Six Per Se
Ferzan At Fifty
With a possible Challenger Cup in their sights, the Birds would reserve a number of their top players for the midweek clash against United Legends FC, but this was still more than sufficient to see tpyers off at The Cooking Pot. The Holland strivers had lost all six of their previous league meetings against Grilled Birds, and today would be no exception, a minor hiccup early on notwithstanding.
tpyers had done well to hang in Division Three, having had to contest a qualifier to stay up in each of their last three campaigns, for which young head coach Yeo Kian Kiong has to be duly credited. They had kept strictly to their homegrown-only policy for only a decade now, which some supporters have accused of limiting their growth, and probably not without justification. This has not prevented tpyers from raising some bona-fide stars, such as midfielders Derek Dizon and Ng Han How, both of whom would start against the Birds today.
Their no-reinforcement policy would leave clear shortcomings throughout the team, however, and it could only be hypothesized as to how much better they could have done, had certain positions such as goalkeeper and left wing been upgraded. In any case, today was probably as fair a shot as the visitors would get, with many of the usual suspects not included in Grilled's squad. Chad Thach
and Mohd Marzuki Khairul
would be the biggest names here, as Ibnou Balde
got a rare chance to work with Phua Ming Xin
and Joe Reece
This odd configuration for the Birds meant that they spent some of the early game trying to find their footing, while tpyers had no such concerns. What the visitors might have lacked in raw ability, they made up for in mutual understanding, as was the case when Mo Jia Aik pulled past Paulino Trindade
on the outside in the 12th minute. Ha Qicai
made his first clear misjudgment since arriving as he opted to close Mo down, which left Tan Kong Sze wholly open for the obvious assist and finish.
Grilled would not allow the home supporters time to feel down, as they sought to respond immediately via Mohd Marzuki Khairul
, but the strike was too direct and effortlessly batted down by Kok Yi Ping. The Birds were getting increasingly comfortable, however, and it wouldn't be too long before Chad Thach
made it 1-1. As twenty minutes showed on the stadium clock, the 22 year-old Number 22 peeled off from Sreejit Subramanian and then tricked his way past Ty Harada, to do the honours.
tpyers continued posing a serious threat in spurts, and Foster Ito would force a superb save out of Dimitris Germanakos
in the 33rd minute after a full-throated attack, which however paved the way for Grilled to take the lead with Hwang Teck Fu
getting onto the end of Egemen Dinçer Ferzan
's sliding diagonal cross. It could have been worse for tpyers after Ty Harada then brought Joe Reece
down seemingly just inside the box, but Uruguay referee Manuel González gave a free-kick instead after reviewing the replay, and Ha Qicai
then made a meal of the strike.
The Birds came out for the second half with renewed mission, and they would more or less be assured of the three points, as Ferzan slotted it past Kok four minutes in. The Turkish winger had not exactly been known to take shots on, but last Sunday's hat-trick against Sunrise Treasure seemed to have awakened something in him. Having seldom disappointed in his fifty starts thus far for Grilled, Ferzan would not do so today with his stiff grounder either, to match his haul for last season already.
That was Tian Yonghang
's cue to take Aw Keng Chuan
off for Damian Hutter
, with Aw likely to play a core role on Wednesday. The visitors would attempt to hit Hutter with all they had while they had the chance, and they nearly made the game a lot more interesting in the 54th. Subramanian's direct run succeeded beyond his wildest expectations as he carved straight into the six-yard box, but just as it appeared easier to score than not, he smashed it wide of the left post.
tpyers would have no better opportunity to get themselves back in contention, as Grilled took over for the remainder of the match, all the more as being on the defensive eventually wore their players down. Grilled would redouble their efforts in the final twenty minutes, sensing blood, and Phua Ming Xin
upped the score the 4-1 after 74 minutes, as he got in a good exchange with Ibnou Balde
. The Senegalese really enjoyed that, from how he celebrated as though he were the one that had scored!
was having a good time taking potshots from deep too, and after Phua received the only booking of the day for a careless foul on Ben Ishikawa, the Birds would grab their fifth and sixth goals. The Chad was up first in the 82nd as his unusual dribbling style saw him past him marker again, with Hutter making the most of his substitute appearance to thump it in two minutes on.