Little more than a week after Grilled lost to a Western club in the Cup, they suffered another derby day defeat at the hands of Codingin Football Club. Grilled may have taken something back from St James Park had their strikers not been mired in abysmal form, and once Codingin took an early lead, there was no way back.
Darkened skies reduced the turnout, and less than fifty thousand souls made their way to watch the game; Quite a few had not even made it to their seats when a roar went up, with fullback Anders Fredgård
capping a wonderful sweeping move by breaking through against the home side's backline.
Never a polished finisher, the Swedish defender did not make up his mind on which corner to attack, and Codingin's Polish goalkeeper Andrzej Pakiet had the home support breathing easy with a commanding stop. Fredgård was still pleased enough to give his opponent a rub on the head, but he would look back and wonder what might have been had he hit the target.
Codingin were not exactly riding high after coming off successive defeats against Herron and Winning Eleven, failing to score in both matches, but in their defense those two are probably the frontrunners for this season's title. Moreover, both fixtures were away, making a positive result doubly difficult.
Grilled controlled most of the game, but were shellshocked by the strong Claes Månsson in the 22nd minute. Coming off a seemingly tame chesting down of a meaningless high ball, he pushed past Sid with embarrassing ease and zipped by the unprepared Fredgård. Having disposed of his two markers in an instant, Månsson didn't need any backup to slam a medium-height scorcher past Sulaiman.
Grilled refused to open their eyes, and six minutes later they were punished again. Ex-U-20 Codingin loyalist midfielder Kok Leng Li had been singled out as the man to watch, but Paullin was guilty of ball-watching when Kok showed it to him. Realising that Paullin never intended to tackle, Kok shifted his weight, sprinted down the middle and let loose a tremendous strike that Sulaiman could not get to.
Codingin were more than happy to defend with that second goal as insurance, and as has so often occurred this season, Grilled ran out of ideas. Kadak earned some points for his relentless direct runs, but he was outnumbered time and again. His greatest chance came after Quah sliced the home side's defence in two with a surgical low cross, but Kadak got the wrong foot to the ball and left it inches wide.
It was sad testimony to Grilled's paucity of chances, that S$5.3 million ex-Dutch national winger Hendrik-Jan Boroffka claimed the moment of the second half as well. His best days may be behind him, but Boroffka retained the bang in his boots that had been his trademark. His 25 metre grounder, hit on the run, bounced in front of Sulaiman, but the Egyptian keeper kept his frame squarely in its path to keep it out.
Frenk Baselier received the only booking of the game in the 75th minute for delaying a Grilled free kick, but it was of scant use to a Grilled side which slid another place down the S-League table with their third defeat of the season.