|Posted on January 26, 2015 at 2:20 AM|
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For the second time in three games, Hilderinc FC produced a battling effort to nick maximum points with a late goal against Predators FC, which is fast becoming their hallmark.
In repeat of last season’s clash between these two rivals, the Blacks stole the game in the final minutes of a closely fought game, which at one point, looked to be heading for a score draw.
Extra significance was added to the game as it doubled up as last season’s Players’ Player and Player of the Season, Karim Tabet’s testimonial game, his last for the Blacks before he returns back to France on Saturday week.
Apart from the three points, a fitting farewell to one of Hilderinc FC’s most outstanding player was a motivation enough for the Blacks to win this game.
Five changes were made to the team that started against PokeManrid FC last Sunday, with Lim Yong Kiat, Jonny Hill, Guy Heskins, Nicolas Scribe, along with Logaraj Sundram, who was playing his first game of 2015, made up the starting eleven.
History of this fixture meant that both teams started tentatively, not willing to be drawn into the chasing game from the start.
The Predators had their game plan will drilled as they held their lines well, catching the Blacks on the offside multiple times, much to their frustration.
When they managed to find their way past the trap, the Blacks were foiled by the Predators keeper, who was in fine form, denying Sashikumar Mahathevan, Logaraj Sundram and Mitchell Keh on at least five occasions, while Jonny Hill came close with his pile driver.
Though the Blacks could have opened the scoring when Logaraj Sundram’s low cross was narrowly missed by Nicolas Scribe, who found himself unmarked in the box.
Otherwise, the action consigned to the middle of the park, with the Blacks dominant, limiting the Predators to occasionally discomfort the Hilderinc backline, who were well up for the task.
Worryingly, the Blacks were forced into a change after Nick O’Sullivan had to be withdrawn due to a hamstring injury, replaced by newly appointed Club President, Jeevan.
With a slight reshuffle of personnel, they finally took the lead six minutes before half time when Mitchell Keh’s corner was played into the path of Logaraj Sundram by Sashikumar, who duly swept the ball in at the near post to give the Blacks a timely break.
Keeping Logaraj on the pitch slightly longer than the agreed duration certainly paid dividends with the deadly striker scoring his third goal in three games this season.
However, despite the slender lead, the Blacks started the second half in a guarded fashion, perhaps memories of last week’s draw still fresh in the minds.
Not much headway was made by both teams as they cancelled each other in midfield, as they did in the earlier half.
Unfortunately, for all the Blacks’ defensive astuteness, a soft penalty brought the Predators back into the game after Nicholas Ledenmark was harshly penalised.
Though the Blacks were craving out opportunities for themselves, they were almost caught out, leaving the Predators with a clear run through on goal, but for reasons unknown, the player with the ball choose to try a long shot, which went well wide, when he could have taken on Gopal Peethambaran to score.
Given a massive reprieve, the Blacks sense a winner when they ventured forward in the closing minutes.
Several corners piled the pressure on the Predators as the Blacks encamped in the final third as they finally succumbed to the Hilderinc onslaught.
Karim Tabet’s long range attempt was palmed away but Sashikumar’s ball back into the box was met intelligently by Guy Heskins, whose looping header fell in between the keeper and the net to send the Blacks into rapture.
With this game, the Blacks have concluded a potentially slippery three game series against, Raptors, PokeManrid and Predators, coming out unscathed, collecting thirteen out of a possible fifteen points in the process, though maximum points would have been sweeter.
They have also remained unbeaten at their Home Ground, winning three and drawing one, a good account as the turn their attention to league debutants, W.T.O.S FC next, though injuries to Nick O’Sullivan (hamstring) and Nicholas Ledenmark (ankle) will be a cause of concern.
Predators FC 1 : Hilderinc FC 2
Goal: Logaraj Sundram, Guy Heskins
MOM: Karim Tabet
Yellow Cards: Jeevan, Nicholas Ledenmark
Starting Line Up
1. Lim Yong Kiat
2. Jonny Hill
3. Nick O’Sullivan
4. Nicholas Ledenmark
5. David Zheng
6. Azman Azmi
7. Karim Tabet
8. Mitchell Keh
9. Logaraj Sundram
10. Guy Heskins
11. Nicolas Scribe
12. Gopal Peethambaran
13. Melvin Ng
14. Sashikumar Mahathevan
15. Ian Morris
17. Alex Wong
Categories: Match Day