Never Rains But Snos
An Keng On
Snohodez might have sprung a huge trap on LAVINO QUAY last week, but there would be no hope of a second slaying act at The Cooking Pot, where the Birds condemned them to the same 0-7 drubbing that they had dealt out earlier in the season. This was not an unfair reflection of the relative strengths of the two clubs either, and the loud home support especially enjoyed Lim An Keng
's first league goal of the season, and his first in 14 competitive appearances, since Ocean's 1q towards the end of the previous one.
Snohodez boss Mah Kiong Aik saw no reason to downplay the expected outcome, not when they had lost all their games but one thus far in III.1, and while his players were not entirely defeatist, there simply wasn't much in the tank to stop the likes of Federico Parada
. Austin Lee knew what was coming, but simply could not stay with the Bolivian ex-international as he flashed by in the sixth minute to open, and Parada's next contribution would be an assist for Chan Ze Han
in the 15th, prematurely quashing speculation as to whether the man's scoring streak would continue.
The odds on Chan's run being ended by Snohodez were suitably long at the official bookmakers before the match started, and punters would have gotten a much better return had they backed Lim to finally score again - none the least because Chan had dashed those hopes anyway. The crowd had been egging the frequent Man Of The Match to try his luck quite often before this, and Lim would finally heed their advice, after defender Lin Puay Feng showed him the inside. The grounder was fierce enough, and Abhishek Kumar failed to keep it out despite getting some fingers on it.
The points had to be in the bag at 3-0, but the Birds were hardly done, what with a considerable goal difference to be made up on Phantasm Hotspurs. It was a small miracle that 18 year-old centreback Tang Kiong Wei had lasted 26 minutes before getting a yellow, from the number of risky tackles he had been forced to fling himself into, and it wouldn't be enough to stop Chad Thach
from slinging a fourth home from the left. Kumar did have his highlight for the day a few minutes later, as he saw through Chan's extravagant feint, and stuck a leg out to deny.
Mohd Marzuki Khairul
and Ibnou Balde
seemed plainly unhappy to be missing out on the action, as the camera zoomed in on their faces in the dugout after half-time was over; it was Chia and Tokarz to have their shot at buffing their personal statistics, but as it turned out, neither would score today. They were certainly not helped by Snohodez's fighting spirit, and Lin Puay Feng even came close to finding Austin Lee with a forty-yard pass in the 53rd minute, after Lee had gambled on a run deep up the right. A shame about his control, then.
Chia Kwang Tse
's time came on the hour, as he worked his way about the perimeter of the visitors' penalty area, before putting all he had into a resounding right-booted strike that whizzed narrowly by the near post. Referee Hamdi Omair Al-Majlaby had spotted something, though, and the replay confirmed his sharpness, as it showed the shot getting diverted by Leow Jin Shun's elbow. The penalty was thus given, and Chan Ze Han
outwitted Kumar with a cheeky dink down the middle for five.
Ler How Da had been defending from the front with little recompense or even impact for much of the game, and none could accuse him from not having done his part when he had to leave in the 65th minute after aggravating an old injury to his right foot. Mak Jia Choon took over and immediately joined the besieged, with Joe Reece
's on-and-off shooting not coming good. He rocked the crossbar about five minutes later after some great approach work by Thach, and it was instead Damian Hutter
who put it past Kumar under appreciably less pressure, on Grilled's following possession.
Snohodez retained pride to play for, and a tricky attempt at getting a consolation might have come off after 77 minute, had Nic John not gotten a little tug on his shirt by Hutter at the right moment. John's complaints went begging with Hamdi not witnessing Hutter's exercise of the defensive dark arts, and attention would go instead to Grilled's final substitute Bhavya Panigrahi
, who scored the seventh immediately after replacing Aw Keng Chuan