A Point Earned
The Dragoons took the reasonably long journey to Krzęcin on Saturday afternoon, with Scott Halcrow taking charge following Ash Asani’s departure.
Following the Fenix Trophy defeat to Prague Raptors, the Expats made three changes to the side. Emre Çolakoğlu replaced Rob Smits in midfield and Yuri Samyonov started in attack with Alessandro Puerini dropping to the bench. The last change saw Simon Calabrese restored to the line up in the place of Kuba Drobny.
A Frustrating Start
An early chance came from the visitors from a very debatable free-kick conceded by Mark Szczesnowicz. The following shot at goal by Bartek Pasierbek took a ricochet off the Dragoons wall and cannoned off the bar. The rebound saw Arek Czwartek bring out a good save from Muñoz, however the offside flag had been raised.
The Expats began to settle into the contest and managed to register their first shots on goal early on. Firstly, Enrico Forabosco sent a volley from a clearance in the arms of Adrian Kisielewski. A moment later, Francesco Leuci attempted another shot from range, but Kisielewski saved comfortably once again.
With 10 minutes played, a through ball saw Josh Dawson manage to get a toe to the ball ahead of Czwartek. The Iskra man went down in a heap on the edge of the box and the referee blew his whistle for a foul. The decision meant that Dawson should receive a red card, but fortunately for the Englishman, only a yellow card came his way. The following free-kick went straight into the wall and Iskra attack petered out.
On 19 minutes, the Dragoons had a free-kick just outside of shooting range. Forabosco’s kick went through the box and Josh Dawson recycled possession back to Chowaniec. Barry played a quick give and go, before driving into the right side of the penalty area and pulling a ball across the box. The cross found Yuri Samyonov unmarked 8 metres from goal, but the Israeli could only shoot straight at Kisielewski to save.
The Hosts Lead
Iskra went straight down the other end with a lightning counter attack to take the lead. With the Dragoons light at the back, Iskra poured bodies forward. A pass down the right side saw the Dragoons defence breached. A cross into the box found Tomasz Ziarko race onto the ball ahead of the Expats defence, and he made no mistake in tucking it beyond Muñoz to score.
Dragoons Level The Score
The Dragoons managed to find an equaliser four minutes later with 24 minutes on the clock. Enrico Forabosco’s corner almost found Yuri Samyonov at the near post, with Iskra only half clearing the ball. Çolakoğlu gave the ball back to Forabosco, who sent a cross straight into the feet of Samyonov. The Expats attacker tried to drill the ball at goal, but a defender blocked it into the path of Chandran. The Indian whirlwind pulled the ball back to the waiting Josh Dawson, who stroked a shot past Kisielewski from 12 metres to bring the Dragoons level.
Just three minutes afterwards, Iskra went back into the lead. The Dragoons conceded a foul down by the right side of their own box. The following free-kick went arching towards the back post and Kamil Sekuła peeled away unmarked to firmly head past Muñoz and into the net.
Rather bizarrely, Simon Calabrese was booked in the aftermath for berating his own team-mates. Two minutes later, the referee produced another yellow card for the Expats’ Çolakoğlu. Strangely enough, the Turkish man-mountain had been fouled whilst he attempted to break out of midfield. The referee however, had seemingly seen something no one else had, much to the bemusement of poor Emre!
Good pressing for the Dragoons presented a great chance for Samyonov with 36 minutes on the clock. Chowaniec shinned a poor clearance to Forabosco, who cleverly released the Israeli in on goal. Samyonov looked in two minds whether to shoot or not and ended up hooking the ball beyond Chandran at the far post and out of play.
Moments after, Barry Chowaniec did well to keep a Dragoons corner in play. The speedster accelerated through the Iskra box and toed the ball to Nowak on the edge of the box. The Polish full-back struck firmly towards goal, but saw his shot fly wide of the target.
The officials became the centre of attention once again on 42 minutes. A poor goal kick by Iskra saw the ball land at the feet of the midfield magician Enrico Forabosco. The Italian set himself and made a delicious curling pass to send Samyonov through on goal. With just the keeper to beat, the Dragoons frontman took a touch and sent a neat finish into the net. The celebrations did not last long however as the flag on the side went up and the goal was cruelly cancelled out. Forabosco found himself the fourth Dragoons player to go into the book for his protestations.
