|Posted on November 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM|
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Adding to the many twist and turns which has become a hallmark of this fixture down the years, the “derby” between Hilderinc Football Club and Smartmat FC served up yet another epic encounter when the sides met in new season.
Both teams, having played each other more than other side in the past six campaigns since they made their debut together in the opening game of the Season 16 of the ESPZEN Sunday League, renewed their rivalry for their seventh edition.
On the back for their impressive opening day win over AC United last Sunday, the Blacks, seeking to keep the momentum, were bolstered by a strong squad, which included the pairing of HFC Player of the Season and Players’ Player, Karim Tabet and Elric Das for the first time this season.
If the Hilderincs had any intentions of maintaining a 100% winning start to the new term, the Smartmats had their own ambitions, and they made it clear with a blistering start, pinning the Blacks from the first whistle.
Looking dazed by their opponents’ intensity, the Blacks were at their uncharacteristic worst, as they came to terms with the deluge hitting them.
With wayward and aimless passing all around the pitch, the Blacks had to thank keeper Lim Yong Kiat for keeping them in game when he produced two unrealistic point blank saves in the opening minutes.
However, with the decadent Hilderinc display, it was inevitable that Smartmat would score and they did; twice in a matter of minutes as the Blacks collapsed, much to their own undoing.
Staring at a possible embarrassment, evoking memories of a 6-1 defeat by their rivals back in Season 17, Hilderinc FC brought on veteran Azman Azmi to add much needed steel to a flaccid looking side.
After a nightmare twenty minutes, the Blacks finally aroused themselves to get back into the game.
With Andy Mackay and Logaraj Sundram combining well; the duo came close with an attempt by the New Zealander saved by the fingertips of the keeper and latter’s goal bound follow up merely cleared off the line.
The Blacks were further denied when a well worked move resulting in a fine strike by Karim Tabet, but the Frenchman was unfortunate to see his shot hit the bar.
The woodwork came to the aid of Smartmats yet again when an Ian Morris corner was met by Shuichi Narita, but only for his header to smash against the crossbar with the keeper well beaten.
Drawing down a pulsating half, the Blacks finally found a breakthrough when Karim Tabet’s delightful freekick into the box was met by brave diving header by Andy Mackay for his first Hilderinc goal and to get his team back into the game just before the break.
Sensing a fightback in motion, Jonathon Mok, Sunny Tharidu and Sashikumar Mathavan were brought on, with the Hilderincs demanding an immediate reaction as a collective unit.
The brave move reaped instant dividends within seconds of the restart when Elric Das needle picked Sashikumar Mathavan, who latched onto the exquisite through ball with an equally eloquent finish to justify his inclusion after going on one of his worst barren spells and but importantly to restore parity.
The big striker almost went one better when he again was a recipient of another weighted pass, but for the third time in the game, the ball hit the frame of the goal.
Just when the Blacks had the wind behind their sails, another preventable mix up allowed Smartmat to restore their lead.
Deeply annoyed, the Hilderincs pressed hard to save the game from slipping through their fingers and for the fourth time, Lim Yong Kiat pulled off an incredulous point blank save to keep Smartmat within range.
Repaying Yong Kiat’s heroics in goal, Hilderinc FC completed their comeback when Jonathon Mok arose high to head in Ian Morris’ cornerkick just minutes before the game was suspended.
With a thunderstorm having set, the game was called to a halt by the referee; and in accordance to the ESPZEN rulebook*, the prevailing scoreline would be taken as the final result, after the game had commenced into the second half.
While the inclement weather might have prevented the rollercoaster of a game from its full entertainment value, both teams would consider the draw as a fair outcome, though a different result was all too possible if the remaining twenty eight minutes were to have been played.
* ESPZEN Raining Day Procedure
RD4. If the game is stopped (by both Team manager(s) or the referee) due to (but not limited to) bad weather (e.g. lightening, heavy rain etc) or any other reason including player fighting, referees being threatened etc, and the second half has kicked off the result will stand. However the whole game will be replayed at a later date, if the second half did not begin unless the ESPZEN League Committee determines otherwise, or both Team manager(s) determine otherwise. If the team who is winning in the second half refuses to continue the game due to bad weather, but both the referee and the opponents are agreeable to continue ESPZEN disciplinary committee will review circumstances
Hilderinc FC 3 : Smartmat FC 3
Goals: Andy Mackay, Shasikumar Mathavan, Jonathon Mok
MOM: Lim Yong Kiat
Starting Line Up
1. Lim Yong Kiat
2. Shuichi Narita
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Dan Koh
5. Alex Wong
6. Elric Das
7. Karim Tabet
8. David Dujardin
9. Logaraj Sundra
10. Ian Morris
11. Andy Mackay
12. Shasikumar Mathavan
13. Chua Yuxuan
14. Azam Azmi
15. Takashi Ito
16. Nicolas Scribe
17. Sunny Tharidu
18. Roy Fir
19. Jonathon Mok
20. Melvin Ng
Categories: Match Day