|Posted on November 30, 2014 at 10:30 AM|
HFC Media File Picture
Hilderinc Football Club and last season’s Division 7 league Champions, Singapore Panthers FC produced football of the highest order when they locked horns in the ESPZEN Sunday League 22 Division 5 fixture.
Having lost by the odd goal in both their encounters last season, the Blacks were keen to finally get one over their opponents at the third time asking.
However, the eleventh hours withdrawals by Shuichi Narita (work) and Alex Wong (injury), both key defensive stalwarts rendered the Hilderincs’ preparation a major rethink.
With Sunny Tharidu reassigned to perform revised duties in the heart of the defence, midfielder Takashi Ito filled the vacant leftback role as Roy Fir and debutant Rama Witjaksono formed the new look midfield alongside Karim Tabet; while Azman Azmi, Nicholas Ledenmark, Alex Todd, Shasikumar Mathavan and Ian Morris kept to their usual pose.
The changes in the setup had a telling effect on the Blacks as they tried to come to terms with shuffling of the pack, but took a little too long to settle as they allowed the Panthers to punish them with two early goals, as they capitalised on obvious uncertainties amongst the Hilderinc ranks.
Oddly enough, being two goals down, the Blacks found greater confidence to take the game to the Panthers, changing the dynamics to set up a pulsating show.
First order of business was to get back into the game and the Blacks did so in a fantastic manner when Karim Tabet’s bullet header from an Ian Morris corner halved the deficit.
But any chance of a comeback was challenged by the Panthers who regained their two goal advantage after profiting from a goalmouth melee.
The day could have ended for the Blacks by the first half but were saved by the woodwork twice, once from a penalty after Sunny Tharidu was penalised for a handball.
Making most of the reprieve handed to them, the Blacks forced their way through as the break loomed.
Goal scorer Karim Tabet turned provider when he played a delightful ball over the Panthers’ defence to pick Shasikumar Mathavan, who unleashed a first time cracker to make it 3-2 and bring the Hilderincs back into the faces of their opponents.
It could have been all square, when Ian Morris, intercepting a goal kick, audaciously chipped the well beaten keeper from outside the box.
But with the ball finding the target for what could have been the goal of the game, it then hit the inside of the post and rolled across the face of the goal as the skipper’s follow up from a tight angle squeezed under the legs of the recovering keeper for a corner kick, though a cut back to Andy Mackay would have been more beneficial as he was all set to make a goal scoring application.
Having performed valiantly, the Hilderincs allowed the second half to begin like the first, with the Panthers dominating the early exchanges and they would again pay the price after they allowed the champions to score from a fine individual goal.
The fourth goal proved one too many but the Blacks were in full throttle as they yet again sought to sneak back into the game.
It was in this period that both teams entertained the purist with some masterclass football as they cancelled each other; the Panthers holding onto their lead and the Blacks forcing the issue with the chances they created.
Alex Todd, Andy Mackay and Shasikumar Mathavan came close to adding to the Hilderincs’ tally but none came closer than Ian Morris, who pick pocketed the Panthers keeper after he dropped the ball, but as the forward lined up to finish, a last ditch tackle denied him for the second time in the game.
Though suffering their first defeat of the season, the Blacks rue the early indiscretions in both halves, but the quality of the football played provides positive anticipation as they take on CPL FC on Sunday week.
Singapore Panthers FC 4 : Hilderinc FC 2
Goals: Karim Tabet, Shasikumar Mathavan
MOM: Karim Tabet
Yellow Cards: Sunny Tharidu
Starting Line Up
1. Gopal Peethambaran
2. Sunny Tharidu
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Azman Azmi
5. Takashi Ito
6. Karim Tabet
7. Roy Fir
8. Rama Witjaksono
9. Sashikumar Mathavan
10. Ian Morris
11. Alex Todd
12. Dan Koh
13. Melvin Ng
14. Andy Mackay
15. Lim Yong Kiat
Categories: Match Day