Barra Bite Back
Grilled's shiny 17-game unbeaten to the season start and 11-game winning streak was consigned to the history books by a fluent bottom-placed Barracuda, but 28 year-old Tim Hobson
made his first competitive match for three seasons and his first league match for six, scoring a goal into the bargain.
Grilled had both eyes on the midweek clash with Team Singapore, and gamely called Tim Hobson
back into the first team to rest the players with two cautions, creating a minor sensation. Many fans thought it was a belated April's Fool joke, and were only able to stare goggle-eyed as the Timinator himself ran out at the head of the squad.
Barracuda are a better team than many give them credit for, especially at home, and their main target man Anders Johansson didn't forgive an elementary error by captain Luis Alcántara
in the fourth minute. Alcántara tried to herd the ball out, but Stigbjörn Nyquist came in from the outside and got in the way. He then sent in an assist that Johansson converted from close range.
It was strangely one-sided for much of the first half, as Grilled, devoid of attacking flair, didn't have any ideas on the ball. Kek-Tjiang exerted little influence on the side, and Paullin wilted in the burning sunlight. They were fortunate that Gong Shui-Hao was going through a bad patch, as he somehow contrived to screw up two decent chances.
Grilled finished the half strongly though, as Asher Stanton
created something from nothing as he changed the direction of attack in an instant with a no-look lob. Martinsson happened to be the only one on the field in that region, and he leveraged on a good first touch to smash the ball straight in. Martinsson came very close with a brilliant free-kick seconds later, but Swedish keeper Fredrik Gottsjö made a wonderful save this time round.
Stanton ran at the loose ball from deep, and was upended near the corner of the penalty area by Barracuda's Ante Grao. His protestations went over the head of the referee, who eventually pulled out the yellow card for dissent after Stanton spat while walking off.
Alcántara had a terrible day as Nyquist didn't allow him any time on the ball, and in the 47th minute lost out again. Grilled were slow to retreat, and Barracuda's youth trainee Ang Chao Wan unleashed a grounder that Clair Harlow
let slip under him. Tim Hobson
then added to his legend as he pounded through the opponents' central defence with typical doggedness, and his first shot of the day counted as his 63rd career goal.
Grilled were on the lookout for a draw as Barracuda displayed unabated hunger, but with only two accomplished defenders on the field it was a herculean task. Alcántara was mostly a passenger as he appeared unnaturally sluggish and was little help against Barracuda's width, and Nyquist got his nomination for Man of the Match with a sweeping cross that did most of the work for Chao Wan to score from a free header.