An early penalty from Tomasz Frankowski moved the veteran striker into third in the all-time Polish league scorers list – also pushing Jagiellonia further up the Ekstraklasa table in the process. The 38 year-old now sits 14 behind Lucjan Brychczy in 2nd place, and 18 behind Górnik Zabrze’s legendary Ernest Pohl at the top; whilst Jagiellonia move into the top half – temporarily at least – for the first time since November.
In a feisty clash with relegation-threatened Pogoń Szczecin, two were sent off, including Jagiellonia’s 10th dismissal of the season. Meanwhile the visiting side slipped two their fourth consecutive defeat, leaving them just seven points clear of the drop zone.
The visitors got off to the worst possible start in Białystok, when Maximillian Rogalski blocked a Dawid Plizga free-kick inside the box with his arm. Former Wolves striker Frankowski made no mistake from the spot, sending Radosław Janukiewicz the wrong way for his 5th of the season. The striker’s celebration saw a message thanking his team-mates revealed under his shirt. The only thanks Franek received was a booking for his troubles.
The early setback actually kicked the visitors into gear, with Adam Frączczak and Rogalski spurning good chances. But before the half was over, the home side regained their composure – Janukiewicz preventing Jaga from doubling their lead on three occasions.
The second period took time to get going; but when German defender Emil Noll restrained a through-on-goal Plizga, the referee had no option but to show a straight red. However Pogoń’s disadvantage lasted less than ten minutes before Lubos Hanzel received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Whilst the home side finished the stronger, the final ten minutes could only peter out; giving Pogoń a long journey back to Szczecin, and leaving new boss Dariusz Wdowczyk with plenty of time to ponder how to fix things ahead of next week’s game with another side in poor form, Widzew Łódź.
Jagiellonia Białystok – Pogoń Szczecin 1:0 (1:0)
Frankowski (pen) 4′
Jagiellonia: Słowik, Pazdan, Norambuena, Hanzel, Grzyb, Kupisz, Quintana (Kowalski 90+2′), Dźwigała, Plizga, Frankowski (Ukah 82′), Gajos (Bandrowski 46′).
Pogoń: Janukiewicz, Noll, Hernani (Rudol 46′), Hricko, Akahoshi (Kolendowicz 70′), Ława, Rogalski, Lewandowski, Murayama, Frączczak, Chałas (Djousse 46′).
Yellow Cards: Frankowski 4′, Hanzel 50′, 79′ – Rogalski 18′, Frączczak 44′, Rudol 85′, Hricko 87′.
Red Cards: Hanzel 79′ – Noll 69′.
In the Ekstraklasa’s second game of the day, a late strike from substitute Piotr Cwielong gave Śląsk Wrocław their first league win since the opening matchday of Spring – firing them back into the hunt for a European spot in the process. Meanwhile a fourth defeat from six games in spring leaves their opponents Górnik Zabrze with much to do if they hope to pip the Lower Silesians to that coveted Europa League place.
Whilst the home side started the brighter, Górnik began to find their rhythm around the quarter-of-an-hour mark – both attacking partners Ireneusz Jeleń and Prejuce Nakoulma finding themselves in good positions before missing the target and the ball respectively. At the other end an active Eric Mouloungui caused a few problems for the Górnik back-line, although Rok Elsner’s high drive was as close as the hosts came to breaking the deadlock. And when Adam Kokoszka’s mistake, and then Aleksander Kwiek’s deft pass allowed Nakoulma to awkwardly tuck the ball underneath Śląsk keeper Rafał Gikiewicz, it was no more than the visitors deserved.
Whilst the Śląsk team entered the dressing room low on confidence, the one that emerged after the break could have been mistaken for a different team altogether. And when former Derby County and Porto midfielder Przemysław Kaźmierczak’s header hit the post just after the break, there was a sense that it was only a matter of time before the equaliser went in.
In fact, it was just four minutes later when Gabon international Mouloungui laid a ball back across the penalty area, allowing captain Sebastian Mila to drive a left footed shot past Łukasz Skorupski and into the bottom corner.
Whilst Górnik created a number of chances to regain their lead, it seemed that most fell to the feet of substitute Grzegorz Bonin – and were ultimately spurned. And as the game progressed further, Śląsk began again to take back their grip on the game.
Chances fell to both Mateusz Cetnarski and Adam Kokoszka, although both failed to hit the target. But when Cwielong was allowed time to turn in the box and beat his man, bearing down on Skorupski left only one outcome.
Śląsk Wrocław – Górnik Zabrze 2:1 (0:1)
Mila 57′, Cwielong 89′ – Nakoulma 37′
Śląsk: R. Gikiewicz, Pawelec, Kokoszka, Grodzicki, Socha, Mila, Kaźmierczak, Elsner (Cetnarski 74′), Sobota, Mouloungui (Ł. Gikiewicz 85′), Patejuk (Cwielong 46′).
Górnik: Skorupski, Gancarczyk (Zachara 70′), Danch, Shevelyukhin, Olkowski, Magiera, Kwiek, Przybylski, Mączyński, Jeleń (Zahorski 59′), Nakoulma (Bonin 59′).
Yellow Cards: Zachara 80′