Alex Conquers, Nearly
Grilled's grip on Division Two football remained uncertain, even if they managed to score thrice against newbies are newbies for the sixth straight meeting. They had appeared to be on easy street after an Alex Fonseca
double was crowned by Tian Yonghang
's slick 67th minute goal, but they then took their collective feet off the pedal, and conceded through two incisive counterattaks from the visitors.
newbies kept a defensive 4-5-1 with former Chemistry striker Isa Ansori bin Saiban leading the line, and facing pressure after two barren outings. Despite his scoring woes, his eye for a pass was a sight to behold in the seventh minute, as he played in new S$3 million wingback Zhang Kanghang, who left Stacey standing still with a snappy finish that Isa himself would have been proud of.
That opener, which was completely against the run of play, might have deflated Grilled's spirits, had Alex Fonseca
not responded instantly with a tap-in from a corner. The midfielder, who had not scored since the opening-day defeat to Arrogancae, looked to have crowded experienced newbies goalkeeper Wang You De as he reached for Chow Ying Lee
's headed attempt, but the referee saw nothing wrong with that, and let the goal stand.
Wang, who had faced Grilled four times before with Pudgy Penguins, was at Fonseca's mercy once more twenty minutes later as the Birds' patient build-up culminated with a gap opening up right down the middle. The Portugeuse had seen enough in his long career to immediately attack the space, and newbies' central defenders could not regroup quickly enough to prevent Fonseca from knocking a second in.
, who has made the attacking centerback role his, then went on yet another of his surprise devil-may-care dashes through a host of midfielders who were unsure whether to track the crazy dash. None of them did, to the fury of Wang, who had to pull out all the stops to keep Chinchay's bullet shot from ripping through his net.
Grilled's confidence carried over into the next half, and victory seemed all but assured after Mohd Safri was tangled up by a newbies defender in the 52nd minute. Referee Kolya Vazquez blew immediately for the infringement and awarded a penalty, but designated taker Yvan Lefébure
put it marginally wide.
The team probably thought that this miss would not matter after Tian Yonghang
outshone his more illustrious peers to compensate with a third some time later, beginning his move with a very creative drag-the-ball trick that will likely be replicated across Jurong playgrounds for the next week.
They were mistaken, as Yvan's day got steadily worse. His excellent free-kick minutes later careened off the inside of the post and to Wang, who sparked a rapid break from his long throw, which ended with Ler Ho Yi slipping through temporary defender Seytek Djekshenkulov
to make it 3-2.
That was not the end of the Frenchman's rotten fortune, as he again hit the woodwork three minutes later, which again led to a newbies goal, this time thanks to U-20 winger Yue Haoping, who remained alert after Isa appeared to have messed up a quick free-kick.
There was little that coach Han Lik-Tsun
could do other than shake his head wryly and make his way back to the bench. Han did make several late substitutions, but they had no impact as Grilled were left with the prospect of finishing a full season without The Cooking Pot seeing a single league win, something that has never happened in the club's entire history.