalty. Forabosco found Puerini in the box, with the attacker taking a touch before finding his progress halted by a foul.
Puerini dusted himself down to take the spot-kick himself, hitting a firm effort towards the bottom corner. This time however, Juszczyk guessed correctly, diving to his left to get a firm hand and keep the ball out. Death, Taxes and the Dragoons missing penalties – three things guaranteed in life!
The following corner came into the box and Dawson leapt highest, but flicked the ball wide of the goal.
Dragoons Double their Lead
Despite the penalty miss, it did not take long for a second goal to arrive in the 19th minute. Forabosco, deep in midfield, cut out a Strzelcy pass and expertly picked out the run of Nkola down the left.
With the freedom of the flank ahead of him, the Angolan accelerated towards goal. He struck a left footed shot from an angle that Juszczyk parried straight into the path of Puerini. The Italian took a touch to steady himself, before calmly passing into an unguarded net for 2-0.
The Dragoons continued to press forward for more goals against their bewildered opponents. A neat passing move saw Lemmen spray the ball out wide to Nowak. The full-back put a lovely forward pass to pick out the run of Chandran, who cut the ball back to find Forabosco unmarked on the edge of the box. The Italian took a shot on the spin, but could not keep his effort down.
Chandran remained at the heart of the action for the Dragoons creating their next chance in the 25th minute. Lemmen played a forward ball into the feet of Nkola. The Angolan struggled to get the ball under control and it bobbled into the path of the Indian. The fleet-footed attacker played a lovely through-ball to find Dawson, but a defender touched the ball leaving the Englishman to kick thin air.
Moments after, high-pressing by the Dragoons saw Strzelcy gift the Expats possession on the edge of their own box. Nowak crossed and picked out the unmarked Nkola. The speedster attempted a spectacular scissors volley, but saw Juszczyk produce a flying save to keep the shot out.
With the Dragoons caught out of position, Strzelcy broke forward in their first real attack of the game. The visitors worked the ball to their right flank and crossed into the box. Good covering by Lemmen saw the attack break down, with a visiting forward putting the ball out of play.
Puerini looked hungry for another goal with half hour of the game played. Forabosco intercepted a poor pass, high in the Strzelcy half and played the ball to his fellow Italian. Puerini turned and drove a firm effort at goal, but straight down the throat of Juszczyk to save.
Chances continued to come for the Expats, who looked much the better side. A Forabosco corner saw Puerini get in front of Dawson to get his head to the ball. The striker could not get any power behind the effort however, and the ball fell kindly into Juszczyk’s grasp.
A delightful sprayed pass by Forabosco landed directly to the feet of Serrano out wide on the right. The Spanish sensation touched the ball past a defender, who clipped the winger’s shin just outside the box. Serrano, off balance felt his hamstring pull and collapsed in agony onto the turf. It would end up being the last action for the Dragoons man who had to be helped off the pitch. We wish Joaquin a speedy recovery!
Play resumed with Forabosco set to take the free-kick. The Italian curled the ball at goal and Juszczyk had to show a strong hand to tip the shot over the bar. The following corner saw the ball arrive perfectly for Dawson at the far post. The Englishman had his head in hands as Juszczyk pulled off a point blank save to deny a certain goal. The ball bobbled back out to fellow centre-back Calabrese, but the Italian could only blaze over the bar from a tight angle.
Following the injury to Serrano, Martin Voženílek came off the bench for his first appearance of the season.
The Czech winger had been on the pitch a matter of seconds, when he scored with his first touch. Nkola played a neat one-two with Puerini, with the Angolan passing the ball to Dawson. The versatile defender sent an arching cross into the box, which just evaded Puerini but found Voženílek lurking at the far post. The attacker kicked the ball into the floor and beyond Juszczyk to net his first Dragoons goal. A series of first’s well completed by the Czech.
The Dragoons continued to dominate the remaining five minutes of the half. Strzelcy created a half chance on the counter-attack, however Calabrese cleared away the danger.
A good half dominated by the Expats came to a close shortly after. The Dragoons had played some neat interchanges and had their opponents’ chasing shadows.
The Dragoons started the half rapidly and went straight for the jugular. An under hit pass gifted Voženílek possession, with the wide-man playing the ball to Puerini. The Italian crossed into the box, with the ball just evading Voženílek’s boot. Strzelcy failed to clear properly and the ball came back out to Puerini, who sent a beautiful curling attempt marginally wide of the goal.
A fourth goal arrived for the Expats in the very next attack. Juszczyk booted the goal-kick long and Strzelcy gifted possession back to the Expats. Calabrese played the ball to Forabosco who ambled forward. The midfielder’s pass forward should have been cut out by a defender, who missed the ball completely.
The ever-alert Puerini raced onto the ball and evaded the onrushing Juszczyk, however his touch took him slightly wide of goal. The Italian attempted a shot that caught a defender off balance on the line, with the Strzelcy man getting the slightest touch to keep the ball out of the net. Voženílek however, showed a killer instinct to nip in past a statuesque defence to score his second goal of the game.
In spite of their comfortable four goal margin, the Dragoons continued to come forward for more. Another poor clearance by the visitors fell to Forabosco, 20 metres from goal. The Italian took a touch to set himself, before driving a shot straight at the busy Juszczyk in the Strzelcy goal.
