Welsh II.2 club Yaak & Boing Sponsor Gloop & Gleep - more concisely known as the Herculoids to their fans and foes - might have won the Cymru Emerald Challenger Cup just a few seasons ago, but they would completely unravel against Grilled's selection. Then again, essentially none of that squad had survived to the season, with luminaries like the finals-winning former Austrian international Alexander Reischl all having moved on. Their Pakistani head coach Hussein Ul-Haq had refreshed the team well, though, and with new stars such as American playmaker Chase Woodham, most had expected a close game, especially if Herculoids were able to seize the initiative.
The pride of Powys weren't too far from that in the initial taking of measures, with Bhavya Panigrahi
nearly made to look silly by big German forward Cunradt Krummensee more than once. It would quite clearly be a head-on test of who could impose their will on the other, with neither willing to compromise on their fixation on the centre. When the balance finally started shifting, it would be in Grilled's favour, and Vikram Mudaliar
swept the opening goal to Teodoro Galindo's near post with practised accuracy, in the 20th minute.
That wouldn't change the game much, with Herculoids knowing no back-up plan, not that Grilled didn't relish the honest trading of attacks themselves. It was in this flurry of exchanges that Moey Xin Seng
doubled the Birds' lead, dodging around Diego Maisto's lunge to deliver the drive. Herculoids pulled one back shortly afterwards in the 36th minute, as Barbados striker Aaron Granderson read Woodham's corner better than any of Grilled's defenders.
Granderson's defiance would be but a lull in the coming storm, though Herculoids just about kept themselves in the game from Galindo's nonstop heroics, following Chan Ze Han
's strike in the 41st minute. Mudaliar and Chu Xin Lee
had thunderous strikes warded aside by the goalkeeper before half-time rolled around, and he would be on his toes again when Kalle ter Berg
went for broke quite convincingly, 62 minutes in.
Not even Galindo would be able to bail Herculoids out indefinitely, however, with Grilled having established largely-uncontested supremacy in midfield by this stage. Wolf Luibl and Rassoul Fadiga found themselves pressed into the unfamiliar task of defending, which did them no favours. Kalle would have his own back several minutes later in a way, as he deflected a corner kick well enough for Kalki Parvathaneni
to mop up for 4-1.
That sequence also saw Luibl called out by the referee for his wild off-the-ball knockdown of Bernie Egan
, which had some of the closer Grilled players making to step in for a confrontation. Luibl would stay on the field in the end, and the Birds' fury would be sated in a timely manner by Moey's stylish finish. The opponents' kick-off had gone astray, and mere seconds later, Moey would find himself dancing past Galindo, as Grilled manufactured a two-on-one from that bungle.
That said, Panigrahi hadn't had a particularly easy time of it, and seemed almost relieved when he was taken off for Gilbert Webb
, with twenty minutes to go. That was enough time for Kalle ter Berg
to find his goal - coming from the left side for once - and Kalki to put the cherry on top with a spectacular unsighted volley.