Tham And Again
Two training fixtures in three days before fighting for survival isn't every coach's idea of a sensible plan, but Farmer Bunnies' Dalibor Kostadinović
had no qualms in accepting this arrangement against Welsh II.1 side CandyAngels. "Why not?" he said. "It's not as if either of our styles are especially exhausting, and it should be good to be on our toes."
As agreed, the kings of Gwent and former Cymru Consolation Cup holders engaged the Buns from a mutually-defensive stance, from a 4-3-3 into a concentrated attack each time. Thursday's first attempt ended 1-0 to Bunnies to Tham Leng Teck
's 75th minute strike, after a relatively busy first half that only really got going with Robert Williams' impulsive twenty-five yarder - that almost made it, mind - in the twentieth minute.
Buns captain Tham decided the rematch too, but this would be comparatively more hectic, with Hugh Hallworth and Stevie Chester equalizing after forwards Mushtag Al-Nameeri
and Ibrahim Zahran Al-Maashany
had put the Bunnies ahead in turn. Stevie Chester's magnificent free-kick in the 66th then seemed to have won it for CandyAngels, but Mushtag Al-Nameeri
had one last card to play, and blew by Hallworth with six minutes remaining, to take it into extra time.
There would be no attempts worth the mention in the following half-hour, and both clubs converted their first five penalties in the shoot-out without any issues. Vivian Grubenmann
would guess correctly to deny former Welsh international Ieuan Lacey on their sixth kick, however, and who else could it be, but Tham who would step up to arc it over Michael Rutland, with zero hesitation.
"Let's just hope to keep our sharpness into tomorrow's finale." the skipper expressed afterwards. "That's probably dealt with some of the problems that had surfaced in our being knocked out by Peru's ,sk, from the Pacific Cup last week."