|Posted on August 25, 2018 at 11:45 AM|
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With promotion mathematically secured, Hilderinc FC’s primary objective was dealt a setback when they fell to an unexpected and first defeat of the season against Graduate Soccer Team (GST) in the ESPZEN Saturday League 19 Division 3 clash, a fixture that will be remembered for horrendous refereeing amongst other things.
The surprise forfeiture of their unbeaten status means that they now have to go on a prefect run-in in their remaining three games to clinch the title, a task which began with much optimism at the start of the day, though the withdrawals of top scorer, Cristian Peligros and midfielder Sebastian Eraso 24 hours before kickoff had the Blacks needing to reorganise with a late recall of renowned forward Logaraj Sundram.
In spite of the absence of the duo, the Hilderincs were in good company with a strong squad, but pre-match cautions were thrown out inside 2nd minutes when GST scored with their first attack.
However, it took the Blacks a minute to reply in kind when Dionisis Kolokotsas’ freekick was beautifully lopped over the keeper by Casimir Simon for an instantaneous response.
The forward was instrumental turning provider with a deft touch to Ian Morris to put the ball through the legs of the GST custodian in a crispy movement involving Adi Ravikumar and Diogo Baptista from the middle of the park.
The skipper could have doubled the lead within a couple of minutes but this time the goalkeeper was quick off his lines to foil another lop over him.
With Diogo Baptista pulling the strings in midfield, the Blacks were good value for money as they went in search for an extension of their lead but were repeatedly denied by the man between the sticks, who was putting on a man of the match display against the Hilderincs, who by the 20th minute had made three goal saving stops.
Cruelly for the Blacks, despite their control a split second indecision allowed GST to draw level against the run of play at the midway point, prompting a shuffle of the pack in response.
Again the answer from the Blacks was incisive and thought they had retaken the lead through Jon Loh who reacted instantly to his initial shot being saved by the keeper to lop the ball into the back of the net but to the utter aghast of the Hilderincs the referee, quite astonishingly, disallowed it, claiming Omar Mahnin was offside when the ball had clearly crossed the line before any touch from the forward added any significance to the outcome.
Though vehemently hard-done by the wretched decision, the Blacks pressed hard nonetheless and after the likes of Ian Morris, Casimir Simon, Diogo Baptista and Jon Loh, Basil Al Barr was the latest to be thwarted by the GST keeper who tipped the fullback’s shot onto the crossbar from close range to hold the Hilderincs level going into the break.
Knowing that the opponents will press at the restarted, the Blacks had formulated their own counter-press and were relentless in their early endeavour.
However, unlike their equanimity on the ball in the first half, the Hilderincs broke convention and opted for unbalanced level of long balls which produced mixed results, mostly unproductive against a GST side which decided to sit and soak the pressure, though occasional attempts to pass and move nearly brought desired dividends had they breached the last rampart of the goalkeeper who impressed with his positional sense and handling.
If the task of unhinging an inspired keeper was wearisome enough, the Blacks had to content with an increasingly erratic referee who irked both sides with his 3rd grading officiating, especially with the Hilderincs getting the shorter end of the stick on most occasions.
Incredibly, Omar Mahnin was at the end of no less than four stonewall fouls in the attacking third of the pitch and all right in front of the referee, only to receive nothing more than a confused look, but he did outdo himself by apologising for “not seeing” an infringement on the Dutchman, a venerable seal for incompetence of the highest order as Diogo Baptista and Ian Morris were left seething because of more ineptitude to understand the notion of deliberate obstruction.
Just as the game looked to be headed for a score draw with the clock running down, the Blacks were dealt a sucker punch when GST took the lead, again against the run of play, and they ensured they shared out the season’s tally between the two sides with the fourth goal minutes from the end to mirror their defeat to the Hilderincs by the same scoreline earlier in the campaign.
Though the deeds are still in their own hands going into their final games, this sickeningly unexpected defeat has certainly left a bad taste in their mouths for more than one reason, and they will need to lick their wounds and refocus quickly to stay on track for the prize.
Graduate Soccer Team 4 : Hilderinc FC 2
Goals: Casimir Simon 3’, Ian Morris 9’
MOM: Diogo Baptista
1. Liao Jincai
2. Sergey Darovskikh
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Dionisis Kolokotsas
5. Adi Ravikumar
6. Sunny Tharidu
7. Diogo Baptista
8. Jon Loh
9. Omar Mahnin
10. Ian Morris
11. Casimir Simon
12. Lim Yong Kiat
13. Aamir Fikri
14. Basil Al Barr
15. Kumaresan Maniam
16. Logaraj Sundram
Categories: Match Day