Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
placed one hand on the league scoring crown with a gutsy hat-trick against visiting Siegmund United, who might have felt hard-done by the one-sided 6-1 scoreline. They probably deserved more than that, from their frequent wing raids by Glen Abernathy and Feddo Heersema, but the Birds were in their element in the rain.
Grilled actually were in danger of letting themselves down in the opening exchanges, with Siegmund far more up for a scrap. They should probably have gone ahead first, but were put off by the wet conditions, with Dutch forward Daan Hemelrijk more often than not ending on his backside whenever he attempted to utilize his fearsome pace. After a few embarrassments and an ineffectual change of studs, Hemelrijk decided to tone his game down, which severely limited Siegmund's threat down the left.
Mohd Safri bin Mohd Kassim
had no such issues with the weather, as he slogged through the turf, whatever it looked like, with his usual strength of will. For the first, he seemed to have lost out when Siegmund captain Kwan Ze Su stepped in, but a lucky bounce off their feet left the ball in the right spot for Mohd Safri to peg home with his less-favoured left foot.
Siegmund's fortunes continued their downwards spiral as Grilled continued with a lu Zunwen
contribution that should not have been - the midfielder was looking the other way when Abdul bin Jantan
powered a very hard and very wild cross in from the right touchline, but French wingback Laurent Crespin cleared it against the midfielder and, to his horror, saw the rebound sneak in at the post.
The returning Chow Ying Lee
had no sympathy, as he drove at the heart of the Siegmund defence to make it three-nil within the next minute. The Siegmund players, who had gone five league matches without a win, were now simply focused on making it to half-time without collapsing completely, and national goalkeeper Mohd Azmani bin Hasyim did his part with a miraculous save off Tian Yonghang
The visitors regrouped during the interval, but their confidence had nevertheless taken a solid blow. A couple of interesting moves down the flanks petered out after being dragged out, and Mohd Safri was back to show the virtue of being sharp in attack, with an utterly straightforward drive-and-shoot goal in the 56th minute.
Four up, Niculae Stanca
decided to rest Abdul bin Jantan
and let Shiya Shaahee
loose on the right, which gave Andreu Amengual something to think about. Attention swiftly shifted to Seytek Djekshenkulov
after the Kyrgyzstani went all in on Markus Schlager, and the fans were relieved to see referee Kjetil Hauge running up with only a yellow card in his hand.
Siegmund then got the goal they deserved. Abernathy finally skinned Qassem Madaini
with a perfectly-composed stepover in the 72nd minute, and laid it backwards into the space in front of the onrushing Edmundo Gaitán. The Argentine regular held his nerve to lure Dexter Stacey
off his line before applying the finishing touch with a fine chip.
The visitors now had the Birds on the run, and cards for Zhu Changchun
and Chow Ying Lee
will see them sit out next Sunday's trip to Phantasm Hotspurs. In between, Feddo Heersema had a great chance to bag another for Siegmund, but his effort wound up being disappointing.
Grilled took Ling Fuquan
off for Liang Liyong
as they looked satisfied with seeing out a 4-1 win, but Shiya Shaahee
had other ideas. After winning a free-kick on the right flank, he waited patiently for Tian Yonghang
to help it on after Qassem Madaini
dropped it into the penalty area, and mopped it up for only his second ever league goal for the Birds.
Daan Hemelrijk could have brightened up a rotten day at the office with another consolation for Siegmund, but couldn't get it on target, and it was again left to Mohd Safri to hog the limelight with a last-minute scorcher to complete his hat-trick.