bagged his maiden league goal on his fourth attempt, and it was sixteen minutes from being the match-winner when American national striker Mikey Willard put forehead to corner to put an end to Clair Harlow
's proud run of almost 350 minutes of competitive goalkeeping without letting in a goal.
Buoyed by Grilled's solid if unspectacular outings, spectators turned out in force to watch the Birds host FC RaZer Infernus, who saw off Hattrick all the time through a solitary goal. Grilled had banked on heavy defence to contain Herron in a drab affair, so a goalfest was never in the reckoning. Cynical challenges from both sides peppered the starting minutes, and there appeared little danger when Ma Dai-Lin
moved down his wing in the eleventh minute.
34 year-old Norwegian defender Terje Dahl opted for a calculated tackle however, and Dai-Lin showed him a clean pair of heels with a surprising turn. He eschewed the cross in for a cut-back to Siu-Yue, who managed to pivot a ground pass to Langeland. With a deft poke, Langeland put it beyond Mak Jiao-Long to rouse the crowd.
Two minutes later, Grilled might have built up a comfortable two-goal lead as defensive midfielder Shen Kek-Tjiang
chugged up to unleash a shot from a few metres outside of the area. Comrades and opponents alike, expecting a pass, were rendered immobile as the ball floated teasingly onto the top of the crossbar, vanishing behind the net.Jon Andrea Rottman
put in an assured showing as Stanton's replacement, and together Grilled's five midfielders just barely shut off RaZer's supply lines. Their pairing of Heikki Leinonen with Willard ranks up there among Singapore's finest, but without possession they were not in a position to do damage. Langeland got into the spirit of things with a regrettably horrible swing at Mun-Nee's legs in an effort to win back the ball. Without consultation, referee Paolo Lo Iacono went for his black book.
The second half was marked by a concerted Grilled campaign to ward off attacks, as they defended in deep like the previous week. Still, Swedish wingback Thomas Tellbrant was unfortunate not to level when his curling free-kick cleared Grilled's five-man wall and crashed into the left post with Harlow well beaten. Grilled had their own golden opportunity to finish matters when former Under-20 international Zou Tsu-Yee made a bad backpass that saw Jiao-Long in a race he looked like losing with Grilled's flying winger Aznan Noor Yadah
. The Malay player did get to the ball first, but was unable to decelerate sufficiently to make a good shot.
Grilled had one foot off the pedal when RaZer retaliated through the redoubtable Mikey Willard. With 72 international caps under his belt and still only 26, Willard displayed his raw power when he made Grilled's massed defenders look like they were standing with a tremendous leap to nod in Tellbrant's inswinging header. Harlow came out to challenge, but never got near Willard before the header came.