Stern Debut Stunner
Latest signing Joe Stern
took two on a shady day which suited his hard-running style, though Dai-Lin was feted as Grilled's Man of the Match for his holistic performance, capped off with a arrogant piece of finishing which provoked the travelling contigent no end. Stern was paired off with out-of-favour American striker Miguel Reed
, who though no mean free kick taker himself deferred to the Canadian when a golden opportunity presented itself when Chinatown's hardman Woo Tzung ran into him just outside the left corner of the penalty box. If the position troubled the left-footed Joe, he certainly did not show it as he dispatched a thunderous shot through the wall and past Per Bengtsson. Sima Pak-Hong was a constant thorn in Grilled's side as he picked apart the midfield on occasion. Ironically, he may have indirectly assisted in Grilled's wondorous five-minute spurt just before half-time as he ran Zhan Ju-Hau
into the ground. He was subbed for Stanton as a precaution, and Stanton instantly made his presence felt as he cut the ball to the unmarked Aznan Noor Yadah
with the sole of his boots. Chinatown's defense hadn't expected that, but neither did Yadah, and the best chance in free play thus far went a-begging. Aznan was miffed by that and it added some fire to his play, as he broke the Chinatown line three minutes later to pass Reed a ball that he dropped into the far corner of goal. Next came Dai-Lin's immaculate ball control as he outfoxed both Li-Jin and Bengtsson to tap into an empty net. Highly-touted Ma Li-Jin had to have suffered a really bad day as Joe Stern
put on his afterburners to go past him and hit Grilled's fourth, just as the referee blew for half-time. There was a moment's deliberation as the officials debated whether to let the goal stand, and in the end it did.
Chinatown came back biting in the second half, against a Grilled side little less anxious to pile on the goals. Aksala Chandra made a few half-chances, which the Chinatown forwards never got to in time. Chinatown were looking the more dangerous of the two sides as the game wore on, but they very nearly were undome during another short Grilled spurt in the middle of the half as Tellskär hit the woodwork and Stern hit Bengtsson, who quite bravely hurled straight himself into the ball. A little closer, and Bengtsson would have been eating Stern's boots, but as it was he denied Stern a certain goal and debut hattrick. Chinatown were heartened by that, and Sima Pak-Hong set a good example by getting on the receiving end of a triangular pass from Wen-Zhong and hoisting it out of Bao-Tam's reach. The consolation goal attained, Chinatown tried for a second but time ran out on them.