Orest Comes Of Age
Grilled Birds kicked off Season 86 proper with an 8-0 steamrolling of IV.13 side Clementi Town, who had only been recently reformed from the former Bloody Bastards FC, and had not yet dipped into the transfer market. Clementi Town head coach Matthew Thao would stick to the basics with a bog-standard 4-4-2, and while his men could not be faulted for doing their part, this was never going to be enough against a blossoming Birds selection out for goals.
Clementi Town actually did really well in containing far superior opposition for nearly twently minutes, with Siu Shi Kum improvising smartly in numerous forced rearguard actions. The sheer fitness and experience gap between them and Grilled would tell, though, and after nineteen minutes, Joe Reece
brute-forced his way inside for a sweet finish. Two minutes later, a dynamic Brian Reddy
breezed past both defenders on the right, and his cross went right to Chia Kwang Tse
, inviting a simple header for 2-0.
The day however belonged to 22 year-old Polish striker Orest Tokarz
, who had generally been viewed - not without justification - as something of a bulldozing clean-up guy, best deployed to break defenders' spirits - and perhaps bodies, to a lesser extent. Tokarz would flaunt the more cerebral side of his game in the 30th minute, as he complemented Fererico Parada's movements on the left, with nimble supporting runs. This made a clever penultimate combination with Mohd Marzuki Khairul
possible, and Sim Jian Beng had no chance once the shot left Tokarz's foot.
Parada got on the scoreboard himself on a straightforward penalty take in the 38th minute, which had Sim barely bothering to move. It was then five at half-time as centreforward Phua Ming Xin
loped onto one of only too many through pass attempts down the middle, but the home fans were laudably not about to be discouraged - having more or less expected these developments all along.
Thao would get his players back into position over the break, but the pace of the match had evidently taken its toll, and they showed few signs of being able to keep up as they had for the first quarter of the game. Phua would ring a stiff grounder off the far post already two minutes in, as Aw Keng Chuan
slipped it to him from a short corner, and Orest Tokarz
would surprise some with an uncharacteristic delicate chip in the 51st minute, for the sixth.
After a brief recess as Grilled slowed it down, the Birds would go back on the offensive around the 65th minute, and there would be confusion in the ranks after Grilled slung it about the final third with a startling assurance. Phua sprinted forward to tap it in, once Andie Nishida had let Khairul's low sweep roll past him without intervention.
Tokarz would then claim the first hat-trick of his professional career, as he finally reverted to his usual style. Long-suffering Clementi Town goalie Sim Jian Beng pulled off a great save in the 71st minute against Parada's precisely-placed curler, but the Pole would be there as Wong Chang Choon tried to get the ball back under control. Wong was never going to stand his ground against Tokarz's presence, and this was a landmark third for Tokarz then.