Poland Trip part two
Baltyk Gdynia 2 Swit Skolwin 1
Trzecia Liga ‘Grupa 2’
Gate: 50 zloty (£10.33). VIP ticket
Programme: Free with admission
Bit of a weird one to find this. You can see floodlights from about half a mile away, with very cold drizzle in freezing wind coming from the Baltic Sea. Not Baltyk’s ground. It was their rivals Arka. Making my way past this there was another ground just beyond it. Not Baltyk’s ground. At the very end of Olimpljska is the National Railway Stadium, or Narodowy Stadion Rugby to give it is proper name.
Approaching the turnstile I saw VIP tickets for sale, why the hell not I thought, a decision that was to pay dividends later. Free programme sheet in hand I made my way on to the ground. A quick scan around I could not find where I was supposed to go, I was soon assisted by a kind club official and shown the way to where I needed to be. Also showing me where I would be provided with refreshments at half-time.
Narodowy Stadion is a one sided affair, a raised seating area above a 3G pitch that looked very much like the one Widnes play on. The other 3 sides are all fenced off, though open to the elements you are perfectly able to view the game as a few people chose to do. Opposite the stand is the impressive looking Gdynia Arena.
Seat found and wiped down from the rain I battened down the hatches and wrapped myself up against the elements.
The 2 teams came out and it was soon apparent that the hosts were what I presume is their ‘away’ kit of all red. The visitors looking like Argentina in sky blue and white stripes with black shorts and socks. The usual handshake malarkey done we got underway. At the start of play Swit were top of the league with Baltyk one of a number of teams hot on their heels. It was the visitors that started slightly brighter though the play soon swung the other way and the hosts were creating opportunities.
After both sides went close with long range efforts it was Gdynia’s Duda who shot straight at Matloka when he should have scored. The same striker then just failed to get a touch on a cross that looked like a certain goal. Neither side was giving a quarter in this weather affected match, which looked like it might ruin this contest, but they are used to such conditions in this area of Poland. In the 39th minute the visitors took the lead, a ball over the top, a defensive error and Filipowicz was through, it looked like a very tight angle, but he did what he had to do and finished in style, 1-0.
The lead was not to last too long, a free-kick swung into the box wasn’t cleared properly, played back in, Kochanek flicked the ball up and on with an outstretched foot and Szur powered a header in off the foot of the post. 1-1 and that was it for the opening 45 minutes.
At the break I made my way into the hospitality area, where warm soup and a radiator brought warmth and feeling back to my body. Well worth the additional money.
Swit took the game by the scruff of the neck early on after the restart and had 2 or 3 opportunities that probably should have led to a goal. Though the first big chance fell to Baltyk when Duda broke at pace, played in Letniowski whose shot hit a defender on the head whilst he was stood on the line, incredible. Quite how Wojdak got to clear it I do not know, and I am not sure he does either.
Midway through the second period we got the winner, a long ball out wide was played across the goal by Kolodzieski, all the way to the far post where Kuzimski slammed the ball home to start the wild celebrations in the stands.
Both sides had chances to score again but neither managed to really trouble either keeper. Baltyk claimed 3 valuable points and closed the gap to the leaders Swit to a single point.
An early morning return trip to Gdansk on a similar style train was a nice way to relax on a Saturday morning, after a change at my hotel I was back off out to catch a local train north to Gdynia Orlowo station. The 25 minutes walk in the rain was at best refreshing.
A fast walk back to catch a train, that again was a rickety old job, back to Gdansk I made my way back to my hotel, stopping off at Kebab Star to experience a Polish kebab, a King Sandwich. Think chicken kebab on a panini. Different.
Back in my hotel I watched the Saturday night Ekstraklasa game on TV in the warmth. Ahh.
Games since a 0-0: 45
Milestone: 45 games since a 0-0 is now my joint 3rd best run
Random Fact: My only game in Poland that was not shown live on TV
Aglio e Olio – Beastie Boys