|Posted on January 11, 2015 at 9:40 AM|
HFC Media File Picture
After last week’s canter, Hilderinc FC had to work for their all their worth, snatching a dramatic win at the death against Raptors FC, by popular belief, known to the Blacks as their bogey team.
From past encounters, there was little to suggest that this will be a walk in the park for either team, as tight and intense football was always a hallmark when these two meet in the ESPZEN Sunday League.
The Blacks made four changes to the team that began against Deportivo Lions last Sunday, with Lim Yong Kiat, Shuichi Narita, Sunny Tharidu all returning to the side for the first time in 2015; while Mitchell Keh’s two goal return earned him a starting berth.
Getting off the blocks slowly, the Blacks allowed the Raptors to a favourable early start, as they got to grips with the direct football played by the opponents.
After settling into their stride, the Blacks were first to test the Raptors goal, with Jonny Hill and Mitchell Keh linking up well, before sending a delightful ball into the box.
However, with the keeper flapping and what should have been a certain goal was put into the stands by Shasikumar Mathavan, much to the astonishment of everyone present.
Undaunted, the Hilderincs were right back on the offensive, keeping much, if not all of the play in the opponents’ half.
Mitchell Keh was next to come close to an opener when his drive across the face of the goal was just inches off the mark.
For the all positives and true to events of the recent fixtures with the Hilderincs and Raptors, it was the Blacks who were to go behind after a quick counterattack left the backline stranded before the ball was swept into the net.
Credit to the Blacks, the deficit lasted a mere three minutes before they were level after an Ian Morris freekick was carelessly dealt with by the Raptors defence in the box, allowing David Zheng to smash in an unstoppable volley for the equaliser.
While the rest of the half petered through with much of the battle focused in the middle of park, with Ian Morris’ sweeping shot flew agonisingly wide after an excellent work by Azman Azmi to have won the ball in the Raptors’ half.
Attacking the Pelton Canal End in the second half, the Blacks brought on Gopal Peethambaran, Nicholas Ledenmark, Rama Witjaksono, Takashi Ito and debutant Guy Heskins, while giving those they had replaced a respite from the sun.
Any half time strategy was laid to waste when the Blacks found themselves a goal behind for the second time the game when they allowed Raptors’ main attacking threat, Kim Min Woo all the time to take on the attire team, before finishing his slalom with ease to put the ball into the back of the net.
As it was before, the Blacks hit back almost immediately when Mitchell Keh again heavily involved when he produced a tenacious run down the flank before squaring a prefect ball across but like history repeating itself, Shasikumar skied the ball right under the nose of the goal.
With Nick O’ Sullivan taking a knock to his face, which left him with a bloodied nose, Sunny Tharidu was re-introduced and made an immediate impact when his long ball up field was well received by Mitchell Keh, whose intelligent finish levelled the account again.
The Blacks were to taste their own medicine when, having done the hard work of keeping back into the game, failed to hang on, allowing a speculative freekick sneak into the net, leaving them trailing for the third time.
Looking like the day was not going to belong to them and their infant home record in danger of collapsing; the Hilderincs changed their formation, getting Christopher Ironside and Azman Azmi back into the fray.
The last fifteen minutes was do or die for the Blacks, who left nothing to chance as they poured forward to salvage the game.
As time ticked, the Blacks won a corner after the Raptors keeper made a stunning save to deny the Blacks a scorcher from distance.
Ian Morris presided over the corner before sending in a teasing cross into the box, which the Raptors players bobbled out only for Christopher Ironside to unleash a cracking to level the Blacks for the third time in a thrilling game.
Having restored parity and stunning the Raptors in the process, the Blacks went for, what was just a moment ago, an unthinkable outcome of keeping a prefect home record, when with seconds left on the clock, Shuichi Narita went on an incredible run before smashing the post with his shot.
Mitchell Keh, whose return to the side last week was marked by a brace and the young forward followed up with making himself the hero of the day when he let fly from close range after chasing the Shuichi rebound with what was the last kick of the game.
As the Hilderincs showed great resolve and their famous fighting spirit to turn the tide to transform a defeat, and then a draw to all three points, next Sunday’s fixture against PokeManrid FC will present another testing encounter, and the Blacks would want their 100th league game in the ESPZEN Sunday League an occasion to celebrate in more than one ways.
Raptors FC 3 : Hilderinc FC 4
Goals: David Zheng, Mitchell Keh (2), Christopher Ironside
MOM: Mitchell Keh
Yellow Card: Azman Azmi
Starting Line Up
1. Lim Yong Kiat
2. Sunny Tharidu
3. Nick O’Sullivan
4. Jonathon Hill
5. Shuichi Narita
6. Azman Azmi
7. Christopher Ironside
8. Sashikumar Mathavan
9. Mitchell Keh
10. Ian Morris
11. David Zheng
12. Dan Koh
13. Nicholas Ledenmark
14. Rama Witjaksono
15. Takashi Ito
16. Guy Heskins
17. Chua Yuxuan
18. Leon Lee
Categories: Match Day