Roll On Robbie
repeated a league brace for the first time since his first season with Grilled Birds, when he achieved the feat against Quipersss and Pearl Divers towards the end of a III.15 campaign; the recipients this time were KTH FC and Robbie Football Club, the latter who were entirely passive in today's Jurong derby.
Robbie Football Club had been on a four match winning streak before being narrowly edged by S-League side Haha in the Singapore Cup, having sensationally already knocked out reigning holders Random Curiosity FC. Their calling card - defence - was as strong as ever, despite that loss, and with no other major squad concerns, 35 year-old Finn Antti Ravi led them out at The Cooking Pot.
The temperature was, however, one. A break in the constant thunderstorms had conspired to produce a hot and muggy day, with thermometers showing a good 33 degrees. This, moreover, meant a fast pitch, and Florus Romijn
wasn't one to let a good environment up - Kalki Parvathaneni
had provided the first impetus with his prying dribble in the fourth minute, and with Dániel Beraczka occupied, all Romijn had to do was to shake Chow Rong Yao off for an open shot. Goalkeeper Thomas Vella got down well, but not nearly fast enough.
The Birds were off to the races here, and the supporters responded with some of the loudest volume that the stadium had heard for ages. Some part of that was reserved for Moey Xin Seng
, who was finally back near his very best, after a patchy year. With his injuries - both physical and mental - now seemingly behind him, the longtime skipper was a rock between Davlatov and Bilal in midfield.
It was the acting captain who created the second goal, though. Few saw what Chan Ze Han
did when it happened, but replays would display his little heel-drag while under heavy marking, in its full glory. None of the defenders knew where the ball had gone, but Kalki Parvathaneni
saw what was going on, and moved first to score. Referee Stefan Kuzev was not wholly convinced that he was onside, however, and would confer with his linesman for some time before awarding the goal.
The day was going almost too well for Grilled, up until Bilal Mohammad Harun
hurt his own right ankle, in tackling Martin Holm. Chu Xin Lee
came on missing nary a beat, a testament to the Birds' depth in the midfield department. Robbie Football Club weren't getting the ball to Egert Ärm, who tried to stake out wide right to little avail, and their frustrations were manifest by Antti Ravi's very optimistic hit from over thirty yards.
The break didn't do much for the visitors' outlook, and Grilled only revved up if anything. There was running to spare in Moey Xin Seng
as he brought the ball all the way up from the centre circle in the 51st, with none of the defenders wanting anything to do with him; Ravi was struggling to stay onto him, but perhaps did enough to throw the grounder off - it would be stopped by the far post and collapsed upon by Vella.
Vella would bail his team out big time in the 58th minute, as he reached a curler from Chu Xin Lee
that he had no right to. The Birds were relentless, that notwithstanding, and were particularly active on the left side. While their third goal would start from Cyril Künzler
's interception and sprint up the right side, it was again Romijn's off-the-ball movement that went into the finish.
Victory all but assured, Grilled might have gotten more through Chan Ze Han
and Islom Davlatov
, were it not for excellent goaltending from the overworked Vella. RFC's best opportunity at a consolation would arrive in the 79th minute, when Gilbert Webb
's loss of concentration let Egert Ärm through. Fortunately, Massoud Dob
hadn't been dozing off too, despite the lack of action in his area, and he rushed over to clear to the touchline.
With no further notable developments, Noubaryan would retire Yuta Natakita and Florus Romijn
as full time approached, to a rousing reception from the happy home fans.