Grilled's incredible late-season surge continued as they destroyed top-ranked United Warrior Team six to nothing in front of a completely packed The Cooking Pot. The seven goal victory last week had tickets selling like hot cakes for a fixture that could potentially decide the title's destination, and at the end of a harried ninety minutes Herron seem to have been given a lock on their tenth national championship.
Before the match began, Grilled still had a mathematical hope of snatching the title, but it depended on Shingen's Marauders repeating their performance against Chemistry when they hosted Herron. Grilled of course had to defeat the Warriors too to stand any chance, but without van Liere's width getting though a very good Warriors side appeared to pose a problem. Still, the absence of the Warriors' first-choice goalkeeper Afandi bin Zainal was an open invitation for Grilled to test his young replacement.
The home team need not have worried, as the sheer spirit of their players overwhelmed the opposition - the Warriors tried to control the game with composed passing and strike when Grilled were overextended, but were too often hustled off the ball. John MacKinnon
played his part to perfection, as the massive Scotsman stamped his authority in midfield, giving his mates plenty of time to set up plays.
MacKinnon could have gotten a penalty when his direct charge into the Warriors' box with the ball at his feet was clumsily stopped by onrushing Swiss goalie Valentin Rufedi in the eleventh minute. If the referee called it a foul it could have been nothing but a penalty and a sending-off, but in the end he shook his head, though given the final result it may have been just as well.
MacKinnon's presence was undoubted when he shrugged off several defenders to crash the opening goal home. Sid's corner was directed meaningfully towards the far post by Rotteveel's header, where Rufedi slapped it back out but not far enough. The Scot was also instrumental in creating the second, where he got the ball back with a crunching tackle and laid it on for Han Kok to swipe in.
The contest was becoming dreadfully one-sided to the surprise of the pundits in the press boxes, who were clearly anticipating a much tougher fight from the Warriors who would retain their destiny in their own hands with a win. The ease with which Bona kicked in the third underlined Grilled's superiority, however, and after Spirig had an almost certain screamer denied by Rufedi, Rotteveel sped in to get his 17th goal of the season.
Grilled fans were over the moon by now, as even the news that Herron had taken the lead against the Marauders failed to douse their cheer. Chants for "four more" were heard loudly, and Grilled looked willing to turn that into reality from the restart, as the outstanding MacKinnon wasn't far off with a mighty volley after Spirig had got in behind Long Shiu-Loong to deliver a cross.
Rufedi's sad day continued as his backline conspired to part for Subri to bundle a fifth in with a pinpoint grounder across the face of goal. That put Subri ahead of his strike partner once more in terms of total competitive goals scored this season, a fact which may come as a surprise to some of Rotteveel's admirers. It does bode well for balance in Grilled's front line.
Though Jie Siong and Subri had memorable strikes, it was Man of the Match John MacKinnon
who got the last say as he achieved his first brace with a stoic header as Spirig sent in yet another aerial pass with four minutes to go. Han Lik-Tsun
was a concern for the Grilled fraternity after the defender clashed shins with Wu Kang-yin as the Warriors strove for a consolation, but he ended up fine enough to walk around for the remaining few moments of the game.