|Posted on November 5, 2022 at 11:00 AM|
Drawing from the positives of last weekend’s heroic display, at least in the first half, Hilderinc FC stood at the cusp of a long-awaited upturn in fortunes before TGA Strollers snatched all three points at the death in a pulsating clash in the Equatorial Football League Saturday QD 1 fixture, in arguably their best display since pre-pandemic.
Having recently met in a Hilderinc Football Club Invitational, the stakes were higher this time around as both sides squared off in a more familiar competitive outing, as supposed to a friendlier reacquaintance back in July.
Incredibly, for the first time since resumption of full football, the Blacks were able to keep to almost the same starting lineup for successive games, making only change from the previous against Hollandse FC, as Melvin Sim was brought in place of Anthony Ferraccu, while though thin, the bench had much needed experience, including Lauren Reese, who become the second Hilderinc Lady to turn up for the men’s side this season.
Like last Saturday, the Hilderincs started on a positive foot, reverting to their usual formation, with Fahmy Barker and Al Shafiq Bakhitar retained in the heart of the midfield alongside Melvin Sim, allowing Ian Morris to return to his more accustomed offensive position after last week’s outing as a defensive midfielder.
Happy with the return to traditional surroundings, Ian Morris was unfortunate to open the scoring early in the game when he found himself in the perfect spot to slot home the ball in near corner, but just as the skipper put his foot through with the keeper out of position, he was denied by a world-class last-ditch tackle by the Strollers’ centreback.
The Hilderincs did take the lead just after the quarter way mark, when Nicholas Ledenmark dispatched his freekick with pomp, though giving of the foul would be vehemently debated by the opponents, it was well-deserved befitting their obstinate approach.
Rightfully they could have been three or four up by half time, first when Ian Morris came close again after been delightfully put through by Lauren Reese, and then inexcusably, when Basil Al Barr, when facing the goal at his mercy, horribly scuffed his shot wide.
While the offensive endeavours would speak for themselves, the Hilderincs were imperious at the back, in what could potentially have the makings of their finest backline since the ESPZEN League title winning back four in 2018, though such accolade may be premature at this stage, the way the quartet of Nicholas Ledenmark and Ken Yap, flanked by Sean Rajah and Sergey Darovskikh has performed consistently can absolve any assumptions.
With Gowtham Durai exhibiting safe pair of hands and quality decision making, the backline was almost flawless with their reading and execution of the defensive duties as they repeated frustrated the Strollers, ensuring the Blacks headed into the break with a lead for the first time since July.
However, the Hilderincs’ leisurely recommencement allowed TGA the momentum after the restart, and although there was no doubt that is what the opponents were going to do, the failure to anticipate the obvious was not helpful.
Even though the Hilderincs settled after the initial discomfort, they were pegged back when TGA levelled the game early in the second half, this coming moments after the Blacks came close to extending the lead at the other end.
Just as the neutrals would have been celebrating that they had witnessed a cracking score draw with both teams going at each other in enthralling fashion; with barely 7mins left on the clock, the Hilderincs were dealt a double whammy when they failed to deal with two corners, leaving the Blacks crushed, especially when they had given a good account of themselves on the day.
The contrast in the Hilderincs’ display in their first three games and the past two does offer reason to be optimistic though the progress is slow, but with numbers gradually stabilising, hopefully it would be worth the wait.
Equatorial Football League QD 1
Hilderinc FC 1 : TGA Strollers 3
Goal: Nicholas Ledenmark 29’
POM: Gowtham Durai
1. Gowthan Durai
2. Sean Rajah
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Ken Yap
5. Sergey Darovskikh
6. Al Shafiq Bakhitar
7. Fahmy “Ollie” Barker
8. Melvin Sim
9. Danial Hairul
10. Ian Morris
11. Rex Chee
12. Basil Al Barr
13. Lauren Reese
14. Mervyn Tan
A HFC Media Online Publication
Categories: Match Day