|Posted on December 4, 2016 at 1:35 AM|
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If traditions and history are something worth reminiscing about, the current cohort of Hilderincs were the latest to add their own heroics into the annuals of a Club famed for their extraordinary comebacks over the last 16 years.
While a three month wait for competitive league action proved too long a wait for Hilderinc FC, with the intensity never matched in pre-season, they certainly showed the fight in a sterling display, especially when they looked dead and buried, 3-0 down at half time.
Making their competitive debut in the Saturday League after 16 years as a Sunday team, confidence and morale were never in short supply, though they were pitted against a UBS United team that had just finished third last season in the ESPZEN Saturday League Division 2.
Though the early minutes of the introduction were favourable to the Blacks, with them encamped in the United half and coming close to the opener through efforts from Michael Rooke and Khaled Harnavin, a goalkeeping error left the Hilderincs a goal down with 10 minutes gone.
While Omar Mahnin provided an almost immediate hope with a well-taken shot that barely missed the target, the Blacks looked muddled and void of their usual self-possession.
Compounding their state of affairs, United surged ahead with two more goals in ten minute intervals, leaving the Hilderincs searching for solace when it seem that they will be offered none, especially when they had to hastily reorganise when Wong Yih-Khai suffered a knock to his ankle prior to the third goal.
Looking totally drained of any positivity, the Blacks were hanging on by the thread as UBS United sought to plunge the dagger through the heart, only to be denied by Chris Su, who pulled off couple of decent saves to redeem himself for his earlier howler.
The walk into the break looked eternal as the Hilderincs, in all honesty, would have wished the game ended then.
Then again, that has never been the Hilderinc way.
Sam Thorley, the Blacks’ inspiration on many occasions, proved why so when he kick started the Hilderincs’ comeback with a belter inside 40 seconds of the restart, catching everyone, including the cameraman unawares.
Even when Wong Yih-Khai was withdrawn for the second time after he bravely tried to return to play, the Blacks looked a completely different offer.
Within three minutes of Sam Thorley’s goal, the Hilderincs reduced the deficit to one when Sashikumar Mahathevan, played on by Khaled Harnavin and Rahmat Saring, turned on the style and scored with a charmer.
Just when it looked like the Hilderincs comeback trail had started, UBS scored their fourth, doubling their advantage while derailing the Blacks’ retaliation.
Valiant goalkeeping by Chris Su and defending by Sunny Tharidu and Michael De-Bear kept the Hilderincs from being buried alive again during an insipid spell.
However with 15 minutes left on the clock, the Hilderincs summoned whatever that was left in them to for a final push in a now or never assault, with Joh Loh, Rama Witjaksono and Steve Tan reserved for their tenacious output.
Rahmat Saring initiated the final frenzy when he started an attack from the middle of the park before applying the ultimate touch by coolly lopping the UBS goalkeeper to draw the Blacks within a goal.
Two minutes was all it took for the Hilderincs to complete the sensational comeback when Sashikumar Mahathevan laid Chris Su’s huge goal kick, to Omar Mahnin, who in turn picked Rahmat Saring with a pinpoint pass, leaving the forward to claim the headlines with an unruffled finish, sparking unrivalled elation.
It was pure adrenaline as the Blacks went for the killer punch, and had a case for a handball, but with Chris Su making another fine save in the dying minutes, a draw would please the Hilderincs, considering the circumstances they found themselves in.
With the Blacks not returning to league action again until after the New Year, it will back to the drawing board with another friendly a week on, but focus will still be very much on the challenges ahead, especially since the Blacks have tasted blood in the ESPZEN Saturday League.
UBS United 4 : Hilderinc FC 4
Goals: Sam Thorley, Sashikumar Mahathevan, Rahmat Saring (2)
MOM: Rahmat Saring
Yellow Card: Wong Yih-Khai
Starting Line Up
1. Chris Su
2. Nicholas Ledenmark
3. Sunny Tharidu
4. Wong Yih-Khai
5. Steve Tan
6. Sam Thorley
7. Rama Witjaksono
8. Michael Rooke
9. Omar Mahnin
10. Ian Morris
11. Khaled Harnavin
12. Liao Jincai
13. Jon Loh
14. Sashikumar Mathathevan
15. Michael De-Bear
16. Mathew Joseph
17. Parthiban Aruchamy
18. Rahmat Saring
Categories: Match Day