Following a demoralising 3-7 defeat against Wanda the previous weekend, the Dragoons bounced back with a victory against Strzelcy on a glorious sun-baked Sunday afternoon.
Changes to the Dragoons backline saw the masked Kuba Drobny return to the line up ahead of Simon Calabrese. Michał Nowak missed the game and Szymon Urzędowski dropped from midfield to fill in at right-back. Emre Çolakoğlu dropped out the squad, with Rob Smits taking his place in the middle of the park for the final change from the defeat against Wanda.
The hosts kicked the game off, but the Dragoons started the game the brighter of the two sides. Early shots from Rob Smits and captain Mark Szczesnowicz failed to trouble Rafał Juszczyk in the home goal, however.
On 9 minutes, the Dragoons had the ball in the net as Alessio Sassini ran free on goal from an Enrico Forabosco through pass. The striker calmly slotted the ball past the keeper into the back of the net to score. However, Sassini had his celebrations cut short by a raised flag of the official on the sideline. A dubious decision…
The Dragoons On Top
With 11 minutes of the game played, the Expats had another chance at goal. Sassini won the ball on the halfway line, knocking it back to Forabosco. The Dragoons playmaker immediately played it back to Sassini who bundled his way through the midfield. He then played it wide to Beattie, who return passed back into the Italian’s path down the right flank. Sassini ran onto the pass and drove a low first-time shot across goal. Juszczyk proved equal to the effort however, getting down and palming the ball away with a firm hand.
The Dragoons continued to have all the possession and territory in the Strzelcy half. A stout defence saw efforts from Sassini and a follow up rebound by Beattie blocked away and cleared.
Enrico Forabosco came onto a poor clearance, finding time and space in the middle of the pitch on 22 minutes. Like those before him however, the Italian midfielder sent a shot from range at goal, but sent the ball over the crossbar.
With the sun beating down on a dry and long grassed pitch, both sides struggled to keep the ball, with misplaced passes being the order of the day.
Samyonov Opens The Scoring
Finally, the opening goal of the game arrived after 32 minutes into the encounter. Rob Smits cleverly picked out the run of Yuri Samyonov with a scooped pass over a defender’s head. Samyonov controlled the ball nicely and used his second touch to glide past a covering defender. With the goal in his sights, the Israeli fired a firm low shot past the dive of Juszczyk and into the bottom corner of the net. A welcome first strike of the season for the Dragoons attacker, who has suffered an injury hit campaign.
On 35 minutes, the Dragoons exquisitely doubled their lead with a touch of wizardry from the left wand of Enrico Forabosco. The move started with Szczesnowicz taking control of the ball in his own half and laying a pass into Forabosco. The Italian played a swift combination with Sassini, giving it back to the striker, who charged into the corner of the box. Sassini looked to work a crossing opportunity but saw his first attempt blocked. The attacker regained possession, spotted Forabosco unmarked at the back post and hung a second cross into his direction. The Italian midfield magician rose into the air and pulled off a magnificently timed acrobatic scissors kick, connecting perfectly with the ball to give Juszczyk no chance to save. A goal made in Italia for Forabosco’s 11th success of the season!
Two minutes later, Strzelcy registered their first attempt of note. A corner kick went across the box and a firm header went wide of Marcin Obyrtacz’s goal.
Down the other end, the Expats continued to come forward in search of a third goal. Alessio Sassini managed to find space to shoot from the edge of the box. On this occasion, the Italian assassin saw his attempt bobble straight into the grateful grasp of Juszczyk.
Chances Come and Go
With five minutes of the half to play, the Dragoons again threatened to extend their lead in quick succession. Mark Szczesnowicz swung a cross into the host’s box and found Rob Smits waiting at the far post. The Dutchmeester smashed a shot at goal, however, Juszczyk stood tall to push the ball over for a corner. Forabosco swung the set-piece into the box and in classic form found the head of Josh Dawson. The irresistible Englishman directed a firm header towards goal, but saw his attempt go past the post.
As the 45th minute approached, Strzelcy had a chance of grabbing a goal back from a set piece. A deep free-kick came towards the Dragoons back post and a volley from the unmarked Kamil Rudkowski whistled well wide of Obyrtacz’s left post.
Deep into first half injury time, the Dragoons again knocked on the door. A free-kick by Forabosco saw Strzelcy fail to clear their lines. The ball ping-ponged around the box before eventually falling to Josh Dawson, who attempted a low effort straight at the middle of the goal, where Juszczyk got down to stop.
Straight after, the referee ended the half with the Dragoons in control of the game at 2-0. The Expats had dominated the match so far and had spent a lot of time in the Strzelcy half, but too often lacked a finishing touch to the final ball. The visitors had not offered much, lacking the energy and composure to hit the Dragoons on the counter.
Into the second half, Strzelcy came out the blocks with endeavour and looked to hunt the ball down quicker. The host’s came right at the Dragoons and looked to put them under immediate pressure.
The home side looked a completely different side to the one in the first half, but they had to be alert on 50 minutes as the Dragoons went on a counter attack. Sassini marched down the right flank and saw a glorious cross just cut out ahead of Smits by a defender.
With ten minutes of the second half played, Strzelcy breached the Dragoons backline with a clipped pass putting Erick Torres through. The Colombian got to the ball ahead of Obyrtacz and knocked it smartly past the keeper with his first touch. Torres slid into the ball ahead of the covering Dawson, poking it into an empty net. A flag from the official however, saw the goal ruled out with Torres adjudged to have been offside. It looked likely that the officials made the wrong decision for a second time…
Sassini blasted an attempt over down the other end, however, the hosts kept coming forward.
