Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Last Straw

8th October 2009, Wednesday

I doubt I will watch another live S League match for now...highly doubtful for the new season as well unless I change my club allegiance or there's a major overhaul of personnel to Sengkang Punggol.

Too many times we had thought the team is on the mend and producing results, yet in the end we left bitterly disappointed by the woeful aftermath left by the despondent performance of a limited team.

The last straw was on Monday when we face perhaps the only team we can and should comfortably beat...Balestier Khalsa, the team etched at the bottom of the table with a run of 10 consecutive losses.

Sengkang was buoyed by an encouraging 1-1 home draw against the on-form Tampines squad (whom we witnessed an impressive victory over SAFFC) which came after a respectable defeat against SAF in a televised match which we should had carved out a draw if not for a wretched own goal.
The writing is on the wall for our 3rd league victory at home in Hougang Stadium against the very young and inexperience Tigers... Foo had been inculcating the winning notion for 2 weeks before this tie; we even took a day off from work to witness perhaps the most comprehensive victory (with more than one goal scored since that 3-1 success against the Young Lions).
But we had counted the eggs too early before they hatch, especially when the team in question is Sengkang Punggol.

The signs were ominous prior to the game when interim coach for a while, Mirko Grabovac who inspired the team for gritty display since the uber-defensive Sawsadimata Dasuki was ousted decided to leave Singapore, citing the need to be with his family as the sole reason.
Although we have a new competent gaffer in Swandi Ahmad, Mirko was really in the main reason we are now not bottom-dweller.

The sky was overcast and heavy downpour duly followed in the afternoon, putting the match in jeopardy.
Fortunately the rain subsided as fast as it arrived and by early evening the whole island was cool, the perfect remedy for a great game.

But I wasn't too please to listen to our starting line-up when I arrived at the stadium.
Our main marksman, Reginaldo (who only score one petty penalty so far btw) is out through suspension and we do not really have much attacking option on the bench except for youngsters like Kato, Duncan David Elias or Ben Low.
Swandi felt we need the experience, so he drafted in 2 players like Sufyandi Naib and Sobrie Maselan to lead the attack when neither are orthodox strikers.

We took our seats at the open terrace like we did at Tampines hoping for a change of luck and what we witnessed in the first half was an insipid display by the Dolphins who lack imagination up front with Haris Sumri looked set for a torrid night missing some passes and commiting schoolboy mistakes.
However he was the one with the best chance in the 1st half but could only head meekly towards the Tigers' custodian.
We knew that the keeper is the Archilles' heel of our opposition yet we could not conjure a proper shot on goal.

On the contrary, we allow the Tigers to come attack at us and our defense don't look sound at all when you have a pacey Saruta doing his typical mazy runs all night long.
Onyekachi could had put the cellar team one up if not for the woodworks and Ratna Suffian was non existent for most of the game, you might not notice he was playing at all.

Except for a reprieve in the closing minutes in the 1st half and the beginning 10 minutes of the 2nd, we were always on the back foot as we lack someone in the center as Hicks was out of position as the holding midfielder while skipper Simic was pushed too up front.
Sometime the 5 players up front love to cluster together with Tigers' captain, Seto marshalling his defense well but they had not much to do as well.
The best opportunity for a goal was when leftback, Ali Imran Lomri broke free into the Tiger's penalty area and picked out Haris Sumri who had 2 chances to an open goal one on one with the Tigers' custodian, Daniel Ong but can't execute a finish which explains why we had only 11 goals in 27 games.

I knew it would bite back on us and true indeed within 10 minutes or so, a poorrly defended corner resulted in young, lanky midfielder Rai to thump in the opening goal for the visitors.
The lead was extended when Yamamoto brought down the Tigers' attacker and Bekombo convert an easy penalty (seriously you can put anyone, and you'll convert you penalty against our keeper) to add more misery for his former club.

For the remaining 18 minutes or so, we were just chasing shadows and Bekombo should had score a sitter to put the final nail in our coffin.
Most players including the skipper were playing with shoulders down, doomed to lose and the odds of them scoring evaporated there and then.
The punter uncles at our terrace were cheering hard for the Tigers while for seasoned (pretty foolish if you are one anyway) Dolphins fan just deemed it as another night at Hougang.

Seriously losing to a team as raw as Balestier is blasphamous, to me even a draw is not good enough... The limited potential this team possess is truly saddening...
The abject performance once again proves to be the last straw for us as we looked forward to a new season but highly unlikely much will change....

Over at the English Premier League, one majestic club mirrors the fate of Sengkang Punggol... Tottenham Hotspurs.
By losing at home to newly-promoted Hull City, Spurs is now etched in the bottom with their inability to score haunting them much like our Dolphins...
They are experiencing their worse start since 1918 when Titanic sank...perhaps they would sank to the nether divison too... too bad Sengkang wouldn't experience the pain of relegation...

This weekend hasn't been too jolly for the missus as well...
Had a bad fall while we heading for badminton on Saturday mornin, badly sprained her ankle and palm... Then lost control of her drinking limit when she doused herself with red wine at her cousin's wedding till she regurgitated the 2004 harvest into a plastic bag on the trip bag in his Dad's bus.

Japanese word of the day: わら ~wa-ra~(Straw)I wonder how many Sengkang fans remain loyal to the club after Monday

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