More and more chances fell to the Dragoons as Puerini saw a shot saved. Dawson headed a corner wide and after Voženílek crossed towards Puerini inside the six-yard box. Only a combination of a defender and Juszczyk kept the Italian from notching another goal, however! Puerini had a further chance to score his fifth goal in two games, but he could only strike a tame effort straight at the keeper.
Strzelcy created their first real chance of note in the game with an hour played. Erick Torres had time to run across the edge of the box, but he could not trouble the target with his shot.
Immediately after, the Dragoons went on the attack and should have scored their fifth. Forabosco picked out the excellently timed run of Voženílek down the right. The Czech crossed into the box with Juszczyk spilling the ball into the path of Puerini. The Italian blasted his effort first-time but could only find the side-netting. It looked all the way a goal from the fan’s view in the stand, who comically celebrated before realising what had happened!
It was beginning to look like one of those days for the Italian powerhouse. However, on the hour mark, Puerini grabbed the goal his play deserved.
Forabosco fizzed a deep free-kick into the path of the forward who held the ball well. Puerini laid a pass off to Voženílek who in turn found the determined run of Nowak from right-back. Nowak put the ball on a plate for Puerini, who buried it into the goal at the second attempt.
Shortly after the goal, a touch by Torres lead to a lovely pass and move to create a chance for the visiting forward. The Colombian raced onto the return ball, but lacked power with his effort making an easy save for Obyrtacz. The Dragoons keeper had been a mere spectator for much of the match so far.
Less than a minute later, the Expats went back on the attack. Nowak threw the ball beyond the Strzelcy backline into Puerini. The striker took a touch over the head of a defender, before seeing his delicate chip float over the stranded goalkeeper’s head but bounce back off the top of the crossbar.
Controversy is never far away in Dragoons games. A headed ball forward towards an offside Torres, saw Krzysztof Konieczny sprint through on goal. Torres had blocked off Brian Lemmen, who subsequently chased down the Strzelcy forward and wiped him out on the edge of the box. The referee produced a straight red card leading to protests from the Dutch defender.
Stand in captain Forabosco dashed across to the linesman to discuss the matter and came across to convince the referee to talk to the man on the sideline. After a brief period of deliberation between the officials, the referee overturned his decision and Lemmen remained on the field.
Strzelcy Pull One Back
Within two minutes of the decision, Strzelcy grabbed a goal back after a Calabrese foul out wide. The Dragoons made the cardinal sin of making a substitution before the kick could be taken. Puerini, Nowak and Forabosco all made way for Andrea Latino, Jordi Badolato and Szymon Urzędowski. Torres swung the subsequent set-piece into the box and Karol Czajkowski nipped in ahead of the napping defence and neatly dispatched the ball past Obyrtacz for 5-1.
Still the Dragoons continued to create chances to extend their lead however. Latino ran onto a Nkola corner, but saw his unorthodox effort go wide.
The Expats changes saw the side struggle to keep their tempo going, which encouraged the visitors to push forward. One such attack saw Çolakoğlu expertly dispossess Torres to start a counter. The Turkish man-mountain played the ball to Chandran, who in turn slid Voženílek through to stretch his legs. With the offside trap broken the Czech sprinted through on goal. It should have been a hat-trick for the winger, who lacked conviction with his finish allowing Juszczyk to save.
Further changes for the Expats saw the experienced heads of Alexey Zelenkin and David Nicolas enter the pitch. Simon Calabrese and the excellent Çolakoğlu made way as the Dragoons looked to see the game out.
The last ten minutes petered out with Strzelcy having their best period of the game. Despite the visitors seeing more of the ball, the Dragoons came closest to scoring the next goal.
A long punt forward by Badolato set Voženílek sprinting up the right wing. The winger saw his cross divert straight into the path of Urzędowski, 11 metres from goal. The substitute shot straight at Juszczyk, who could only palm the ball to Nkola. With the goal at his mercy, the Angolan took the ball down on his chest, before smashing it into a galaxy far, far away from here.
It proved to be the last chance of the game with the Dragoons comprehensive victors. A professional performance saw the Dragoons secure their third win of the season so far.
The Expats looked head and shoulders the better side in all departments and controlled the game well up until the second half substitutions. Good possession based pass and move football saw the Dragoons open up their counterpart’s defence time and time again. Despite missing a hatful of chances, the Expats put their opponents to the sword when needed.
Despite the win, the Dragoons remain in ninth place and have closed the gap on the teams above them, currently sitting three points off of fifth placed Wanda Kraków.
Things are looking much brighter for the Expats who face Gajowianka Gaj next week. Gajowianka are currently in sixth place with 16 points and the Dragoons will leapfrog their opponents should they be victorious.
Formed in 1958, Gajowianka have spent most of the past 10 years at A Klasa level. They managed to escape relegation by two points last season, but are faring much better this term.
Gajowianka have picked up five victories, drawn once and have lost three times so far this season. A 1-5 home reverse saw them easily defeated by Wanda Kraków this past weekend – a team the Dragoons thrashed not so long ago!
The fixture will see the return of former Dragoons original Alessandro Soso, who currently plys his trade with Gajowianka. The Italian is a long-term friend having played for the club in the Kraków Sunday league and pulled on the blue jersey four times in the Dragoons’ inaugural season at B Klasa in 2019/20.