Return Of The King
While they may not be too eager to overexert themselves with the final weekend looming, Grilled found the time to rustle up a side to face the newly-founded All The King Men, spiritual successor to the All The King's Men club that they last played over thirty seasons ago. That incarnation is now defunct after several rebrandings as Ocean's XI, Cairnhill Utd and most recently Guerrero Rojo C.F., but if how newcomer Chung Yao Jia tore apart the Birds' reserves is any indication, ATKM do have an exciting future.
Cruelly reminded of the vagaries of the football gods by Santosh Manik's injury yesterday, Niculae Stanca
was not going to allow more than a couple of first-teamers in this friendly game, and Liang Liyong
was asked to provide stability at the back, while the red-hot Tian Yonghang
added glamour up front. Chia Kwang Loong overwhelmed the Birds' callow midfield with ease, however, and the spirited midfielder was not about to lose another one after being hammered 9-2 by Villains F.C. in ATKM's inaugural match.
Chia and Chung scored in that defeat, but would enjoy this far more as they faced far less battle-hardened footballers. Pompeo Bellamoli
was one exception, but he overdid it with his rough-and-tumble designed to rile Tan Lee Ming up. Tan didn't take the bait, and the referee obliged with a yellow for the disbelieving Italian.
Despite not getting anywhere in midfield, Grilled did at least have Liang to depend on to sweep up, but he would ironically be the cause of ATKM's first goal as tall Kenneth Tse appeared to drop a header onto his ribs. Somehow, the linesman flagged for handball, and after the usual complaints were ignored, Chung stabbed it coolly past Dan Seng
Chung would get his second after 26 minutes, as Sandy Fu
was given the runaround by some sweet circling from Mo Tse Yau. Colby Awyong
stopped as the ball was swung around him for some reason, and Chung was happy enough to pop up and sidefoot it over Seng.
Grilled were not completely short on vigour, and Leong Wan Kang
reminded the spectators of his presence, when Dennis Kong
connected with a long pass for once. The ATKM defenders were far more concerned about Tian, not without good reason, but Leong made them regret underestimating him as he glided through to clip it classily past Khaw De Kwang.
This Grilled team had too many weaknesses, sadly, and Tse restored his side's two-goal advantage three minutes later. Grilled were all at sea when he went up together with Chew Eng Yao uncontested, and it was probably only because they got in each others' way that Seng could block the effort. However, it dropped right in front of Tse, who reacted as expected.
A fourth arrived before half-time, as Chung's matched his two goals with two assists. The ball was played this way and that on an indirect free-kick, and eventually went back to designated taker Chung, who slid it right to Mo coming in from the right. Liyong slid in immediately, but Mo's rising shot evaded him.
Lin An Chu
put the Birds back another goal four minutes after the restart, as he broke forward intelligently after a change of possession inside the centre circle. That proved nothing but a brief respite, though, as ATKM came back stronger than ever, and leftback Chew Eng Yao increased their lead to 5-2 after decisive interpassing had scattered Grilled's backline.
Chung then celebrated a hat-trick after yet another handball, but there was little to complain about this one, as Tan Lee Min clearly put it into the arm of Colby Awyong
; what made it worse for the defender was that it was curling wide anyway. Chung didn't care too much, and picked the same corner as his first attempt to claim the match ball.