|Posted on September 21, 2019 at 10:45 AM|
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Stuck in a vicious circle of one step forward, two steps back, Hilderinc FC’s dismal start to the ESPZEN Saturday League Division 1 season continued to be hamstrung by lack of proper numbers, but to add to their issues, equally depressing refereeing decisions cost the Blacks a game from which they could have gotten something positive rather than leaving empty-handed.
Both having fought tooth and nail for the Division 2 campaign last season, the Hilderincs’ re-acquaintance with Mexican Aces was expected to be nothing short of thrills and spills as far as what was served up in the previous two meetings was any indication.
However, the Blacks’ challenge this time around would anything short of straight-forward as they turned with a virtually absent midfield and razor-thin options right across the pitch, though the inclusion of goalkeeper, Christopher Mark and Mohd Erzan rendered some joy in an otherwise nightmare-ish situation.
Having failed to field a regular starting line-up since June, the inconsistency had caused the Hilderincs the title towards the tail-end of last season, and the same looks to be the key reason to derail the current campaign even at the infancy stage.
So dire the situation, that the Blacks had to continue playing round pegs in square holes, with defender Kavin Singh positioned in his most advanced role in his 18years with the Club as he played the midfield role alongside Sunny Tharidu and Ian Morris, himself a duck out of the water in that part.
Nevertheless, notwithstanding the desperate patchwork, Kavin Singh would create the game’s first chance when he sent Mohd Erzan through, and with the forward finding himself behind the Aces’ backline, his attempted loop fell wide of the target.
Stuck with the limited options and corresponding strength, the Blacks were content to sit tight and seek a way forward on the break, though the introduction of Samuel “Jr” Lalramnghaka would make an impressionable difference, with the Hilderincs finally equipping themselves with a natural midfielder, though the formation was still somewhat alien and sketched rather than purposeful.
Having defiantly restricted the Aces, though having survived a couple of nervous moments, the Hilderincs, against the form guide, took a lead with a cleverly worked cornerkick, involving Ian Morris and Sergey Darovskikh, with the latter’s quick thinking setting-up Samuel Lalramnghaka to calmly slot the ball into the back of the net through crowded legs in the 15th minute.
Turning the tide, and with the goal, the Blacks were confident to take the game to their opponents, but in a moment of inattentiveness, they allowed the Aces to level with an unguarded header from a routine corner a mere seven minutes later.
With a goal apiece, it was a more open game thereon as both sides had chances to sneak into the lead, with the Hilderincs’ best opportunity falling to the lively Mohd Erzan, who having found himself in the box, but his extra touch of the ball allowed the opponents to nick it off his toe as he was about to pull the trigger, as both sides headed into the break on level terms.
As anticipated, the Blacks were on the back foot in the opening minutes of the restart as the Aces sought a quick start against a team with restricted options with substitutions, and with a middle to top makeshift formation and personnel.
But it was the Hilderincs who restored their lead inside 5 minutes when Kavin Singh’s long throw set Mohd Erzan in motions, and having left the defenders trailing, the youngster coolly put the ball under the goalkeeper to cap an outstanding day, alongside Samuel Lalramnghaka, who both ran into the ground for the team’s cause.
Harshly, their lead lasted just two minutes as the Blacks were penalised for a handball, though the debate will go long into the night as to what is really an offence when the ball hits the arm, as supposed to what we have been led to believe that the hand should hit the ball or if a player makes himself bigger than himself with his arms in an unnatural position for a penalty to be awarded.
With referee’s call written in stone, be it right or wrong, the Hilderincs were dragged back on level terms yet again, though feeling hard done with the dubious intervention.
Feeling the strain of having inadequate numbers, the Blacks were putting on an absolute performance as they defended and held the fort collectively, bring the game into the final water-break and remaining quarter of the game.
As it has been in their previous league games, the last 20 minutes with a hackneyed squad with little reprieve has been nothing less than a punishment unworthy of the Hilderincs efforts and grit.
Anguishingly, within two minutes of the restart the Blacks found themselves a goal behind for the first time in the game when tired legs and minds failed to prevent a shot which found the back of the net.
With some legs barely able to walk, yet alone press for the equaliser, the Hilderincs, still defiant, nearly found the leveller through Ian Morris, but the Aces keeper denied the skipper from picking the top corner of the near post.
But adding to their woes, both Mohd Erzan and Kavin Singh had to withdraw from the action during injury, leaving the Blacks numbers just to fill the player quota.
Chasing the game with whatever they had, the Hilderincs’ fight was effectively put out by the referee who amazingly pointed to the spot following a theatrical fall under minimum challenge, leaving many questions unanswered as to how many points they have lost under the same official’s puzzling decisions in recent fixtures, not counting the two suspicious penalties he had awarded in this game alone.
While they might have a case with that theory and the fact that the fixture list have them play all the “seasoned” Division 1 teams in succession, the Hilderincs’ shortcomings are their own making, as their inability to turn up with consistent and adequate numbers for their games to even contest on an equal footing will put them on course for an immediate return to Division 2.
They will have to find an end to excuses and reasons, and pull ranks together with proper numbers, and that would interesting to find out come Saturday week when they take on yet another “top” side in SNL FC, who have had a 100% winning start to the season, and the same referee is expected to officiate there as well.
Mexican Aces 4 : Hilderinc FC 2
Goals: Samuel Lalramnghaka 15’, Mohd Erzan 46’
MOM: Mohd Erzan
Yellow Card: Ian Morris
1. Christopher Mark
2. Nicholas Ledenmark
3. Dionisis Kolokotsas
4. Adi Ravikumar
5. Sergey Darovskikh
6. Marc Trotter
7. Sunny Tharidu
8. Kavin Singh
9. Adrien Kwong
10. Ian Morris
11. Mohd Erzan
12. Aamir Fikri
13. Samuel Lalramnghaka
14. Mohd Zaiyani
Categories: Match Day