Return to Winning Ways
The Dragoons travelled to face Universum on Sunday, looking to win their first game in three matches.
Yuri Samyonov, Rob Smits, Scott Halcrow and last week’s game changer Martin Voženílek came into the side, replacing Joaquin Serrano, Rohit Chandran, Gonçalo Rodrigues and Brian Lemmen in the line-up.
A Lightning Start
The Dragoons looked to put to right their recent form and came flying out of the traps straight after kick-off.
A perfect long ball from Scott Halcrow, playing at the back, found Michał Nowak’s run down the left flank. The full-back pulled the ball back to Rob Smits, who crossed into the area. Martin Voženílek won his header at the far post, but could not get enough power on the ball to beat the home custodian, Mateusz Węgrzyn.
Moments after, a routine of Nowak long-throws almost yielded an early chance for Rob Smits. With the ball flying towards his goal, Węgrzyn teetered backwards and could not get enough on his punch. Smits looked to pounce, but could not arch his body to get a shooting chance and Universum cleared the ball away.
A free-kick from deep again called Węgrzyn into action for the hosts in the 7th minute. Forabosco’s exploratory pass found Josh Dawson on the corner of the penalty box. The Englishman looked to head the ball across the area, but the keeper came off his line to collect.
With 10 minutes on the clock, nice build-up play found Michał Nowak in space on the edge of the area. The full-back tried an effort at goal, but saw his attempt sail high, wide and handsome!
Just a minute later however, Nowak had a chance to put the Dragoons in front from the penalty spot. With the Dragoons coming forward at will, Mark Szczesnowicz found time in the area, shimmying past a defender before a reckless slide tackle halted the Australian’s run as he shaped to shoot.
Nowak hit his penalty low to Węgrzyn’s right side. The keeper got a hand to the ball, but could not prevent the Expats taking the lead.
Game Changing Moment?
Fortune smiled on the Dragoons just moments after the goal, especially keeper Jacob Biddlecombe! The custodian flew out his goal and grabbed the ball inches outside of his penalty area. Universum appealed to the officials and a free-kick was given, with Biddlecombe fortunate to escape with a yellow card.
Filip Szczygieł lined up the resulting set-piece, but sent his effort whistling over the bar.
The Expats continued to attack, and a nice flowing move forced Węgrzyn into action once again. Martin Voženílek accelerated down the right flank to the corner of the box. He pulled the ball back to Yuri Samyonov, who in turn threaded a perfect through pass to find Smits. The midfield metronome hit a fierce effort at goal, but the Universum goalie got down well to smother the ball at the second attempt.
Despite not being in the match thus far, a rare counter-attack produced a corner kick for the hosts. The Dragoons could not clear their lines from the resulting set-piece, however Szczygieł smacked his shot over the crossbar.
The Man with the Golden Touch
Into the 20th minute, the Dragoons doubled their lead in style. The dangerous Dutchmeester Rob Smits showed his class, exquisitely taking control of a forward pass on the end of his boot, and then playing a perfectly timed pass to find the run of Flavio Nkola in the penalty area. The Angolan took one touch, before rifling the ball past the keeper and into the corner of the net.
The bloodthirsty Expats continued to storm forward to further increase their lead. Voženílek showed great pace and once again played a clever cut back to the waiting Samyonov. The Israeli unleashed a fierce shot, low at goal and saw the ball deflect for a corner.
Forabosco delivered the ball into the box and found the head of Josh Dawson. The defender saw his effort parried by Węgrzyn but the danger remained. A defender attempted a clearance that cannoned back off of the Englishman, however the keeper remained alert to smother the ball.
Universum had a rare chance in the 28th minute in their attempt to haul themselves back into the game, as Piotr Madej found space on the corner of the Dragoons box. The Universum attacker laced a powerful effort at goal, but saw his shot fly high into the side netting.
On the halfway point, Rob Smits went close to adding a third. The Dutchmeester smacked an effort from distance that took a slight deflection and went just past the post.
Penalty Kick 2!
Three minutes later, the Dragoons had the opportunity to score their third goal, once again from the penalty spot. The busy Voženílek had caused issues for the Universum left back all game and saw his cross handled in the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Nowak calmy side-footed down the centre for his second goal.
With the lead now 3-0, the Dragoons still continued to attack. In the 42nd minute, more pressure from the Expats saw the visitors unable to clear. Mark Szczesnowicz shaped to shoot on the edge of the area, but sent a piledriver just over the crossbar.
Penalty Kick 3! Hat-Trick Heaven for Nowak
Just as the half appeared to be coming to an end, the Dragoons won their third penalty of the game. Flavio Nkola weaved from the left flank and delivered a cross into the box. A Universum defender appeared to inexplicably dive at the ball, sticking out a hand and the referee did not hesitate in pointing to the spot. Nowak again stepped up and sent the ball beyond Węgrzyn to complete a hat-trick of penalty kicks!
