The Dragoons penultimate game of the season saw the Expats fall to a lacklustre 2-0 defeat against Podgórze.
Line up changes saw Gabi Muñoz deputise in between the posts for Marcin Obyrtacz. Piotr Hajnrych came back into the team at left back with Josh Dawson moving to the right full back position. Enrico Forabosco’s absence saw Szymon Urzędowski move from right back to central midfield, with Rohit Chandran moving centrally into midfield too.
Joaquin Serrano came into to the first XI replacing Błażej Święcicki and Alessio Sassini returned from suspension with Mark Szczesnowicz dropping out of the side injured in the warm up. With neither Mark Szczesnowicz or Enrico Forabosco available, Josh Dawson captained the side for the first time.
The hosts started brightly attacking the Expats from the off. The Dragoons failed to clear the ball following an early corner and a dangerous cross just evaded an attacking foot.
Podgórze continued to apply pressure and a mistake at the back allowed the first shot on target after 6 minutes. Jakub Marczak looked to take advantage of the error, however, a poor connection with the ball saw his shot bobble through to Muñoz.
With 12 minutes played the Expats managed their first attempt at goal. Alessio Sassini did well to run onto a lost cause to keep the ball in play. The Italian cut back from the goal line and put a cross towards the back post. Szymon Urzędowski found himself unmarked and got a firm head to the ball, but could not find the target.
Down the other end of the pitch, the hosts managed another shot at goal. Marczak received a cut back on the edge of the box, but once again a tame effort went straight at Muñoz.
In the very next attack on 18 minutes, the hosts went into the lead. A ball beyond the defence saw a pass played to Yevhen Osula in the box. Osula took a touch to take Calabrese out of the game and punted the ball across goal, which Muñoz could not hold. The ball bounced straight into the path of the waiting Marczak, who rolled it into an empty net for 1-0.
Not long after the restart the Dragoons had the chance for an immediate riposte. Urzędowski won the ball high up the field and passed into Chandran on the edge of the box. Sassini peeled away and received a pass from the Indian by the six yard line. Instead of return passing the ball to the unmarked Chandran, Sassini looked to work a shooting chance. The Italian assassin hit a left footed effort from close range, however, a covering defender blocked the attempt.
The danger had not passed, as the ball fell to Urzędowski. Unfortunately, the Polish utilityman rushed his shot from 12 yards and blasted the ball into outer space.
With 31 minutes on the clock, the hosts almost ran through on goal. Former Dragoon Gonçalo Rodrigues fed a pass into Wojciech Ochałek, who spun away from Drobny towards the box. Thankfully, Simon Calabrese came steaming into a sliding tackle to take the ball off the toes of the Podgórze man. The home side appealed for a penalty kick, however, the referee showed no interest.
Two minutes later, the Dragoons went on the counter. Samyonov and Sassini interchanged passes and as the Israeli looked to work a shooting opportunity, a defender poked the ball away. It landed straight at the feet of Serrano, who arrowed a shot at goal but could not find the target.
A game devoid of quality saw the half peter out without either side creating many chances. The Dragoons could not get going, and repeatedly struggled to keep possession. Podgórze had not been much better, but had taken their chance when it had been presented to them.
An extremely slow start to the second half saw the Dragoons with the ball but do little with it. The first real half chance fell the way of the home side on 56 minutes. Ochałek did well to get away from a Dragoons challenge and worked the ball to Paweł Kwiecień in the box. Kwiecień found time to toe the ball at goal, but with no power on the shot, it rolled comfortably into Muñoz’s arms.
Following the shot, Kuba Drobny went down injured and the Dragoons changed things around with a triple substitution. Michael Lamb replaced the stricken Drobny, with Yuri Samyonov and Piotr Hajnrych also departing. Michał Nowak and the returning Barry Chowaniec came onto the field to try and change the Expats fortunes.
The Dragoons had an excellent opportunity to level the score on the hour mark. Nowak picked up the ball on the side line and threw it deep into the Podgórze box. Josh Dawson ran unmarked to meet it with his head, but spurned a golden opportunity over the bar from 6 yards.
Two minutes later, Podgórze had an equally good chance to double their lead. Rodrigues sent a curling corner into the box and found a team-mate unmarked. Like the Dragoons chance however, the header went flying over the target and the score remained 1-0 to the home side.
