Grilled Birds 1 - 0 Controlar
League, Season 8517 September 2023 04:30 HTT
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Grilled BirdsControlar
Joe Reece (28)

Season 85D4 - 4League
Season 84L3 - 1League
Season 84W4 - 0League
Season 68W2 - 7Cup
Season 62W3 - 2League

Grasping Second
A Piece Of Ol' Joe

With an outside shot at the title on the line, Grilled Birds faced Woodlands mainstays Controlar at The Cooking Pot, and came away with the requisite three points in this do-or-die matchup. It was a classic game of two halves, with Grilled thumping at the door with escalating urgency as the first progressed, and then a cagey second that had all involved too afraid to make any mistakes.
This was of course a sea change from the 4-4 draw that the clubs had played out earlier in the season, which had Grilled let a 3-0 lead slip at Sweet Science Arena. Chia Kwang Tse and Egemen Dinçer Ferzan would be notable absences from the starting XI today, with the duo dropped for form issues, with Mohd Marzuki Khairul and Enrique Baena on in their stead. Controlar saw the return of Hong Kong leftback Au Weili, and Low Eng Rong given the nod ahead of Tong Yi Chuan, as they also adopted a narrower 3-5-2 in countering Grilled's main strength.

Controlar had famously not tasted defeat in the previous eleven rounds, having garnered an impressive nine wins and two draws, including a 5-1 thrashing of league leaders Good Luck FC at home. This proud record would soon come under threat by Grilled here, as the Birds took their time in establishing dominance in the middle. Both goalies would admittedly have little to do, until all hell broke loose in the 25th; it began with a spectacular mishap from Enrique Baena, who put far too much on his backwards header, and needed Dimitris Germanakos to claw it off his own crossbar.

Pedro Vasco Conceição Correia would not have much time to ruminate upon his opposite number's troubles himself, as Grilled dealt with the embarassment by getting the ball away from their own box as far and as quickly as they could. This unapologetically direct approach proved effective, as Lim An Keng found Orest Tokarz, and the latter's crisp half-volley crashed off the outside of the post. Correia had that mostly covered, but not so two minutes later when Joe Reece went on the warpath. Iranian central defender Hesam Ferdos tried to keep on him, but Reece switched to the other foot, and it was good enough to get the shot past Correia.

That first goal had the home fans - a healthy seventy-over thousand of them - cheering as one, as the Birds continued to camp out in Controlar's half of the pitch. Tokarz was in a shooting mood today, as evinced from the complete lack of hesitation when the ball bounced towards him in the 34th minute. Unfortunately, his twenty-yarder volley was a mess. Phua Ming Xin would be well on target with his calculated attempt three minutes later, but it was perhaps too obvious as Correia got himself into position well in advance.

One more good chance was left for this half, as Grilled kept faith with what they knew, and it continued to pay dividends. They were really flooding the Controlar penalty area as the final minutes of the half approached, and for all of Masato Ezure's active shielding of his backline, Joe Reece would seize the moment with a sudden pull forward 39 minutes in. As before, his unshakability on the dribble would see him with a clear look at goal, but Correia would get a hand on it this time.

Polish boss Piotr Kolberg seemed a little lost for once as he contemplated his team's options as half-time was indicated, although given their past comeback heroics, Tian Yonghang was obviously not about to relax on such a paltry lead. His concern was perhaps misplaced, though, as Kolberg had Controlar passively waiting through the second half - banking on a single, decisive mistake from Grilled to get themselves back in contention.

This was maybe not entirely unwarranted, given this relatively-callow Grilled's acknowledged habit of overextending themselves in their eagerness to score; and it might have worked too, as Baena was left behind in the 59th minute, with David Ramos racing to keep the ball in before putting his right boot through it... straight into Dimitris Germanakos, who had parked himself at the near post. Replays suggested that the ball might have actually crossed the touchline marginally - and thus it would not have counted anyway - but Croatian referee Adam Gregurić allowed play to go on, considering the save was made.

That was the best that Controlar would create, and the remaining half-chance dropped for Tokarz, who had been perhaps Grilled's hardest worker on the day. Having carried the ball up the right wing, he would leave it with Chad Thach for some seconds, while dashing inside in preparation for the cross, which indeed came to him. With Tan Keng Kwang all over him, it was something of a wonder that Tokarz even managed to bring the ball down, but the final touch was far too heavy.

It wasn't all smooth sailing for Grilled, of course, and with Ramos and Hans Hendrik Biskopstø stepping up their harrying of their tiring defenders towards the close, an equalizer always felt at least a possibility. The Birds would engage in some time-wasting of their own, to the approval of the partisan crowd, and Tian would get them over the line with a dragged-out double substitution of Reece and Baena for Chan Ze Han and Egemen Dinçer Ferzan.

    Sektion Five-Three
    Maker Met
    Well Played There
    Grasping Second
    A Monster Result
    K.A.C.M At Cook Mess
    Galjevica The Same
    Phua Goes Golden
    A Belgian September
    48 To Sixes
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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