|Posted on November 2, 2019 at 9:25 AM|
HFC Media File Picture
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt "The Man in the Arena"
For the second matchday in succession, Hilderinc FC found themselves with a barely there squad after several withdrawals at the eleventh hour, left them with a frustrating fight against a well-stocked Fighting Cocks FC.
Unlike two weeks ago when a lightning risk warning bailed them out, there was no reprieve for the attenuated Blacks who played with two fullbacks returning from injury, a debutant thrust into a makeshift midfield and a rickety formation which was meant to hold the fort more than making a statement in the face of zero options for even a desperate breather.
Stuck between the rock and a hard place, the Hilderincs were handed the tough question of exposing themselves against the vivacious Vietnamese or to sit deep and invite even more attention in the defending third.
And as anticipated, the Blacks were pressed from the start, and only the proficiency of the backline in dealing with the Cocks’ interest.
But despite the tentative start, the Hilderincs progressively found their way into the game, first nullify the opponents and increasingly asking questions of their own.
At times playing with ten men, owing to players taking a time out, while the rest reorganised to give their mate a respite, the arrival of Samuel Lalramnghaka gave a prospect of a proper substitute, albeit only one on the bench.
With another natural midfielder finally in the configuration, the Blacks were able to make sense to their approach and it duly paid dividends when they took the lead against the valid circumstances.
Gabriel Magalhães’ sheer grit saw him fight his way into the box against the clutch of defenders before putting the ball into the back of the net to unbridled elation.
However, the Hilderincs’ lead would last mere minutes as casual awareness at the edge of the box allowed the Cocks to level the score to bring both teams even going into the break.
More than planning strategy for the second half, the Blacks were in discussion as to who can be afforded much needed rest, with several brave warriors volunteering to carry on with the fight despite battling pain and increasing fatigue themselves, with the Hilderincs ready to play a man short if there is a pressing need.
Despite of the positive start, the Blacks found themselves behind early after the restart after an opportunistic but well struck shot flew into the net to annoyance after having lost the ball inside their own half.
Undeterred, the Hilderincs carried on with finding a way back into the game, with Marc Trotter and Gabriel Magalhães showing great industry to force the issue.
Deservedly, the Blacks drew parity when Marc Trotter toe-poked the ball from close range following a melee right in front of the goalkeeper following a probing freekick from Dionisis Kolokotsas.
With slightly under ten minutes remaining on the clock, and with a draw a proper result considering the defiant endeavour from the razor-thin Hilderincs, the game’s significant flashpoint, out of couple of sporadic ones in the course of the afternoon, saw the Blacks reduced player after their goalkeeper, Christopher Mark, was given the march orders following an altercation with one of the Vietnamese players.
Having to fill in fullback, Adi Ravikumar, between the sticks, the Blacks’ defensive shape was left compromised, and despite their best efforts to see out the game with a draw, the Hilderincs were exposed in the dying minutes to cruelly end the game on the losing end.
Brutal it may have been, but with numbers contemptible of a Division One side, the Hilderincs have only themselves to reflect upon and drastic actions will need to be take to arrest the six month running numerical slump.
Hilderinc FC 2 : Fighting Cocks FC 4
Goal: Gabriel Magalhães 27’, Marc Trotter 53’
MOM: Gabriel Magalhães
Red Card: Christopher Mark
1. Christopher Mark
2. Sergey Darovskikh
3. Dionisis Kolokotsas
4. Sunny Tharidu
5. Adi Ravikumar
6. Sam Bignell
7. Jon Loh
8. Gabriel Magalhães
9. Adrien Kwong
10. Ian Morris
11. Marc Trotter
12. Samuel Lalramnghaka
Categories: Match Day