From the Dragoons goal kick, the visitors went on the offensive. Josh Dawson took possession of the ball and bulldozed his way through the middle of the park. He played the ball into the feet of Urzędowski who in turn found Chowaniec out wide. The Polish attacker pulled the ball back to Dawson on the edge of the box, however, the Englishman saw his low drive blocked away by a defender.
On 65 minutes, the Dragoons had another great chance to equal the score. The Spanish sensation Joaquin Serrano curled a corner into the box. Alessio Sassini lost his marker to get up highest, but the usual deadly Italian flicked his header wide of the goal.
Just as the Dragoons looked to be getting on top, they suffered yet another horrible injury. An innocuous collision in the centre of the field saw Podgórze Maksym Romanets crash into Josh Dawson. A horrible crunching sound could be heard as the Englishman went down clutching his wrist. With his arm obviously broken, the stand in skipper had to leave the pitch and go straight to hospital. Andrea Latino came onto the pitch to replace the unfortunate defender. We wish Josh a speedy recovery.
A free-kick just inside the Podgórze saw Calabrese hit the ball long into the box. With the wind assisting the kick, former Dragoon Paulo Fernandes had to backpedal and punch the ball away underneath his own crossbar.
Straight on the counter-attack smart reactions from Gabi Muñoz kept the Dragoons in the game. Ochałek did well once again down the left side and sent a low cross into the Expats box. Osula met the ball attempting a cheeky flick, however, Muñoz got down well to keep it out of goal, with the Expats clearing the danger away.
The ball came straight back towards the Expats goal but on this occasion Osula put a shot into the side netting.
On 79 minutes, a second yellow card for Osula saw the Podgórze attacker given his marching orders. A ball into the box saw Osula slide into Muñoz with his foot high and subsequently saw his game ended early as a consequence. The tackle left Muñoz visibly injured, but the custodian had to carry on.
Four minutes later, a corner kick almost saw Turkish delight for the Dragoons. Çolakoğlu swung a corner into the box and substitute Emre Bezirkan got to the ball first. The Expats forward nodded the ball into turf, but could only direct the ball straight at Fernandes, who gathered at the second attempt.
Dragoons Concede a Second
As the Dragoons pushed bodies forward in search of an equaliser, they left themselves open to the counter. With five minutes left to play, the Expats found themselves with a mountain to climb as Podgórze snatched a second goal. Once again Wojciech Ochałek came striding forward and picked out captain Michał Seweryn in space on the edge of the box. Seweryn saw his shot saved by Muñoz, however, the ball spilled out to Marczak. The forward worked the ball onto his right foot, and sent a low shot through Calabrese and into the net at the near post, for his and Podgórze’s second goal of the game.
The Expats had the last real chances of the game as Chandran blasted wide and Sassini saw a shot saved by Fernandes.
After five minutes of injury time, the referee blew his whistle to condemn the Dragoons ninth defeat of the season. In a flat performance, everything good the Dragoons had done on Tuesday night against Gajowianka Gaj went completely out of the window.
The Dragoons never really got going, struggled to keep the ball and never really threatened Fernandes in the home goal. In the second half the Dragoons improved on the ball, but failed to produce chances for top scorer Alessio Sassini. A frustrating performance, the Expats appeared to be already on the beach as Podgórze, inspired by Gonçalo Rodrigues took their chances well to win the game.
With injuries and unavailability hindering the Expats, their next fixture against champions elect Bieżanowianka could be a tough one. A last minute goal saw the league leaders win their 19th game of the season in a 2-1 victory over Wanda. With Borek’s surprising 3-4 reverse against Gajowianka, Bieżanowianka require just a point to clinch the league title.
Our next opponents have scored an incredible 110 goals and have conceded the fewest in the league with 29 being scored against them. With only four draws and two defeats all season, the depleted Dragoons will need to pull off the mother of all surprises to get anything out of the game.
In the previous fixture back in November, an early miss from Rohit Chandran would prove costly. The league leaders hit 3 first half goals, with Enrico Forabosco reducing the deficit with a cracking free-kick before half time. A good start to the second half saw Alessio Sassini grab his 8th goal of the season to bring the Expats back in the game. Two gifted goals in as many minutes restored the visitors advantage as they went 5-2 ahead. A penalty from Rob Ambrosie gave some respect to the score as the Expats went down 5-3.