Victory At Last
The cold finally subsided as the Dragoons travelled to Rybitwy on a warm Sunday afternoon. The Dragoons headed into the game winless, following two straight defeats. Meanwhile, Rybitwy’s only point of the season so far came against the Expats in the reverse fixture.
A much changed side saw Marcin Obyrtacz return between the posts in the place of Gabi Muñoz. Simon Calabrese dropped out of the team and saw his place taken by Kuba Drobny. Piotr Hajnrych completed the defensive changes, replacing Szymon Urzędowski at left back.
Hugo Cruz came into the side for his first league start, replacing captain Mark Szcesznowicz at the base of midfield. Rohit Chandran came back into the side on the left wing as Joaquin Serrano dropped out the squad.
The Dragoons went on the attack early into the game and won a free-kick from shooting distance. Enrico Forabosco stood over the ball, but failed to get any power on the shot to trouble Dariusz Kurnik in the Rybitwy goal.
In the 3rd minute, Rybitwy went straight down the other end and scored with their very first attack. The home side put a cross into the box and Daniel Adamczyk got in between the Dragoons defence and stuck out his foot to poke the ball beyond Obyrtacz.
It took some time for the Dragoons to get going again, but they came close to equalising with 10 minutes played. Rohit Chandran travelled with the ball from off the wing to get into a central position, but slid a shot just past the post.
The Dragoons dominated the possession early on as Rybitwy sat back with all men behind the ball. The home side packed their half as the Expats lacked the movement to find space in the final third.
Alessandro Puerini looked to be the Dragoons main attacking threat, trying to create chances for himself. The Italian received the ball to feet and spun, but wildly lashed a shot wide of the target.
Dragoons Come Close
Moments later, Michał Nowak almost inadvertently got his side back into the game. The full-back appeared to over hit a cross and the ball arrowed towards the top corner. Kurnik managed to just push the ball away from the goal via the bar and it dropped into the six yard box. Chandran reacted quickest to the loose ball, but Kurnik produced a great instinctive save. The danger had not been cleared however, as Forabosco found Puerini with his back to goal. The striker could not find space to turn on this occasion and Rybitwy cleared the ball away.
The left foot of Forabosco is such an important piece of the Dragoons armoury. The midfield magician swung in a delicious corner moments later, however the ball just evaded Josh Dawson and went out of play for a goal kick.
Dragoons Dominate The Ball
Despite the Dragoons dominance, Rybitwy defended their lead stoutly. The home side threw themselves into every tackle and at shots restricting the Expats opportunities at goal. Hugo Cruz tried to get his side back into the game with a fierce effort from outside the box. The Portuguese utility-man struck the ball nicely, but could not hit the target.
With Rybitwy sitting deep, Forabosco showed good footwork and an excellent turn of pace to drive into the box. The Italian crossed low into the feet of Puerini with his back to goal. The striker laid a pass off to Çolakoğlu, however a firm drive saw a Rybitwy man block the danger away.
An early change saw Michał Nowak leave the pitch, clutching his upper leg in pain. Szymon Urzędowski came on to fill the void in the right-back position.
The Dragoons continued to try and find a way through the banks of Rybitwy defenders. Restricted with efforts from range, Forabosco again looked to pull the strings. The Italian tried a low shot from outside the box, but hit the ball straight down the throat of Kurnik. Cruz lurked to tap in any potential rebound, however the Rybitwy keeper held onto the ball well.
With 35 minutes on the clock, Rybitwy swung a free-kick into the box that forced Kuba Drobny to head over his own bar. The following corner came across the face of goal and Obyrtacz palmed the ball behind for a second corner that came to nothing.
Although the Dragoons had the lions share of possession, Rybitwy scored a second goal in the 38th minute. A rare attack from the home side saw a long ball release Arkadiusz Gamoń down the byline behind the Dragoons defence. A cross came into the box and Piotr Skrzypek ran unchallenged to rise above the statuesque defending and plant a header past a stranded Obyrtacz to double the host’s lead.
The Expats looked visibly stunned at falling further behind and looked to immediately get back into the game. The visitors had a penalty claim waved away with 41 minutes played as Barry Chowaniec went down in the box. The Dragoons continued to play and the ball came to Forabosco, whilst simultaneously complaining to the referee. The midfielder vented his frustration by smacking a long range effort at goal, but once again drove his shot straight at Kurnik before berating the official again.
Seconds later, the Dragoons hauled themselves back into the game with a vital goal. A poor goal-kick saw the Dragoons back in possession. Piotr Hajnyrych raced onto the ball from a headed clearance and passed into Emre Çolakoğlu on the edge of the box. The Turkish midfielder delicately put Alessandro Puerini in control of the ball, with the Italian jockeying a couple of attempted challenges. Puerini waited to work a shooting chance and eventually picked his moment to send a firm shot under the dive of Kurnik to score his 10th goal of the season.
A much needed goal saw the Dragoons find renewed vigour. The Expats almost found themselves immediately level through Çolakoğlu. The Turkish man mountain hit a sweet half volley from outside the box, but saw Kurnik push his fierce effort over the bar.
Forabosco whipped in another corner not long after and Rybitwy struggled to clear their lines. Çolakoğlu again attempted to get the Dragoons level, but sent a powerful shot into the side netting.
The half time whistle sounded shortly after with the Dragoons 2-1 behind. Although dominating the ball, the Expats struggled to find the final pass to stretch the Rybitwy backline. The hosts defended manfully and a big effort would be needed for the Expats to avoid a third straight defeat!