Not long after, the half ended with the hosts leading 2-1. The Expats found themselves extremely frustrated with some of the decisions being made and needed the break to reset. Despite the decisions of the official, Iskra had taken their chances when presented to them in an even contest.
Five minutes into the second period the visitors had a good chance to extend their lead. A long ball from the left side saw the ball sail over Nowak’s head and into the path of an attacker. The Iskra man seemed to panic at the bounce of the ball and tamely headed straight into the grateful arms of Muñoz.
The hosts had started the half much better than the Dragoons and came close twice in succession. Iskra came forward and a firm shot from the edge of the box went straight at Muñoz to save. The Expats looked to be struggling to keep the ball and a through ball saw the hosts blast over the Dragoons bar.
A period of calm entered the proceedings as the Dragoons found their passing rhythm to dominate the ball.
Dragoons Up The Ante
It took until the 62nd minute for the next chance of the game to arrive. A delightful forward pass found Barry Chowaniec on the right wing. The Dragoons attacker turned on the afterburners to drive into the box and in on goal. Chowaniec cut inside a covering defender, but struggled to find power with his weaker left foot and Kisielewski saved with his legs.
The danger had not passed however, as the Dragoons regained possession and worked the ball to Çolakoğlu. The giant Turk let fly from the edge of the box, but Kisielewski showed good reactions to tip the attempt over the bar.
The Assassin Enters
Alessandro Puerini entered the game in the place of Yuri Samyonov in the 67th minute. Three minutes after his introduction, the Italian assassin almost grabbed an equaliser for the Expats. Puerini sprayed a nice pass over the Iskra backline for Chowaniec to run onto. The winger came forward and played an exquisite searching cross into the box. Puerini latched onto the ball, shooting first time but saw his effort thump back into play off the post.
What. A. Save.
With 10 minutes left to play, Gabi Muñoz pulled off an absolute wonder save to keep the Dragoons level. A ball into the box deflected off a Dragoons defender and looked to be arching into the goal. Muñoz had other ideas, however. The Chilean stopper launched himself to his right, outstretched his hand and incredibly managed to keep the ball out.
In the next phase of play, a terrible tackle from Maciej Zięcik saw the Iskra midfielder given a second yellow card. It could easily have been a straight red as the Iskra man scissor tackled Chowaniec from behind.
Following the red card, the Dragoons threw caution to the wind by withdrawing Mark Szczesnowicz and Simon Calabrese. Andrea Latino and Dragoons legend Dani Silva entered the fray as the Expats looked to send more attacking bodies into the game.
Last Minute Equaliser!
As the game entered it’s final minute, the Expats grabbed the goal they so desperately craved. Once again, Chowaniec did excellently well on the flank and got inside the Iskra box. He put a ball into the danger-zone where a number of Dragoons players waited. It landed at the feet of the Indian whirlwind, Rohit Chandran, who took a touch before lashing the ball into the net for 2-2.
The Dragoons continued to pour forward in the search of an unlikely winner. The side rushed the ball and lost their composure as the seconds passed by.
After four minutes of injury time, the referee blew the whistle to end an extremely frustrating game for the Dragoons.
Credit must go to the side for their second half performance. The Dragoons went into the break at boiling point and could easily have carried their frustration into the second period. The Expats struggled in the early stages of the second half, but soon got a grip of the game to get a deserved point.
The games are coming thick and fast as the Expats face Tramwaj next Tuesday. Despite being a home game, due to the Dragoons usual pitch being unavailable, the game will be played at Tramwaj’s home turf.
Last time the two sides met in the reverse fixture, two goals in a minute before half time put Tramwaj ahead. The Dragoons survived a number of scares in the second half as they struggled to find any momentum. A last minute goal from Michał Nowak proved to be just a consolation as the Dragoons lost the game 2-1.
Tramwaj are currently 3rd in the table and they will prove to be a tough test for the Dragoons who now remain unbeaten in four games.