On The Spot
Against an opposition with whom Grilled have yet to produce a match with less than three goals, and whose last two meetings were eight-goal thrillers, few would have bet on anything less than a total goalfest. Grilled were without young sparkplug Au-Yong Siu-Yue
, but Kek-Tjiang made a triumphant return as Ju-Hau's partner in midfield as Grilled finished the epic 4-3 ahead.
Geylang abandoned the 3-5-2 that saw them lose 2-6 at home to Grilled and chose to emphasize their considerable attacking might with an adventurous 3-4-3, keeping the run-and-gun style that has won them many admirers but not too many results yet. The immensely experienced Tsai Jie-Quan again spearheaded their strikeforce, supported not only by Luo Ser-Kiat but now another homegrown striker Kuai Hoang-Huan.
With the inspirational Gao Chang-Sik in good form, Geylang scared Grilled's back three at the start as Jie-Quan swiped a shot slightly over in the fifth minute. Grilled's midfield were cut out in the ninth as Lim Fui-Gna hit a searching pass which onrushing midfielder Jin Thiam-Loy poked past the flatfooted Lan Tuan-Mu
to score. Five minutes later Luo Ser-Kiat got booked for a foul in midfield, and it was Geylang's turn to be caught out as Tuan-Mu went in on the blind side to get onto Ju-Hau's ball through the middle. Australian keeper Ngake Adkins cleared his lines and almost got to the pass first, but Tuan-Mu's touch put it beyond him. On the half-hour mark, Martinsson finished off an intricate move which involved Hjortlind and Stanton in the penalty area to give Grilled the half-time lead.
Grilled were eager to build on their advantage knowning Geylang's skill up front - they have scored more than any other team in the bottom half - and reliable veteran Ma Dai-Lin
could have made it three with a long shot out of the blue. Adkins reacted instantly to block the shot with his fists.
Grilled's fears were made reality as another series of long passes saw Tsai Jie-Quan past the last man in the 55th minute, and he outfoxed Bao-Tam at close range to slot into an empty net. Asher Stanton
got a little worked up at that and responded with illegal shirt-pulling, for which he copped a caution. The game was tense as the players knew it could swing either way, and the Geylang defenders backed off Hjortlind when he made an aggressive run down the flanks. He then passed into the centre where Martinsson was lurking, but the Swede appeared to be held back as he made for the ball.
The man in charge called for a penalty over the vehement protests of the Geylang backline, and Martinsson, never having missed from the spot for Grilled yet, played the ball over Adkins. Four minutes later the impressive Jie-Quan silenced the home support by clinically nodding home a lob by Hoang-Huan, levelling the game again.
Assured of a valuable point if the result stayed, Geylang then yielded the initiative to Grilled, who began marauding furiously. Dai-Lin hit a waist-high cross into the packed box, which noticeably bounced off the unfortunate Mark Unwin's arms. Going by the book, it was a clear penalty, so Martinsson went to the spot again and did what he does best - score.