The official blew his whistle shortly afterwards, with the Expats going into the break 4-0 ahead.
Gonçalo Rodrigues took to the field to replace hat-trick hero Nowak at left back for the second half.
The Dragoons continued where they left off in the first half, attacking the Universum backline.
It took until the 52nd minute for the Dragoons to notch their fifth goal of the encounter. Neat passing football from the Expats saw Voženílek play the ball to Enrico Forabosco. The midfield magician opened his body and hit a sweet curling effort at goal. The ball took the slightest of touches off of a defender and arched into the top corner of the net, giving Węgrzyn no chance to save. The goal saw the Italian claim his eighth strike of the season so far.
A flurry of substitutes after the goal saw Samyonov, the excellent Voženílek and Szczesnowicz trudge off the pitch. Joaquin Serrano, David Nicolas and Adrian Paliś took to the field in their place.
Moments after his goal, Forabosco received the ball in a similar position to where he had scored. On this occasion however, the Italian wildly lashed at the ball, sending his shot into orbit.
The Dragoons arguably could have been awarded an unprecedented fourth penalty on 56 minutes. Rob Smits took control of the ball on the left side and crossed it into the box. The pass clearly struck the hand of a defender, however the referee showed leniency to the hosts and gave a corner.
Chances galore came and went for the rampant Dragoons as they continued to push forward to increase the score-line.
A great move in the 65th minute saw Simon Calabrese break-out of defence to find Paliś on the right. The defender continued his run into the box and came agonisingly close to getting on the end of Paliś’ return ball into the box.
A minute later, Serrano almost got in on the scoring act. The Spaniard found time and space, arrowing a swerving effort that just missed the crossbar.
Universum Strike Back
Following sustained pressure through-out the match thus far, Universum clawed a goal back in the 70th minute. Biddlecombe raced off his line to meet a cross into the box, attempting to punch the ball away. The keeper did not get enough on his clearance, with the ball falling just outside the box. Szczygieł got to it first for the visitors and drove a shot past Halcrow on the line and into the net to make the score 5-1.
Straight down the other end, Serrano sent a raking pass into the box to find the head of Paliś. The striker had all the time in the world to direct his header at goal, but failed to hit the target.
In the 79th minute, a poor pass out from Biddlecombe gave Universum another scoring opportunity. However, on this occasion Madej could not take advantage, rushing his chance and putting the ball wide.
A run off the left wing from Flavio Nkola, saw the attacked fouled on the edge of the box in the 82nd minute. Joaquin Serrano stepped up to take the resulting free-kick and sent a lovely curling effort that left Węgrzyn stranded to further extend the scoring to 6-1.
The goal seemed to deflate the home side and acted as a cue for the Dragoons to up the ante. A number of chances came the visitor’s way, with Smits shooting over, Serrano dragging a shot wide and Nkola hitting a firm effort straight at Węgrzyn.
Woot Woot… It’s the Sound of the Paliś
It seemed to be a matter of time until a seventh goal arrived, and it did so with two minutes left of normal time. Substitute Emre Çolakoğlu ambled through midfield and punted the ball forward towards Paliś. The Polish national attempted to flick the ball on, looping it into the air. With a Universum defender and goalkeeper dithering, Paliś raced onto his own pass and used his strength to outmuscle the centre back. The marksman calmly rounded the stranded Węgrzyn and slotted the ball into an unguarded net for 7-1.
Last Laugh for the Hosts
Universum had the last say in the game in injury time. Poor defending saw Madej burst through the box, only to be denied by an excellent sprawling save from Biddlecombe. The following corner saw the ball passed short and fizzed across the face of goal. The ball struck Halcrow high in the chest, with the Englishman unwittingly diverting it into his own net to give the home side a second consolation goal.
The referee blew the whistle to end the match straight after, with the Dragoons grabbing a 7-2 victory.
In truth, the Dragoons strolled to victory and could easily have scored more goals. With such a big lead and lots of second half changes affecting momentum, the Expats took their foot off the gas in the second period.
However, after the last two results, the victory was just the tonic for the Expats to get back to winning ways.
The Dragoons remain top of the table, four points clear of Rybitwy who smashed Victoria 6-2. Next week will see Rybitwy take on 3rd place Pychowianka, with the latter looking to close the gap on the top two.
In the meantime, the Dragoons return to Nadwiślan to take on Tramwaj II Kraków. The Expats triumphed 6-2 in the reverse fixture, with Enrico Forabosco stealing the headlines with a scintillating hat-trick — all three goals worthy of the Puskás award! Josh Dawson grabbed his first Expats goal and Adrian Paliś scored with two late strikes to wrap up the victory.