|Posted on July 2, 2022 at 3:00 PM|
Playing their third instalment of the Hilderinc Invitational, and in keeping with their deliberate and progressive development, the Blacks were pitted against a familiar opponent in TGA Strollers, who they have had some memorable outing against in the pre-COVID ESPZEN days.
Never short of entertainment when these two meet, especially when the Hilderincs won a crucial Division 2 tie with a fathom “Did it cross the line or not” goal back in March 2019, the reacquaintance was keenly anticipated by the Blacks, specifically as they knew that they would be put to quality test, something that was top on the agenda in their plans.
However, the enthusiasm was nullified due to injuries and unavailabilities, which was further exacerbated less than 24 hours prior to kickoff, with further withdrawals, leaving the already razor-thin side further impoverished.
A late mobilsation from the Hilderinc Twā amongst others, brought the squad to one that would be able to complete, though it would involve a makeshift goalkeeper, a couple of midfielders way short of training minutes and match fitness and two others who were fast tracked from injury recovery schedule.
Notwithstanding the discomfort, unwavering faith in the work done in months of intense training, and selfless and willing hearts of those who were keen to be involved in the colours, provided the perfect dose.
Despite a slow start, the Hilderincs were quick to get hold of the game with their drilled pass and press game, winning the midfield battle to good effect, and the early exploration yielded desire result when a well-worked move from back to front gave them the opener inside the opening 20mins.
Tenaciously marauding on down the left, Basil Al Barr, who was determined to take on the full array of the Strollers’ backline, was denied an incredible solo goal when he tried to finish near post, but after the ball was blocked couple of times with the follow up, Fahmy “Ollie” Barker audaciously put it beyond the reach of the keeper with an improvised “Scorpion flick” to give the Hilderincs a good lead.
With the backline in imperious form, and the midfield getting accustomed to the task, the Blacks were in a confident mood, though coming short in the final third meant they carried a slender lead into the break, this an accomplishment considering pre-match predications.
The restart provided an opportunity for the Hilderincs to hone their practiced intentions as they kept and moved the ball well, with both the defence and midfield coming out tops once again.
However, despite the lion’s share of possession, slender attacking resources, especially after skipper Ian Morris hobbled off in the first half, reduced options, and an improvised ultra-compact formation did little to give the Blacks much offensive edge, though they kept and run the ball well, despite the lack in penetration.
Just as it looked comfortable, the Hilderincs were pegged back against the run of play when makeshift goalkeeper, Nabil Zahrif, normally an outfield player, had a howler when he flapped the ball into his own net from a corner, a pardonable gaffe in a friendly such as this, but also considering that he pulled off couple unbelievable saves to redeem himself to keep the final score closer to reality.
Breaking the winless run having played four, drawn one and lost thrice statics against the Hilderincs, the Strollers did find the winning goal, but while a draw would have been a deserved outcome, the manner in which the Blacks responded and went with their football in even when behind was highly impressive, and again pointed to their emphasis on training, which will catered to address and improve on any shortcoming identified in this game.
Most importantly, gone are the days when the Club went about its business of playing and going back just the way they came, but with training now its cornerstone, its all about getting better with every little step, no matter tiny it might be.
Hilderinc FC 1 : TGA Strollers 2
Goal: Fahmy “Ollie” Barker 17’
Own Goal: Nabil Zahrif
Yellow Card: Aamir Fikri
1. Nabil Zahrif
2. Tan Eu Ren
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Sergey Darovskikh
5. Basil Al Barr
6. Sunny Thairdu
7. Basil Chai
8. Nasruddin Ramli
9. Aamir Fikri
10. Ian Morris
11. Fahmy “Ollie” Barker
12. Aitor Fernandez
13. Calvin Teo
14. Melvin Sim
15. Ong Ji Kai
Categories: Match Day