|Posted on March 30, 2015 at 1:50 AM|
HFC Media File Picture
In spite of the defeat against rivals, Predators FC on Sunday, which has dealt a telling blow to their league aspirations, especially with the Hilderincs’ season drawing to a close, the Blacks were in a bullish mood, earning their strips in the process.
Defiant in defeat, the Hilderincs were exemplary as they carried themselves in high esteem, despite losing 3-1 on the day, playing much of the game with only the regulation eleven and lacking in any substitution.
With the entire week and more so the matchday itself occupied with a greater national event, the Blacks, though reluctant to play, had a positive enough preparation to aim for a fourth straight win.
However, a spanner was thrown into the mix at the eleventh hour when Home United, owners of the Blacks’ home ground, while sensible, but rather belatedly decided to cancel all events in theme of the State Funeral at afternoon.
Having had about seventeen in rank prior to the late announcement, the Blacks were left decimated when the tie was moved to Tampines Secondary School, but more so with the 3-5pm time change, leaving the Hilderincs with a mere eleven to square off against Predators FC, who were looking to get even for their defeat earlier in the season.
Despite the lack, the Blacks were pleasantly buoyant when Dan Koh and Roy Fir made an unannounced, but much appreciated appearance, moved by their commitment to the cause, even though they had to readjust their personal obligations.
After a minute’s silence in respect, the game got under way with the Blacks in control of the early exchanges and wasted little time to convert their possession when Jonathon Mok scored from a freekick, though it fortuitously slipped through the hands of the keeper, a second such goal in as many weeks, it was gratefully received by the Hilderincs.
The Blacks had to endure immediate response from the Predators but the backline of Nicholas Ledenmark, Alex Wong, David Zheng and Dan Koh were in superb form, holding firm at every turn.
HFC could have extended their lead soon after when a quick encounter attack set Sashikumar Mahathevan into the box and his cutback was narrowly put over the bar by Mitchell Keh, who did well to cover great length, just to be at the end of the cross.
While the crossbar and an inspired Leon Lee in goal, kept the Hilderincs’ lead intact, the breaches were found out and the Predators scored twice against the run of play, despite the Blacks’ best efforts in holding unto the lead into the break.
With Dan Koh’s pre-arranged departure at first time and an injury to Ted Kaneda, the Blacks were left with eleven to fight the good fight in search of an equaliser.
Predators, with almost twenty players in their matchday teamsheet, kept their squad fresh with substitutions, much to the envy of the Blacks, who grimaced every time one of their own went to ground, with no one else to replace should they were unable to carry on.
However, there was no let up on the Blacks play, as they pushed and pressed their opponents, fighting with determination, worthy of praise, coming close to an equaliser through Mitchell Keh, Jonathon Mok and Sai Ganesh, who could have levelled the scores in the opening minutes of the second half.
Having said that, the Hilderincs had the woodwork to thank for, as the Predators hit the crossbar and post, combined, on no less than five occasions.
The greatest plaudits were reserved for keeper Leon Lee, who was in worldclass form, keeping the Blacks singlehanded in the game with six equally worldclass saves, earning the admiration and praise, not only of his teammates, but the opponents and referee alike.
For all the Blacks’ resolve, they were undone when they were penalised for a weak handball decision by the referee, much to their aghast.
Even with a two goal disadvantage with time running out, the Blacks failed to reduce their intensity and were denied a goal when Mitchell Keh’s superb header off an Ian Morris cross was chalked off for a non-existent offside.
While it was a damaging defeat, the steer gritty performance of the Blacks, out weighted the ramifications of the points lost.
Predators FC 3 : Hilderinc FC 1
Goal: Jonathon Mok
MOM: Leon Lee
1. Leon Lee
2. Chua Yuxuan
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Alex Wong
5. David Zheng
6. Dan Koh
7. Tadao “Ted” Kaneda
8. Jonathon Mok
9. Sashikumar Mahathevan
10. Ian Morris
11. Mitchell Keh
12. Sai Ganesh
13. Roy Fir
Categories: Match Day