|Posted on January 18, 2020 at 8:15 AM|
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Hilderinc Football Club’s nightmarish six month league run at long last came to a long overdue end when they produced a battling display against Athletic Uncles FC in the ESPZEN Saturday League Division 1.
Incredibly, previously impregnable at their homeground, the Blacks’ spectacular disintegration for the past half dozen months has been nothing short of outlandish, unexplainable, and one unmatched in the 20 year history; and to add to the weird happenings, they have had a 100% win ratio in friendlies away from home, even against quality opponents in this irrational period.
With games becoming a premium going into the business end of the season, and dicing with relegation, a possibility all so real, serious soul searching was conducted after last week’s deserved failure to arrest the almost jinxed decline.
And attributing to mystical elements could offer unlikely and delusional comfort, inconsistency in numbers, and resultant matchday lineups were the more logical reasons, exacerbated by a surprise deficiency in their famous passion and fighting mentality, and now being pressed to the corner, an honest pre-match team talk set the tone for the day.
Having several of the players returning from their holidays, the Blacks were largely similar in their lineup to last week, apart from couple of changes, a rare luxury in certain times, and were quick off the blocks as they sought the initiative.
While the interest was from the Hilderincs early on, the opponents were presented with the first chance of the game when a freekick sailed narrowly pass the upright with the Blacks audience to the attempt.
Ryan Ng had the best chance for the Hilderincs as they upper the endeavour, but his goal bound shot smacked the crossbar denying the forward a second goal in as many games.
For all their devotion to the attacking front, the Blacks found themselves a goal down after the first quarter, when they stood still clamouring for an offside call when the Athletic player took all the time in the world to smash in the lead.
Annoyed at themselves, more than the referee who allowed the goal to stand, the Hilderincs, now with a kick in the rear increased the tempo and attacked in waves, looking to overturn the disadvantage before the break.
They had no less than five opportunities to take the game by the scruff of the neck with ventures from Ryan Ng, who twice drifted wide off the post, Ian Morris’ difficult diving header tip away and Bryan Simis header cleared off the line as the Blacks went into second half a goal down.
Now restricted with injuries to Nicholas Ledenmark and Joel See, the Hilderincs had to take a calculated risk by pairing James Ryall, normally a fullback, into the central defensive role alongside Dionisis Kolokotsas, but the Australian, who previously excelled in an ad-hoc defensive midfield role, proved to be a masterstroke yet again with a measured display, even though severely lacking in match fitness.
With Diogo Baptista taking up his usual place in midfield, though slightly altered to be more advanced, the shuffled allowed Bryan Simis to control the middle of the park, and that turned out to be a key change in the second period as the Blacks exerted more industry than in the earlier half.
Winning a freekick following a quick break from defending a corner, Adi Ravikumar’s freekick was fumbled by the goalkeeper into the path of Diogo Baptista, who needed no second invitation to bang the ball into the back of the net to draw parity and sparking a comeback.
And it was a prefect shot in the arm for the Blacks with slightly under 14mins gone and with enough time for further response.
It took the Hilderincs just 7mins to turn the tie on its head, and with another freekick, this time dispatched by Sunny Tharidu, plucky resolve by Gabriel Magalhães played the ball to Ryan Ng via Bryan Simis, and with the forward’s cross into the box was ineffectively dealt with, Simis was at hand to apply a sumptuous volley from the edge of the box to give the Blacks the lead.
And barely having the dust settled, the Hilderincs sealed the game with the third 3mins later, with another high pressing football, before Gabriel Magalhães lifted the ball into the path of Bryan Simis, who under the attention of the defenders, lifted the ball over the Athletic goalkeeper with a calm header for his brace and a man of a match performance in his last game of the season, and in doing so, put his name alongside some noteworthy ones in HFC history.
While the points were safe at this points, the Blacks had to make sure that they do not allow the opponents a sniff back into the game, and with the combination of the Hilderinc back four and safe pair of hands by Christopher Mark in goal, tentative efforts by the Athletics late in the game were duly nullified for a well-deserved but extremely overdue success in the league.
Though the win and points has had little effect in the short-term, especially in terms of the league standing, it sets up a massive undertaking for escaping the drop, which is pretty much the upmost objective this campaign.
Hilderinc FC 3 : Athletic Uncles FC 1
Diogo Baptista 54’, Bryan Simis 61’ 64’
MOM: Bryan Simis
Yellow Card: Sunny Tharidu
1. Christopher Mark
2. Fahmy Barker
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Dionisis Kolokotsas
5. Adi Ravikumar
6. Sunny Tharidu
7. Koh Kah Hoong
8. Bryan Simis
9. Ryan Ng
10. Ian Morris
11. Gabriel Magalhães
12. Moncef Loukili
13. Bail Kavi
14. Diogo Baptista
15. James Ryall
16. Joel See
17. Sam Bignell
18. Samuel Lalramnghaka
Categories: Match Day