God, it feels good to be King. I hope that doesn’t come across as big headed or anything, but I’m working wonders at Katowice. The press can’t believe it. Neither can the players, staff or board for that matter. To be fair, neither can I. We’re now unbeaten in 5 matches and edging closer and closer to a top 8 finish which would guarantee our survival.
Dependable right back Tom Scheffel, the possible future Cameroon International Olivier, Scotland’s forgotten man Danny Wilson and the quite enigmatic Grzegorz Goncerz all get a place in The Lotto Ekstraklasa team of the week after we thumped KGHM. God, it feels good to be King.
We welcome Lech to Stadion GKS Katowice today. At their place in August, they put 3 past us and missed a penalty in a performance that we all, especially Olivier, wanted to quickly forget. This time though, we’ll meet them in good form with our chests puffed out. We go unchanged, because why change a winning side?
The groundsmen have done a good job keeping the snow at bay before the match. It’s been falling heavily and settling across Katowice since yesterday and shows no signs of letting up before kick off, but the pitch is green for the most part.
20 minutes in, the party atmosphere that we’ve been cultivating in recent weeks comes to an abrupt end when Gumny’s floated far post cross is met by Jozwiak, who rises above Tom Scheffel to head the visitors in front.
Less than 10 minutes after the goal, Radut and Sacko press Kevin to win the ball from him. Our left winger has already had a frustrating afternoon thanks to Lech’s aggressive closing down and has picked up a booking, so his sliding lunge at Sacko is ill-advised, and not only because the grass is frozen solid. He goes straight through the Lech player from behind and thoroughly earns his 2nd yellow. I ignore Kevin as he trudges off the pitch and instead turn to one of my coaches. I instruct him to follow Kevin into the changing room and restrict his shower or bath to cold water only. Prick.
Anyway, there’s no point whining about it. Let’s try a narrow 4-2-2-1 formation, with Janga and Tarnowski playing off Goncerz.
We hold Lech off until half time, but not a minute more. Another fine Gumny cross just after the restart is put in at the far post by the unmarked Jevtic. 5 or so minutes later, Janga works himself an angle just outside the box and shoots low towards the corner, but Putnocky gathers it easily.
We have a free kick in a decent position a couple of minutes later, but it breaks down and Lech counter. Sacko gets to the byline and chips the ball into the centre, and Vázquez compounds my misery with a nice volley. We go attacking and I give our 2 full backs license to push up on the overlap.
Just after the hour, Janga squares the ball for Bart who shoots from 20 yards. Putnocky gets to the powerful shot but can’t hold onto it, and Goncerz nips in to bury the rebound. I look over to the linesman though, and sure enough, he’s stood there looking infuriatingly smug with his flag-arm outstretched.
Over the next 20 minutes I bring on Hutton, Fossy and Garbacik for Scheffel, Tarnowski and Abramowicz, but I think the lads realised long ago that it wasn’t going to be our day. Sacko does excellently to get clear down our right hand side with 5 minutes to play, but then makes the bizarre decision to shoot (And it was a shot) from a ridiculous angle way out on the right wing, sending the ball into the side netting.
It doesn’t lift my spirits much to see Bart put Goncerz through in injury time, as Putnocky makes another good save to deny him. The match ends 0-3.
It’s been one of those days. We faced a good side, didn’t put our chances away, and to be fair, got absolutely torn apart. It’s a reality check, definitely. Don’t forget who you are, Franjo. Don’t forget who you are, Katowice. Don’t forget what’s expected of you all.
There will be no palette cleanser though. No home tie against a league minnow. We’ll have to try to bounce back against the mighty Legia Warszawa Away. We beat them in a thoroughly satisfying match at the start of the season but they’ve since found form and propelled themselves up to the top of the league. Repeating our winning performance today will be a tough ask. Mind you, we’re only 7 points below them despite the fact that we’re down in 10th place.
Tom Scheffel’s yellow card against Lech was his 4th of the season, so he’ll be donning his suit in the stands along with Kevin as they serve their 1 match suspensions. Hutton and Kwarko will come in to replace them, but Kwarko will start on the right wing with Janga taking the left. Garbacik and Gregurina are also in for Abramowicz and Tarnowski as we revert to our slightly narrow, flank exploiting Project: Burnie MK II that beat these in Katowice.
20 minutes in, Trinks drives forward into our half. He then passes to Costinha, who runs to the edge of the box and shoots powerfully towards the top corner, but Nowak pulls a save right out of the top drawer to tip it over the bar.
Familiarly, our free kick breaks down a couple of minutes later and Legia counter. Well I say Legia counter, but it’s really only Trinks that counters, dribbling the length of the pitch before running into trouble just outside our box. He’s forced to pass to Ritzmaier, who slots it through for Szymanski, who slides the ball under Nowak. It’s a great goal.
As the second half arrives we go on the counter to try and stop Legia being able to counter quite as effectively, but 20 minutes after the restart, Szymanski swings a corner into our box. Rzezniczak barely has to move to lose Hurley, his marker, and nods the ball on towards the far post. Chatziisaias is waiting there, having barely had to move to lose Olivier, his marker, and he nods it in to double his team’s lead. Game over.
The introductions of Amonike and Tarnowski don’t help, and just to add insult to injury, or more accurately to add injury to a poor performance, Shurendo Janga comes off with 4 minutes to go with a potentially serious knee injury. Luckily he’ll have the whole winter break to shake it off.
Well, consider me brought back to reality. 2 comprehensive losses against 2 good sides will do that. I still maintain that a top 8 finish is within reach and that will continue to be my goal, but for now, as we enter my first Winter Break, I’ll look at the 8 point gap between us and Korona in the relegation zone and smile.
God, it feels good to be King.
Find me on: