It was a perfect ending to a perfect league season, as Grilled Birds put Joker 9 to the sword, before their adoring home support, to finish with a perfect 42 points. This absolutely destroyed their previous record at this level, a 35-point effort fifty seasons back in II.1, in which they didn't even win the resulting qualifier; other Division Two-winning campaigns have seen the Birds manage with between 30 to 34 points.
While this distinction was on the line for Grilled, visitors Joker 9 had something far more concrete on their minds - survival. Realistically, they would be able to confirm a playoff place with a draw, and they had run the Birds reasonably close in the season opener. Although former national U-20 striker Tay Tong Leong had since moved on to Slovakia's Futbalový klub Mladosť, they had retained the rapidly-improving Tan Cheng Yao and Ho Ah Kian; with Radomir Hołówka also returning to midfield, this was arguably a stronger team than before.
Joker 9 were unfortunate, then, that they were up against a Grilled team at their peak. Even famously-critical pundits were hard-pressed to identify a true weak link in this lineup, but even so, the raw viciousness of Grilled's initial drives remained unfamiliar to observers. With the visitors having kept to their 2-5-3, goals were never about to be optional in this fixture, and Bilal Mohammad Harun
drove a powerful grounder past Gert-Jan van Boshuizen in just the fifth minute.
Desmond Anderson equalized straight from kick-off for Joker 9, though, after some fancy footwork by Jatin Bhogle on their right wing earned him a clear run almost to the corner flag. Yuta Nakakita
didn't deal with the cross cleanly enough, and after a couple of quick passes, the ball ended up with Anderson, who sliced it home.
No-one could doubt that this match would see much more scoring before the day was through, and the only issue was who would be the ones to do it; this doubt would be clarified pretty soon, as Grilled began to wrench possession away from the Jokers. 16 minutes in, Moey Xin Seng
would provide the lead with a sweetly-worked strike in at the left post - which, as it turned out, the Birds would not look back from.
The productive Cyril Künzler
then made it 3-1 as he saw an opening cutting in from wide, though Joker 9 weren't completely out of it yet - Massoud Dob
had to stretch to get to Tan Cheng Yao's absolute banger of a right-footer in the 24th minute, and even then, the ball would nearly make it over the line before Dob could recover.
It was then 5-1 by the 29th minute, with Moey first glancing a tight header in despite Chow Puay Hui's close attentions, with Vikram Mudaliar
then rounding van Boshuizen as Joker 9 lost their composure amidst the onslaught. They did weather Grilled to the second half and beyond, and Chow did well to set Desmond Anderson up with an essentially open goal from a corner kick, four minutes after the restart. The youngster panicked, unfortunately.
and Chu Xin Lee
had come on for Grilled by then, with Chu tasked with corralling Bhogle on the left. This was probably not strictly necessary, given Grilled's four-goal advantage, but might have been intended as good practice for future games.
Both substitutes would score within a minute of each other, this after Chan Ze Han
had made it six, with a powerful surge into the middle of the opposition box; Chan had excelled, but in his own understated manner, so the goal was a nice reminder of his importance. The big star of the day was undeniably Moey Xin Seng
, however, as the Birds captain completed his first-ever senior hat-trick with a flourish in the 69th minute.
Indeed, many in the stadium looked surprised when that fact was put up on the big screen - as were, amusingly enough, quite a few of the 28 year-old's own teammates. Anyway, there remained a job to be completed, and Kalki Parvathaneni
made it into the double figures with a top-class final ball from Chu; Bernie Egan
then came on for Vikram Mudaliar
for the last ten minutes, which saw Gilbert Webb
scramble onto the scoresheet too - everyone's invited!