|Posted on August 27, 2017 at 7:50 AM|
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With the ESPZEN Saturday League 18 officially kicking off on 2nd September, it was systems ramp up for Hilderinc FC as they continued their pre-season preparations in earnest.
Building from last week’s commendable performance, it was an intentional outing for the Blacks who took the opportunity to leave the comfort zone of the Merlion Sports City to spar in smaller confines, an issue they found themselves with mixed results last season, especially with teams that were mobile.
The return of Erdogan Albay and the addition of Goh Heng Kiat, along with the steady rehabilitation of Adib Alias to full fitness added to the positive vibe within the ranks, which have been encouraged by the talented youngsters the Blacks were integrating to form a more balanced squad.
While the prospect of playing against a more physically tuned active National Service boys from the Guards unit who have normally caused the Hilderincs discomfort in the not so distance past, the focused reaction from the Blacks was highly pleasing to watch.
There were no aimless long ball chasers, nor hopeful passes with any real intent, but adapting quick to the surroundings, the Hilderincs were in their elements with little time to waste.
Allowing the ball to do much of the moving, the Blacks returned to their famed pass and move football, keeping possession well, while building confidently from the defence up.
Having come close to opening the account through Stepan Lobov, Ian Morris and even debutant, fullback Goh Heng Kiat, who forced the keeper to a fine save after somehow finding himself the furthest in an attacking position, the Hilderincs took the lead through a well taken penalty by Stepan Lobov, after a delightful inter-play involving Hoonki Song and Xerxes Lee, with the latter apprehended in the box.
Though the Blacks did not add to the tally before the break, it mattered little as the measured collective display was worth more in the context of things.
Changes from both sides in the restart opened the game up, but the Hilderincs were at the focal point within minutes combining experience and youth to the fullest effect.
However, the Blacks could have been punished with a equaliser after an unforgivable “sin” of not playing to the whistle nearly undid all the previous good work, but after thwarting them for more than twenty times last season, the woodwork finally came to their rescue as the Hilderincs were let off for their mistake.
There was, however, no disruption to the Hilderinc intent as they realigned themselves immediately to return the compliments.
After a phase of impasse when both sides tried to cancel each other in the middle of the park, the Hilderincs doubled their advantage when Ian Morris stole the ball off the Charlie fullback after catching him in two minds before to laying it to Stepan Lobov to finish with ease for his fifth in three games, including the two he scored against the Hilderinc Twā in the Anniversary game.
The Russian was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty soon after when the referee adjudged that the defender had touched the ball before clipping the forward, though it would have been given nine out of ten times.
But within twenty seconds the Blacks made the result beyond any doubt when Omar Mahnin and Goh Heng Kiat combined well to setup Ian Morris for the third.
The Hilderincs completed their scoring with a well taken goal from Omar Mahnin, as he turned well to control a fine long ball by Nicholas Ledenmark before applying his shot, which the keeper could do nothing but help it on its way into the net.
However, the Blacks were denied a shutout when Charlie FC found a rare lapse to get a consolation, but much to the Hilderincs’ annoyance as the HFC backline was worthy of a clean sheet.
While the youthful and collectively inexperience opponents may have offered inadequate test for the Blacks, it was a fact that they got undone by lesser sides last season, and the calculated and composed nature of their play was welcoming and lays the foundation for tougher challenges that they will encounter in a very tight Division 3.
But focus and will is there to given a better account of themselves this time around.
Charlie FC 1 : Hilderinc FC 4
Goals: Stepan Lobov (2), Ian Morris, Omar Mahnin
1. Lim Yong Kiat
2. Goh Heng Kiat
3. Denis Lobov
4. Wong Yih-Khai
5. Basil Al Barr
6. Jon Loh
7. Xerxes Lee
8. Hoonki Song
9. Stepan Lobov
10. Ian Morris
11. Erdogan Albay
12. Sunny Tharidu
13. Nicholas Ledenmark
14. Adib Alias
15. Omar Mahnin
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Categories: Match Day