|Posted on May 24, 2015 at 6:25 PM|
HFC Media File Picture
On a day when nothing but three points would have benefitted their cause, Hilderinc Football Club, ended their part in the ESPZEN Sunday League 22 season with a dexterous display against Raptors FC, cementing promotion and a top two finish in the Division 5 table.
While their title hopes are a mathematical possibility, hinged on the remaining fixtures involving their only rivals to the crown, last season’s champions, Singapore Panthers FC, the Blacks, having done their part to stay in contention, will now sit back and watch what pans out in front of them as the league draws to a thrilling climax.
Fully aware that their opponents on the day, had in the past, left their season is disarray with unanticipated and damaging results, the Blacks were in full focus to not let a repeat of the same, especially when so much more was at stake this time around.
Apart from the return of Jonathon Mok, Mitchell Keh and Nicholas Ledenmark, HFC were unchanged from the side that produced an excellent comeback in the friendly win last Sunday and the Blacks started the game with little doubt in their objectives of the day, taking the game to the Raptors with the first kick.
Early pressure led the way for the opening goal within six minutes, when a backpass by Raptors went horribly wrong and Sashikumar Mahathevan, chasing the HFC top scorer award, applied the finishing touch with a wonderful strike with his outside of his foot to screw the ball in off the upright.
Not to be undone, Gabir Nabil, the Blacks’ red hot striker extended the lead with a trademark goal after receiving a delightful pass from David Zheng from his own half, to become the first Hilderinc player to score in every game since his debut, netting an incredible five in only three league games since becoming a Hilderinc, and that is excluding the five he scored in two friendlies in between.
Though relentless in attack, the Blacks showed their totality with a defensive showing worthy of special praise, with the entire backline, including the goalkeeper being nominated for the Man of the Match award.
Inspired by an incomparable David Zheng in form, the Blacks’ backline were impenetrable, with keeper Leon Lee, hardly having a meaningful touch of the ball as his rear guards bossed the department.
True to the Hilderinc way, it was the defence who worked out the third goal when they launched a blistering counterattack, and with Mitchell Keh, Gabir Nabil breaking in lightning pace, Sashikumar had the honour of finishing, what was the move of the game, profiting from an impressive Rama Witjaksono assist.
However, for all the pomp, the opening minutes of the second half was a messy affair for the Blacks, who for some strange reason, stopped playing, hence allowing the Raptors to come at them, sensing a way back into the game.
Nervy and desperate, the Hilderincs were pegged back in their own half, as they struggle to defend the early onslaught and rightfully, paid the price for their confused start when the Raptors pulled a goal back.
Ironically, it was the shot in the arm that the Hilderincs needed, and they duly responded in a hard-nosed fashion.
Retaking the game by the scuff of the neck, the Blacks poured forth to stamp their authority in the proceedings once again.
Sai Ganesh was brought on to solidify any defensive weak link, while Mitchell Keh and Jonathon Mok worked tirelessly, winning the midfield battle.
With the swing of the pendulum back in their favour, the Blacks restored their three goal advantage when Jonathon Mok swept in an Ian Morris corner to dent any hopes Raptors had of finding forcing their way back into the game.
The lead could have been extended had Ian Morris tucked in his chance, the crossbar had not denied Jonathon Mok’s long range belter, Mitchell Keh, who saw his shot drift inches wide of the goal and Rama Witjaksono, who had his goal bound shot blocked in the nick of time.
The drama was not to be consigned to the Black’s attacking third but the day’s event was made even more interesting when Jeevan was penalised for a soft push in penalty box, and while the Club President protested his innocence, the referee, unmoved, pointed to the spot.
With Lim Yong Kiat withdrawn due to a hamstring injury, Leon Lee who returned to the fray, kept up his heroic between the sticks by producing another outstanding save to ensure a comfortable win for the Blacks.
Though the Blacks have now ended their season proper, they will have to wait for Singapore Panthers FC to finish their fixtures to see if the league title changes hands or remains with the latter.
Nevertheless, Hilderinc FC can be proud of their season, their best in the ESPZEN Sunday League to date.
Hilderinc FC 4 : Raptors FC 1
Goals: Gabir Nabil, Sashikumar Mahathevan (2), Jonathon Mok
MOM: David Zheng
Starting Line Up
1. Leon Lee
2. David Zheng
3. Sunny Tharidu
4. Nicholas Ledenmark
5. Alex Wong
6. Jonathon Mok
7. Rama Witjaksono
8. Sashikumar Mahathevan
9. Gabir Nabil
10. Ian Morris
11. Mitchell Keh
12. Jeevan T Kannu
13. Tadao “Ted” Kaneda
14. Dan Koh
15. Chua Yuxuan
16. Sai Ganesh
17. Lim Yong Kiat
Categories: Match Day