Grilled propelled themselves to the top of Division II.1 at the midway point of the season with a superb 4-0 victory at The Cooking Pot. The West region was again carpeted with storm clouds, and the lovingly-tended Cooking Pot pitch was again transformed into a sogging mess in front of the heartbroken groundskeeper. The players were less affected, as they had had much rain experience in recent matches. With Aznan Noor Yadah
ruled out through injury, 18 year-old Au-Yong Siu-Yue
was drafted in to take his customary space on the left. Otherwise the Grilled team was just about at full strength.
Geylang was banking on its heavyweight forward line to do its job, and played every ball they could to them. Dewilde got a torrid time from Jie-Quan and Ser-Kiat, but Grilled weathered the storm, both literally and figuratively. Finnish winger Seppo Ojala drew a yellow card after Ma Dai-Lin
pulled a fast one on him early in the half, but such watchable moments were rare as both sides jockeyed for possession. In the 18th minute, a fracas nearly erupted when Wilson Kearney
stupidly shoved Romanian midfielder Aristide Ditã who was lining the ball up for a free kick. Ditã unleashed a string of invective, which irked nearby Grilled players no end. In the end the referee intervened and cautioned Kearney, but tempers had not cooled sufficiently and Hjortlind took Ditã down with a two-footed challenge right from the free kick, for which he was lucky to escape with a yellow. The incident served to make both teams even more wary of each other, and the remainder of the forty-five minutes was boringly tepid. If there was yet no sign of the goals that had marked previous contests betweem the teams, it was because they were all scheduled for the second half.
Grilled pressed forward in the drizzle, and in the 54th minute won their first corner, which Ulf Hjortlind
obligingly delivered to Kearney to glance home. Captain Lan Tuan-Mu
then led by example as he did a passable impression of a career striker three minutes later, rounding Peter Gustavsson and then slotting the ball past Australian keeper Ngake Adkins. Lan Tuan-Mu
's fifteen minutes of fame were not over yet, as he was the beneficiary of some beautiful approach work by Zhan Ju-Hau
. The ball was intended for Hjortlind but cleared ineffectually to Tuan-Mu, who turned sharply, buying himself just enough space to cut a shot to the far post for an unlikely brace. The team behaved more cautiously after that but did not fall back, just as well since it would have been sucidal against an attack of Geylang's quality. Au-Yong Siu-Yue
then made it an even more memorable night by taking on Cao Pei-Hao on the right, losing him and scuffing a shot which turned out to be his first league goal as its bounce eluded Adkins. Meanwhile, Shen Kek-Tjiang
was going about his business cutting out key passes, frustrating Geylang's feared strike trio since even the best forward is powerless without the ball at his feet. The final whistle went with barely thirty seconds of injury time gone, as Grilled exacted a measure of satisfaction for their 0-3 defeat the last time the teams met.