A draw at Sky Ocean would be considered a worthy result by almost any team, but Grilled may be forgiven for wondering if it was more a case of two points lost than a point won, given that they held a two-nil lead at one point.
Herron were somewhat off their usual pace due to a loss in the much-anticipated opener with Chemistry and then a draw with newly-promoted Shingen's Marauders, but with evidence that they were regaining their old luster, Grilled felt it prudent to be cautious. A 4-5-1 was the gameplan, and despite that Grilled were the ones applying the early pressure.
A spate of corners due to some dicey Herron defending kept the home goal under siege, and Lee Jie Siong
must have rued not being two inches taller when he was found wanting in front of goal. Fabian Bona
had helped the ball on from Sid's corner, but Lee was only able to get the barest of touches onto the ball.
Scotsman John MacKinnon
recorded his first goal for Grilled in the 16th minute with a serviceable strike that floated just off the ground, beating Herron's player-coach, the legendary Abd Rauf Mohd Nadzir. Herron nearly bit back instantly with Shu Chit-Fu alone against Lik-Tsun in a one-on-one, but the two former national teamers were evenly matched and the opportunity went begging.
Beckman could have done nothing against Pian Hyoung-zoo's superhuman bullet of a shot in the 28th minute, so it was just as well that the strike was marginally off target. It wasn't all one-way traffic, and Grilled soon confirmed that they could mix it up with the best, as Rotteveel's stylish flick parted the Herron defence. Jie Siong held his nerve to lay the ball over Abd Rauf for Grilled's second.
The home fans were not happy campers by this point, but their discontent abated as Herron responded immediately with a goal of their own. They fought back fire with fire with some delightful short passing, and the ever-reliable Nie Yong-chul placed his effort well away from Beckman to make it one-two.
The same high quality of football was maintained well into the second half, and Herron deserved to equalise from Sid's mistake in the 57th minute. The Polish fullback committed the cardinal sin of trying to dribble his way out of defence, and was duly robbed by Richard Ashton on his blind side. Ashton stabbed the ball into the path of Eriksson, who went all the way himself.
Shu Chit-Fu had no luck with Grilled's pairing of Lik-Tsun and Talib, however, and in fact Grilled looked the more likely to snatch victory towards the end. Sweeping counterattacks saw Bona and MacKinnon have their chances, and Bona went closest with a brillant header onto the bar, but neither managed to reclaim the win for Grilled.