Pakpao Pitches In
Northern United put up a stiff defence against Grilled, only capitulating on the final goal by defender Nui Pakpao
. German sweeper Fabian Bona
made a theatrical entrance into the side as his first swipe was not at the ball but at Israelite Dov Alberman. The bemused Northern forward fell onto his bottom, but Bona was spared an inauspicious beginning as Alberman's free-kick from the top of the box passed wide of goal.
Up against a well-drilled five man backline, Grilled nevertheless were not shy of shooting, and Earl Barbour
sallied in from the wing to nail a strike into the side netting. Martinsson executed a thoughtful little chip at the far post from a dead ball situation midway through the half, but Singaporean-Japanese Jordan Miyazaki arose to slow the lob.Ulf Hjortlind
figured out a way to trump Northern's three men in the centre, as Asher Stanton
split the young defensemen with a rather plain pass. Hjortlind locked horns with Miki Talker as they ran for it, and the Swede's upper body strength won out as he rammed forcefully into the net. Martinsson made it two quickly, using his ball control to good effect. He made himself a foot of space and again went for the soft option, floating a measured ball over Polish keeper Patryk Sosna.
Northern United had a well-balanced first eleven with no real weaknesses, but their thin midfield was hardly comparable to Grilled's five men there. As Stanton and Paullin kept searching for the key, passing lines had to open up and Hjortlind made the most of a one-on-one matchup, going past the last man on the inside before planting it home over the oncoming goalie. He might have had his hat-trick right after that, as Martinsson abandoned his usual spot over the ball to allow Riviera to curl in a free-kick from the other side. Martinsson's touch made Hjortlind's early run in offside unluckily, so the headed goal did not count.
Grilled laboured against a sprited Northern United which tried to close the doors on the attack, leaving Grilled's players firing from far away as passes into the box were invariably cut out. Nor Suhaimi bin Che Lah
nearly had only his fourth goal for Grilled when he sprinted through a mob contesting for the ball and struck a rising effor that shaved the bar. Pakpao had better fortune, as he wove past a rushing defender with unexpected dexterity to finish off from ten metres.
Northern United were almost given a consolation goal when Asher Stanton
indulged in some of the suicidal defending that has led some to question his place in the first team. With a bunch of teammates available, he instead took on two opponents in the box and lost out to Friedrich Stern. The Austrian left winger had the ascendacy over Harlow, but with Kline unmarked at the far post had a go himself. The strong shot pinged the base of the post, leaving Harlow's goal unbreached in the Cup so far this season.
Martinsson had one last parting shot at the Northern United goal late in the game, but his normal accuracy deserted him as he did not trouble Sosna with a slow attempt that was clearly over the bar.