Saved From The Shooters
Stay Of Execution
Grilled stumbled and swayed in the fourth round of the Cup as adventurous Division Four side shoot'n'save pounded on the gates of extra-time. The team limped through in due course, though, on Lorenz Paullin
's first professional goal, and another from regular scorer Ulf Hjortlind
Sporting a rejuvenated Zhan Ju-Hau
back after three weeks in the treatment room, it was a wonder Grilled didn't score before the 23rd minute as Zhan at times appeared to be on another planet compared to the rest. Grilled skied attempt after attempt as the players were hungry for a cheap goal, and their first shot on target was from Seng-Huat, who was up against only Abd Jamil bin Mohd Esahar in the opposite goal. Jamil hit the ball out, Riviera crossed it right back in, and Paullin was stationed obediently at the far post to head it in. It was Paullin's very first competitive goal for Grilled, which may come as a surprise to some fans seeing how much he has been involved.
Nine minutes on, Ulf Hjortlind
saw his chance after some incomprehensible passing at the back by shoot'n'save. Nothing fancy, just a controlled shot at the left side of the goal, and Grilled went further ahead. Cheong Guang Ying seemed designated to shut down Hjortlind, and he did that all right in the 33rd minute when he caught the Swede's ankles. Hjortlind sat down briefly later, but a quick inspection by the team medic passed him for further play. Hjortlind roared back with a mammoth kick from nowhere that sizzled into the side netting.
Zhan continued dictating the game after the break, on hindsight a weakness as Grilled's two trainees didn't exert themselves because of that. Grilled began to go short on chances, after Joe Stern
missed his chance to kickstart his season in the 51st minute, sending the ball into row Z. shoot'n'save got on the wrong side of some hackneyed tackling, with Rottman and Seng-Huat yellow carded and their right winger Lim Ting Kiong substituted in a seperate incident. Riviera teased with some excellent balance that confounded observers as to why he has never been given a first team tryout, but were answered in part by his inability to deliver the final ball.
shoot'n'save then resurfaced in the last ten minutes, even as key midfielder Cheong Guang Ying went off for Lai Kok Jin. Chong Chi Qiang, who began to assert himself against Riviera again, set off a breakaway that ended in a corner, his team's first of the game. Goalkeeper Abd Jamil bin Mohd Esahar ran the length of the pitch for the corner, leaving them open to a fast counter - which never came, as substitute Yao Tian tucked in behind Harlow as Grilled's defenders watched. Not too many players' maiden goals come against S-League teams, and the blood appeared to have rushed to Yao Tian's head as he got booked for a rash challenge straightaway. Rottman was the victim, and he had to make way for Stanton.
Even with two first-team midfielders showing their stuff, memories of last season's disappointing loss on penalties to total destruction in the same round refused to disappear. Stanton looked in bad need of a warm-up, and shoot'n'save ran rings around Grilled all too often. Just when another goal looked unavoidable, the referee called the contest to a halt.