The Masked Saviour
The home side thought they had pulled a goal back on 57 minutes after a nice passing move. A ball lofted over to the right flank saw Mykyta Maksymenko sprint beyond the Dragoons defence and into the box. Maksymenko dinked an effort over the onrushing Obyrtacz and watched as it dribbled towards the goal. The Expats’ man in the mask, Kuba Drobny, entered into a foot-race with the ball and slid in to just about hook it clear from his own goal line. A sigh of relief for the Dragoons.
Moments after, the Dragoons couldn’t keep the ball and it came straight back at them. The hosts went on the attack once again, on this occasion however, a shot from Torres went flying over the Dragoons goal.
Despite all the momentum being with the home side, the visiting Dragoons should have furthered their lead on the hour. Great work from Jamie Beattie saw the Englishman pressure the Strzelcy left back, and win the ball high up the field. Beattie sent a cross into the box where the usually lethal Sassini waited unmarked. The Italian hitman took a touch, but smacked his shot from six yards straight at Juszczyk, who pulled off an excellent reaction save to deny a certain goal.
With the hosts seeing more and more of the ball, the Dragoons continued to hit back on the counter. On 66 minutes, Forabosco ran down the Dragoons right flank and onto a lobbed pass from Smits. The midfield magician passed to the advanced Szymon Urzędowski in nosebleed territory inside the penalty box. The Polish full back struck a powerful shot across goal, bringing out a flying save by Juszczyk to keep the ball out of the net. It fell directly into the path of Leuci, who touched the ball with pace into Rob Smits to shoot. The Dutchmeester managed to steer a first time attempt at goal, but put a difficult chance wide of the mark.
Alessio Sassini had been a real handful the Strzelcy backline all game, but the Dragoons top scorer had so far failed to add to his tally. The Italian hitman went perilously close to changing that in the 72nd minute. Sassini ran onto the ball down the left flank, cutting onto his trusty right foot. The Dragoons striker arrowed a curling shot from the edge of the box, however, could only watch in frustration as it went narrowly wide of goal.
Moments after, Francesco Leuci intercepted a poor touch from the last defender to run through on goal. The Italian attempted to roll the ball past Rafał Juszczyk, however, the custodian stood strong and saved with his foot. The rebound fell straight to Sassini, but this time the usual deadly striker saw his shot go past Juszczyk but blocked on the line by a defender.
Dragoons Lead Reduced
Strzelcy halved the score with a deserved goal with nine minutes left to play. Torres’ positional change had seen the Colombian in more advanced areas of the pitch. The Strzelcy man latched onto a through pass, and on this occasion found himself onside and through on goal. Torres struck the ball well from the edge of the box, sending a low shot beyond Obyrtacz to bring the score to 2-1.
Although the lead had been reduced, the goal appeared to invigorate the Dragoons into action. Substitute and club legend Dani Silva received the ball into feet on the halfway line and curled a delightful pass for Sassini to run onto. The Italian assassin came forward, and sent a shot that deflected off a defender and blocked by the leg of the goalkeeper to again deny the Dragoons man.
Silva almost got himself a second goal in consecutive games with five minutes left of the game. The veteran Portuguese playmaker received a pass from Sassini into the corner of the box where he crept unmarked. Silva rifled a shot across goal from a tight angle, but dragged the chance wide of Juszczyk’s post and the hosts survived another scare.
The Dragoons looked the more likely to score, and again Sassini saw an attempt blocked. Forabosco picked up the loose ball and drove through the Strzelcy penalty area. He pulled a ball across the face of goal from the by-line, however, found no Dragoons man to put the cross into the net.
Sassini Grabs the Winner
Into the last minute of the game, the Dragoons grabbed a third goal to kill the game off. Alessio Sassini had been at the heart of the action for the Expats and finally grabbed his 18th goal of the season. Simon Calabrese played the ball into the right flank for Dani Silva, who crossed into the box. A poor attempted defensive header dropped straight into Sassini unmarked in the box. The Dragoons striker controlled the ball with his knee and smashed a left footed shot into the bottom corner of the net. A deserved goal to clinch all three points for the side.
The referee ended the game shortly after, with the Dragoons showing bouncebackability to earn the win. The Expats had struggled at times in the second half, but did enough to put Strzelcy to the sword. A poor first half performance from the hosts cost them dearly. Despite a better second half showing, they failed to get an early goal to put the Expats under pressure. The Dragoons defence did not have too much to contend with, but did enough when called upon. A formation change by the Dragoons coaching staff proved key in stopping the influx of attacks through the middle. With the danger nullified, the Dragoons regained control of the game. Despite being wasteful in front of the target, the Expats kept going until the final whistle to wrap the game up.
Once again, the Dragoons take to their travels to visit Gajowianka Gaj and former Expat Alessandro Soso next week. Gaj are currently one place behind the Dragoons in 9th position with 26 points and with a game in hand. They have won 7 games, drawn 5, and lost 9 times in their 21 games played this season. Gaj have a minus goal difference presently with 47 goals scored and 51 conceded.
Last time the two sides met saw the Dragoons disappointingly held to a 2-2 draw in a fiery encounter. The Expats led early on through a curling effort from Enrico Forabosco. Former Dragoon, Soso received a second yellow card just before the interval as the visitors went down to 10 men. Into the second half, a spirited comeback saw Gaj turn the game around to lead 2-1 despite their numerical disadvantage. The Dragoons managed to grab an almost instant equaliser as Sassini headed a Forabosco set-piece into the net. The visitors saw red a second time to reduce them to nine men with ten minutes left to play. The Expats failed to find any composure to find a winner and the visitors held on valiantly to grab a point.