Safe And Sound
Booking A Spot
So Grilled ended the season as they began, with a 5-0 win over Geylang Eagles United. With Herron defeating FC RaZer Infernus, the result was sufficient for Grilled to creep into fourth place and a ticket into next season's S-League, their best showing by far in three seasons in the top flight.
Geylang Eagles had one last chance to score their first S-League points, but thirteen league defeats would surely take a toll on any team's confidence. Grilled on the other hand needed a win to avoid a potential pitfall in the qualifiers, and paraded much their strongest lineup, sans the suspended Dani Spirig
. Mindful of Geylang's three strikers, Grilled also opted to recall a specialized defender in Lan Tuan-Mu
to central defence.
It began ominously for Geylang, as Langeland, who scored a hat-trick against them in the last meeting between the sides, forced mid-season signing Daniel Morais into a fantastic reflex save. Rottman placed a shot across the face of goal, whistling just over the bar in the 14th minute. The short goal-kick was won by Langeland due to a loss of concentration by the defence, and Martinsson winged in to get the last touch on Langeland's strike.
Tuan-Mu returned from a long absence in the best way possible, as the 32 year-old threw himself at a long inswinging cross by Han Kok on the right flank. Morais wasn't expecting a shot of such quality with Tuan-Mu contorted in mid-air, and was taken in when the ball whizzed between him and the near post.
With a commanding lead established, Grilled entered their comfort zone and orchestrated most of the midfield to their fancy. They ran the clock down by refusing to make a single risky pass, and created only one more chance before half-time, a rather tame diving header by Rottman thet Morais cradled without difficulty.
No changes were made in the interval, but Grilled were decidedly more active in pushing the ball up. With the S$14 million van Liere warming the bench, Grilled lacked a real spark on the flanks, but were still good enough to manufacture crosses with clockwork regularity. Stanton volleyed one in two minutes from the restart.
Geylang's faithful fans, who must be relieved that the next season must be an improvement, were rather indifferent when the referee controversially whistled for a penalty. Danny Rankin's arms around Martinsson during a free-kick was a run-of-the-mill act, but Martinsson fell backwards and the referee was taken in. Shrugging, Martinsson put the ball into the bottom right corner with Morais hardly moving.
Martinsson and Falkbo had close calls with good strikes, but the honour of the last goal of the season fell to the fast-rising Quah Han Kok
. Han Kok had scored six times for Grilled in the Cup, but was still waiting for an S-League goal. He finally got his on a magnificent solo effort, beating Dutch fullback Coen Cassen for pace before swirling a deceptive shot into the net.