Union City Blues
Poland Trip part four
Lechia Gdansk 0 Korona Kielce 5
Gate: 200 zloty (£41.65). VIP Prestige.
Programme: Not available.
Purchasing my ticket online I decided to treat myself. Considering I would struggle to get in most Premier League grounds for £40, let alone sample any kind of hospitality it was a no brainer as a one off for me.
Unsure of what to expect, I arrived at the Stadion Energa Gdansk or the Baltic Arena as it is called without sponsorship, a little too early. The sheer size of the place is breathtaking. On top of that the amber colour makes this a spectacle whenever it comes into view. I had a wander around the outside concourse. Once again the bitter Baltic wind was biting away at the few of us brave enough to be out in it.
Finding my entrance, I practically dived inside to get away from the wind and was welcomed by a number of hostesses who welcomed me and pointed me in the direction of the refreshments on offer. Free food and drink was available and appeared to be for the whole of the time I was there, a meal of chicken, potatoes and some vegetables was delicious.
Suitably fed and watered it was time for the sides to come out, and so I went to find my seat. Top row at the end, ideal, first seat I had come to. Padded leather. Plenty of room between seats and leg room in front. I approve.
Out came the teams and the Lechia ultras did their utmost to raise their heroes, the only problem was that you could hear the leader over the PA system over the fans. Shame really.
Five minutes in and Lechia hit the post, smart passing move and Wolski hammered an effort off the woodwork. This was followed a few minutes later by a chance from an acute angle for Katcharava, his effort was tipped over by Kuciak in the Lechia goal. Although not the keepers finest moment of the night it was not too far off.
The game seemed to be going nowhere when with 25 minutes gone a smart pass by Zubrowski found Katcharava in acres of space, he picked his spot and fired home. 1-0. The next 20 minutes must count amongst the worst for Lechia for some time. They fell apart. Their fans turned on them and Korona added another 3 goals. All before the break.
On the half hour, a great run and through ball by Mozdzen was cut out at the last moment by Lewandowski only for the ball to break to Gorski to roll into the empty goal. 2-0. Thirty-eighth minute and a corner swung in by Mozdzen was flicked on at the near post by Kovacevic straight into the path of the unmarked Rymaniak arriving at the far post. He easily finished. 3-0. With a minute to the whistle, the worst of the lot. A ball from Rymaniak rolled across the box, everyone watched, apart from Katcharava, who slid in and lifted the ball past the keeper. 4-0.
Half-time. I was off for food and drink. I am sure Lechia did not receive such good hospitality in that 15 minutes.
After the break was a walk in the park for the visitors. At 4-0 up it pretty much has to be. Apart from Rymaniak tried to turn a cross past Gostomski in his own goal, somehow it was kept out, the visitors controlled the game. A penalty was awarded to them midway through the second period, Romario Balde bringing down Ken Kallaste. Yes, Ken! Zubrowski saw his poor effort easily saved by Kuciak. That was his best moment.
Korona didn’t have to wait too long before the fifth, with just over 15 to go, Kosakiewicz slid the ball in from the right for substitute Soriano to tap home. 5-0.
That was that. A night to forget for the Welsh first team coach of the hosts Adam Owen.
A great day spent in Gdansk. I experienced Polish dumplings, a bit like ravioli.
The main highlight of the day though was a trip to the ‘Solidarnosc’ museum. A very informative trip into the lives of the people who helped to change the face of the world. Memories of the television pictures from 1981 came flooding back and the gates where the demands and crowds to support the strikers, a poignant moment.
A taxi home from right outside the stadium, back to the hotel, to pack my bags and finish my trip.
Thank you Poland!
Games since a 0-0: 47
Milestone: 700th away goal – Maciej Gorski (Korona Kielce)
Random Fact: 32nd penalty save out of 136
Eat to the Beat – Blondie