Grilled Birds 5 - 3 Abbeydale Hammer
Tournament (Group Phase), Season 8315 January 2023 18:00 HTT
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Grilled Birds
Abbeydale Hammer
Moey Xin Seng (29)
Chan Ze Han (32)
Aw Keng Chuan (51)
Aw Keng Chuan (52)
Paulino Trindade (89)
Nino Spooren (18)
Johnson Usuman (64)
Nino Spooren (65)

Halfway Hammered
Nino Not Enough

The Birds crashed out of The Golden Trophy despite a 5-3 win over English VI.450 frontrunners Abbeydale Hammer, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway after the Blackbirds plotted their way to a point against already-through Karak of the West. Grilled would fall far short on required goal difference in any case, what with a valiant effort from Aw Keng Chuan crippled by honestly just bad defending when it mattered.
The Hammers had scored only once while conceding twelve in the previous two fixtures, which had given Birds supporters some hope of overturning the massive goal deficit they had with the Blackbirds. It quickly became evident that the English side were not as hopeless as they thought, and with player-coach Tony Dengby calling the shots in midfield, the Hammers would put out an imposing blend of power and pace.

This wasn't quite what Grilled had expected, even if they recorded the first shot on target anyway, a tame take by Lim An Keng straight at a relieved Gavin Jolley, after Paulino Trindade had walked it up the left. Far more effective would be Dutch rightback Nino Spooren's late sprint in the wake of Guy Murnane's advance, with Gilbert Webb's challenge only delivering it right to his footsteps. Dimitris Germanakos had already gone to ground, and could only watch on as the aware Spooren scooped it over him.

Now with even more of a mountain to climb, the Birds would continue to chip away, and they would gradually soften the Hammers' resistance; Moey Xin Seng equalized in the 29th minute - and not a moment too soon - with a cleverly-timed peel-off from former Colombian international Alberto Sena, and Chan Ze Han kept it going with a coolly-taken drive under pressure for 2-1, about three minutes later. Jolley then escaped a Panigrahi free-kick that rebounded strongly off the crossbar, with forward Lewis MacColl forced into taking a yellow for the team, after helping out in defence.

This remained far from what the Birds needed to qualify, given that Karsten Schrammek had just put the Blackbirds ahead of Karak in the other game, but there was nothing for it but to soldier on. Chad Thach brought a much-needed freshness to midfield as he replaced Bilal Mohammad Harun at half-time, and this would soon result in an Aw Keng Chuan double. One might have thought that the opponents would have learnt to be circumspect after Aw's first cannonball from the edge of the box, but evidently not so.

Nunes had levelled for Karak in the meantime, but with the announcers then reporting that Karl von der Osten had the Blackbirds in front again, Grilled must have had the premonition that it was not going to be their day. Tian Yonghang wouldn't throw in the towel, however, as he switched out the slowing Moey and Kalki, for the far younger legs of Chia Kwang Tse and Gandhik Chitre, with half an hour left.

This time, the subs would prove decidedly negative, with Chitre's wayward backpass heaping pressure on Chad Thach - who blindly tried to get rid of the ball any way he could. In retrospect, he might have regretted not just putting it behind, as his intended pass to his goalie got seen through by an experienced Johnson Usuman. All that remained was skipping past Germanakos from five yards, which Usuman did after a brief hiccup.

Spooren then struck again as the Hammers swept in from the right side after they crowded Trindade on the sidelines from the restart, and even Tian had to recognize that it was over. Trindade did make up for it some as he continued plugging away deep into injury time - with Chia contributing a delightful outside-foot pass - but that would not affect the bigger picture.

    Kununurra Take Three
    Bigus Dipped
    Eldense Ring Register
    Halfway Hammered
    No Complaints
    Three In The Hole
    The Dragon Conquers
    Lou In The House
    N P In Extra
    Jormungandr Take On Buns
2016-08-01 00:37:41
anonymous: Thanks for the special mention :) I would just like to expre...
2015-08-17 18:50:02
anonymous: excellent read as always!- Yjorn
2015-06-13 03:08:41
anonymous: Rasha say
2014-12-14 16:56:39
gilbertlim: well, it seemed like that.
2014-12-12 18:26:33
anonymous: I didn't play a 4-5-2
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