Into the second half, the Dragoons started where they left off from the first – on the attack. Alessandro Puerini had the first chance of the second half. The striker received a pass from Chandran and showed nice footwork to cut inside a defender but ballooned a shot well wide.
The deadly Italian had his head in hands again moments after. The forward rose highest to meet a Forabosco corner, but saw his header clear the crossbar.
Puerini continued to be the Dragoons main goal threat. Smart build up play from the Dragoons produced another chance for the forward. The Italian assassin found space just inside the box and smashed a powerful shot that whistled just over the bar.
On the hour mark, the Expats had a second penalty shout turned away. On this occasion, Josh Dawson found himself floored by a sliding tackle in the box, however the shaven headed official saw no foul committed. He then bizarrely gave Rybitwy a free-kick for an offside despite no flag being waved on the side line.
Unfortunately for the Dragoons, a second muscle injury of the game saw Puerini forced to depart in the 67th minute. Andrea Latino entered the field with the Dragoons continuing to struggle to create too many clear cut chances.
That changed as Latino almost had an immediate impact and perhaps should have levelled the game within seconds of entering the pitch. Excellent acceleration from Chandran saw him in behind the Rybitwy defence. He cut the ball back to Latino in acres of space and unmarked at the near post. The Italian tamely side-footed the ball at goal from close range, but Kurnik pushed the effort wide.
Dragoons Back Level
From the corner, the Dragoons finally found the net to bring the game back to 2-2. Enrico Forabosco fizzed a curling ball into the penalty area. Emre Çolakoğlu got to the ball first and flicked it on with his head. The ball bounced off an unsuspecting Rybitwy man who diverted it into the top corner of his own net for a Dragoons equaliser. With 20 minutes left to play, both sides still had everything to play for!
The Dragoons patiently played the ball around as Rybitwy sat deeper and deeper in their half. The home side looked content to not be lured into any traps as the Dragoons attempted to get a winning goal.
Set pieces looked to be the Expats best way of getting the goal they so desperately craved. A free-kick on the right saw the magic wand of Forabosco’s left foot utilised once again.
In usual fashion, the midfield magician found Josh Dawson unmarked in the box. This time, the Englishman could not find the connection, knocking the ball towards goal with his chest. Kurnik stepped up to pluck it out of the air and deny the opportunity. The Dragoons fans in attendance jumped up in celebration only to sit down with their hands upon their heads.
The Best Goal You’ll Never See
The Dragoons ire with the officials continued with 83 minutes played as the Expats had a goal ruled out. An attempted cross deflected off a defender and Chowaniec sprinted forward to gain possession. The assistant referee on the side waved his flag, adjudging Chowaniec to be offside. The man in the middle however, correctly waved play on as Chowaniec crossed into the box.
Josh Dawson showed a sublime piece of skill to first control the ball with his chest twice and then send a volley into the top corner of the net. The big defender wheeled away as the fans cheered their hero from the stands. However, the celebrations did not last long, as the referee conferred with his official on the line. After a moments deliberation, the official reversed his decision and denied Dawson one of the Dragoons greatest goals.
With the game reaching it’s dying embers, the Dragoons finally found a goal to surely clinch victory.
Rybitwy chucked bodies forward for a deep free-kick in their own half. Dawson won the aerial ball unchallenged and nodded towards Enrico Forabosco. The midfield magician picked up the ball in the centre of the park and spied the run of Latino. The striker raced onto his fellow Italian’s pass and found himself in space on the left flank. The Dragoons substitute looked up and picked out the run of Chandran inside the penalty area. The Indian whirlwind, took a touch to set himself and sent a low drive into the bottom corner of the net. A massive moment for the Dragoons as they turned the game on its head to lead 3-2 with only 2 minutes left.
The Expats professionally saw out the remainder of the game, dictating the play and working the ball into the corner of the pitch.
Finally, the official blew the whistle to confirm the Dragoons first three points of 2023. The Expats had it all to do in the second half, but managed to get that vital late goal to get over the line.
3 Points At Last!
It was not a classic performance by all means, but a great three points. The Dragoons struggled to move the ball quickly in the first half and could not get any joy out wide. Rybitwy looked to defend their lead and their only out-ball was to hit the Expats’ flanks. On two occasions this lead to the host’s scoring, much to the Dragoons dismay.
The second half saw the Dragoons move the ball better and play more patiently. They managed to get Chowaniec and Chandran more involved, with Forabosco playing deeper alongside Cruz in keeping the ball ticking over. The team deserves credit for their response to going two goals down. Last week, the side left it too late to get back into the game, but showed good composure and fight to win against Rybitwy.
The Dragoons return to Prądniczanka next weekend to take on Krakus Swoszowice. In the reverse fixture the Dragoons saw a late equaliser deny them the 3 points. The Dragoons lead 1-0 through Joaquin Serrano, however the home side hit back midway through the second half.
A brilliant penalty by Forabosco put the Dragoons back into the lead with 10 minutes left, however a defensive error saw Swoszowice grab a point late into the game.
Krakus is currently in 13th place with four points on the board. They travel to face the Expats on the back of a 5-1 home defeat against Wanda. They are 3 points ahead of Rybitwy and trail Podgórze by 6 points as they battle against relegation. Their only victory this season came against Rybitwy, but despite their lowly position the Dragoons will need to be at their best to take the points.