|Posted on September 4, 2022 at 10:25 AM|
Initially penciled as Training Sunday, the spontaneously reprogrammed friendly against Sporting Balestier FC had all making of a tough afternoon the moment the tie was agreed.
Stripped to the core, the Hilderincs were left without the services of no less than seven players, who were either in attendance in the treatment room, or were rendered unavailable to due travels or other commitments.
So much was the malaise that three Saturday Blacks had to be mobilised to present a playable squad against an opponent who they are poised to lockhorns again in a more competitive setting soon.
With limited resources on the bench, there was little room to manoeurve past the starting lineup, which in itself had a sense of makeshift to it.
Despite the circumstances, the Blacks, in the away red kit, had a positive start, managing to keep decent footwork and possession of play, giving good account of the early exchanges.
However, two quick goals, both against the run of play, knocked the Hilderincs of their stride, and prompted an unconventional switch, which had centreback Nigel Pek converted as a forward, while Calvin Teo paired up with Uwais Yahya in the heart of defence, a coupling not even tried in training.
Though the eccentric change might have raised some eyebrows, it had a positive outcome as it gave much needed vigor and impetus, especially in the attacking third, and the improvised forward staked a claim for a more permanent shift when he got onto the scoresheet for the fourth time, with a quality freekick, which had the Sporting keeper rooted.
The rest of the half was of good contest, with both sides trying to outdo each other with proper football, though the Hilderincs were chasing the game with a slight deficit, they were well poised to punch above their discomfort in squad strength and depth.
But, perhaps the exertions of the first period soon caught up with the Blacks, and there was a significant drop-off as the second half progressed, allowing needless chasm between the backline and midfield engines, which Sporting did well to fill-in and exploit.
For all the hardnosed endevour, the fact that they were indeed playing like square pegs in a round hole, soon become telling, and the third goal against them proved vital, as it very much ripped the sails off the mast.
Unaided, further injuries prompted a untested formational change, which had a completely untried back three, and positional novices functioning as wingback, the Hilderincs tried to salvage a draw, but with little options, the risk was punished, though a fifth penalty against them will be an annoying statistics not needed.
The final scoreline was be certainly harsh in response to the Hilderincs’ display, at least for an hour of the game, but while there were acceptable excuses, it was an insufferable performance from a side that is much more proficient than the day’s show.
Hilderinc Twā 1 : Sporting Balestier FC 5
Goals: Nigel Pek 37’
1. Jose Kasijo
2. Fahmy “Ollie” Barker
3. Uwais Yahya
4. Nigel Pek
5. Sasikumar Manirasan
6. Lim Yang Shan
7. Md Hariz
8. Hafiz Khir
9. Florent Zhu
10. Aqil Shah
11. Lim Chew Beng
12. Simon Khaw (GK)
13. Calvin Teo
14. Mervyn Tan
15. Neo Yao Sheng
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Categories: Match Day