Dragoons Cruise to Victory
The Dragoons took on Opatkowianka Kraków on Sunday, the first home league fixture after the winter break. Another cold day saw the fans wrap up warm to watch the side attempt to increase the impressive 13 game winning run.
Changes to the line-up, saw Gonçalo Rodrigues, Emre Çolakoğlu and Brian Lemmen start, replacing Mark Szczesnowicz, Rob Smits and Simon Calabrese.
A quick start to the game saw a couple of chances come the way of the Expats early on. Enrico Forabosco hit a sweet volley straight at visiting goalkeeper Karol Darłak, who saved comfortably.
The second chance saw a lovely one-two between Emre Çolakoğlu and Jamie Beattie, putting the Turkish midfielder through on goal. Çolakoğlu hit a low effort at goal, however Darłak saved and grabbed the ball at the second attempt.
Opatkowianka had their first sight of goal in the 9th minute. Dawid Starowicz tried a spectacular shot from range, but his effort went miles over the bar.
Into the 11th minute, the Dragoons opened the scoring. A lovely pass from Rohit Chandran released Michał Nowak on the right flank. Nowak put a teasing ball into the box, but a defender put it out for a corner. The following set-piece from Enrico Forabosco, saw Josh Dawson find space to firmly head the ball at goal. The effort proved two strong for Darłak to handle, with the goalkeeper palming the ball onto the bar, bouncing back off the custodian and into the net.
It ought to have been 2-0 just a minute later. Rohit Chandran wriggled into the box and found Çolakoğlu inside the six-metre box. The ball bobbled up just as the midfielder went to tap home and he ended up missing an absolute sitter, somehow shinning the ball away from the target.
A quarter of an hour in, an Opatkowianka effort from the edge of the box sent Biddlecombe scrambling back to his goal. The custodian was not duly troubled however, as the ball landed on top of his net.
Minutes later, Dawson again won the ball from a corner. On this occasion however, his firm effort was blocked away for another corner kick. Dawson tried to make the most of the following ball into the box, but could not make enough connection.
In the 23rd minute, Opatkowianka caught the Dragoons defence napping and got themselves on level terms. A whipped cross bounced through the Expats area with Michał Nowak not clearing his lines and leaving the ball. Patryk Toczek nipped in to punish the error, tucking the ball past Biddlecombe to bring the score to 1-1.
Following the goal, the Dragoons toiled and struggled to gain any sort of momentum against a stubborn Opatkowianka side.
In the 33rd minute, the Expats saw the assistant referee’s flag deny them a second goal. Another corner ball into the box, saw both Karol Darłak and Josh Dawson challenge aerially, with neither making a firm connection. Rohit Chandran pounced to smash the ball into the net, however the referee adjudged Dawson to have fouled the Keeper in the build-up.
Four minutes later however, the Dragoons finally made a breakthrough to put themselves ahead.
A neat attacking move saw Nowak make amends for his earlier error by slotting a perfect pass for Forabosco. The midfield magician took the pass into his stride, entering the penalty box alone and calmy passing the ball beyond Darłak for 2-1.
Five minutes before half time, Çolakoğlu looked to extend the Dragoons lead. The midfield man hit a powerful effort from the edge of the box, only to be denied by an excellent block by a defender.
In the 43rd minute, a wayward pass from Brian Lemmen inadvertently gave Opatkowianka possession in a dangerous position. The Dutch defender reacted quickly to the error and managed to get across to charge down Marcin Dulemba’s shot, diverting the ball away for a corner.
An incisive breakaway from the following corner saw the Dragoons increase the score to 3-1. A long pass forward found Chandran in acres of space in his own half. The attacker drove forward in to a near empty Opatkowianka half with purpose. Piotr Hajnrych accelerated forward from left back and received a pass to put him through on goal. The fullback attempted to dink the ball over Darłak, however a recovering defender diverted the ball into the path of Chandran. The Indian made no mistake in passing the ball into an unguarded net to score his fourth goal in two games.
Shortly afterwards, the referee blew the whistle to bring the first half to a close. Despite their lead, the Dragoons had been nowhere near their best in possession and needed to go back to the basics.
The first chance of the second half fell to Opatkowianka. A free-kick into the box fell to goal scorer Patryk Toczek, who sent an unorthodox looking volley towards goal. The ball inconspicuously looped through the air and landed on the top of the crossbar and back into play, with the Dragoons clearing away the danger.
Dawson at the Double
In their first real attack of the second half, the Expats grabbed a fourth goal. Michał Nowak launched a trademark throw into the box, which Jamie Beattie flicked goalwards. Josh Dawson swooped in ahead of Darłak and got the slightest of touches to divert the ball into the net.
A flurry of substitutions saw Beattie leave the field for Yuri Samyonov, with Scott Halcrow and David Nicolas later taking to the pitch to replace Rodrigues and Çolakoğlu.
A Fifth Follows
Halcrow made an immediate impact, playing a neat exchange with Forabosco. The Italian played a lovely forward pass to find the run of Yuri Samyonov on the shoulder of the last defender. The Israeli sprinted past his man and took one touch, before incisively firing past Darłak for the Dragoons fifth goal in the 65th minute.
A minute later, Samyonov again stretched the defence and put a ball across the box intended for Chandran. A defender just managed to get a touch to deny Chandran a second tap in of the game.
In the 71st minute, Joaquin Serrano put a ball into the box giving Halcrow a chance to head at goal. The midfield general failed to take the chance however, clearing the ball back to Serrano out wide.
Moments after, fellow substitute David Nicolas attempted an effort on goal. The veteran sent a firm effort from the edge of the box, straight into the arms of the grateful Darłak.
A sixth goal for the Dragoons followed in the 77th minute. A delicious corner from Forabosco, found the head of that man Josh Dawson, who powered home to complete an unlikely hat-trick. Having scored twice already, centre-back Dawson should have been earmarked as danger-man from set pieces. However, Opatkowianka did not heed the threat and allowed the Englishman all the time in the box score his sixth Dragoons goal.
Opatkowianka did not give up, however. A free-kick into the box, again caused problems for the Dragoons backline, but no player could touch the ball goalwards.
In the 81st minute, the Dragoons added their 7th goal of the encounter. A mazy run by substitute wideman, Błażej Święcicki saw the Pole gallop like a gazelle into the box with gay abandon. Święcicki cut inside and attempted an unconventional shot, which Darłak blocked. Yuri Samyonov, the usual fox in the box, took advantage of the loose ball and rolled it into the empty goal.
Late substitute Dani Silva, looked to add an eighth goal with five minutes left to play. On this occasion Darłak plucked Silva’s fierce effort out of the air with a fine catch.
A flurry of chances fell to Opatkowianka as they attempted to reduce the deficit late on. The best of the chances fell to goalscorer Toczek, who fired wide when well placed. A second opportunity came soon after and the wideman found himself in acres of space beyond the Dragoons backline.
Toczek looked to chip the ball over the onrushing Biddlecombe, but the Expats custodian stood tall and palmed the effort into the air and collected at the second attempt.
Soon after, the referee ended the game with the Dragoons winning their 14th straight fixture in Klasa B.
Whilst the Dragoons put Opatkowianka to the sword, the comfortable scoreline overshadowed a poor first half performance. The Expats barely broke out of first gear and will need to play much better in their next game away to Victoria.
Always a physical battle, Victoria are currently 5th in the table after defeating 3rd place Pychowianka 4-1 this weekend. On their last encounter, the Dragoons triumphed over Victoria with a 5-1 win at home.