Welcome To The Third
No Holding Out
Sentosa's Krattene would sustain their first-ever defeat in Division Three at The Cooking Pot, a week after drawing with Sunrise Treasure FC. A first goal would however continue to elude them with young Swiss head coach Jerry Nabholz well aware of the limits of his squad, which had Zakariyya Mohd Syamsuddin plowing a lonely furrow atop a 5-4-1 sitting deep. New big signings Adelaar Caymax and Roger Amich both started in central midfield alongside expat star Daisuke Tanaka, with Caymax donning the armband, but none of this would make them competitive against this Birds team.
With Brian Reddy
suspended, Egemen Dinçer Ferzan
would take his spot on the right, as Tian Yonghang
kept with his usual league XI. Damian Hutter
's lack of concentration would be uncomfortably raised once again, as he languidly stroked a slow pass back towards Dimitris Germanakos
in the second minute, with Grilled having distributed it amongst their defence up to that point. He wasn't aware of Koh Siong Qiang chomping at the bit to catch up, and Germanakos had to scramble it out to touch, before giving Hutter a piece of his mind.
That was as close as Krattene got for a long, long while, as they allowed Grilled to settle into their default pattern, with all too little pushback before it reached their final third. After several half-baked attempts on Mohd Ilyas Baba's goal, Federico Parada
would get in on target with a whipped half-volley from the edge of the box, having let Lim An Keng
's searching ball bounce once as he nosed ahead of Amich. Baba backpedalled, but nowhere near quickly enough to stop Parada's strike from flying in under the crossbar.
Baba was more successful in punching Aw Keng Chuan
's top-class header over in the 21st minute, but that wouldn't keep Grilled out for long, as the corner was played short and then blasted home by Damian Hutter
from the left, which had him rise in the estimation of the home support once more. The Pot wanted goals, from how the stands were singing, and they would have just that; barely two minutes later, Phua Ming Xin
would try his luck after skipping past Sven Pleslić, and the grounder was just hard enough to make it 3-0.
Clever play by Mohd Marzuki Khairul
had the Birds win a free-kick some eighteen yards out that was converted by Parada in the 31st minute, which was how it stayed till half-time. Mindful of the big test against Haha coming up in midweek, Tian Yonghang
withdrew Aw Keng Chuan
for Radovan Jaška
at half-time, not that the reigning Player of the Season had much to contend with before that. Krattene then created their best chance of the day in the 68th minute on a fine pacy counter after Joe Reece
's miss, but Zakariyya smashed it too close to Germanakos, who got his centre of mass behind the shot.
Hutter was next off with fifteen minutes remaining, probably with Tian anticipating heavy wear on his defenders on Wednesday, and Ibnou Balde
got a rare league appearance if at the back. Egemen Dinçer Ferzan
was having a good time against 19 year-old Liechtenstein fullback Erni Woodtli at this point, and one of his crosses would fall to Phua Ming Xin
with eleven minutes remaining, upon which Phua gleefully finished it off from close up.
A scuffle in the Krattene penalty area then saw an eager Orest Tokarz
rock the goalframe with a powerful right-footer, although Radovan Jaška
would have to take a couple of minutes to recover, having had the wind knocked out of him by a defender in the excitement. Chan Ze Han
came on in the last minute, and true to form had his hand in one last goal, as Mohd Marzuki Khairul
cleaned up a tricky indirect free-kick. Balde might well have stolen a seventh, but Baba sprang promptly to prevent it.