Written by: Poh De Sheng
Edited by: Shalom Alexandra
Having suffered a hefty loss to Kent Ridge Hall during their first preliminary match, our boys were hoping for an upturn in fortunes in their second match against Eusoff Hall (EH). This is how the game went down.
The game started off as a cagey affair. EH were content to keep possession in their half, with KE, perhaps erring on the side of caution, reluctant to press them for the ball. Eventually, KE managed to get possession of the ball in defence. However, Vernon made a glaring error, hitting a hospital ball to a EH player which presented the opponent with a clear path to goal. Fortunately, he recovered from his error in style, sprawling on the ground to block the subsequent shot.
That close shave was enough to jolt KE into action, with the team swarming forward to win a free hit off EH. From the free hit, the ball was worked to Vernon, who redeemed himself from his earlier error by hooking a shot past the Eusoff keeper and high into the net. First blood to KE.
Having suffered such an early setback, and Eusoff were reeling. KE mercilessly took advantage, with Wai Kit poking home a second after an almighty scramble at the goalmouth to put KE two goals to the good.
With a two goal cushion to fall back on, KE grew in confidence and had EH pinned back in their own half with constant harrying and pressing. This intensity nearly paid dividends again as Sritam jabbed the ball into the keeper’s body from an acute angle.
Eventually, EH managed to find their feet again and grew back into the game. Putting together a composed passing move, they set up a goalscoring opportunity. But KE’s defence was alert and Wai Kit uncompromisingly charged down the shot.
Sensing a EH fightback, the KE coach cleverly called for a time-out to halt their momentum. This decision worked well as thereafter KE once again had EH on the back foot. In a moment of brilliance, Kenneth played an incisive ball out from defence which unerringly found Jerrard. Unfortunately, Jerrard was unable to get the ball under control in time to score.
With KE dominating the opponents, our keeper Yan Shi had had little to do up to that point.
However, he was alert to make a fantastic save when a shot from distance by EH took a wicked deflection on its way to goal. However, in his eagerness to prevent a follow-up shot, Wai Kit conceded a penalty which EH promptly scored. That proved to be the last action of an eventful first period as KE went into the break with a slender lead.
Having been invigorated by their late goal, EH started off the second period with more attacking intent, with KE forced to sit back and absorb the pressure. The intensity soon produced a first casualty, as Jerrard hobbled off with a leg injury after becoming the meat in a human sandwich.
With EH continuing to push hard for an equaliser, Vernon mishit a ball out of defence to a EH player. But, just like in the first half, he recovered quickly to snuff out the chance.
From there, there were two quickfire chances for both sides. First Vikash saw his goalbound shot gathered by the EH keeper.
The keeper then quickly released one of his teammates, who bore down on the KE goal. Thankfully, Yan Shi was once again equal to the task, saving well from the shot.
Then came an almost comedic error from EH. Having received a seemingly innocuous pass back from his defence, the EH keeper momentarily forgot which sport he was playing, attempting to kick the ball back to his teammate. However, he got it all wrong and instead found a marauding Bin Hao, who was unable to convert under pressure from the EH defence.
Thereafter, EH adopted a more physical approach to their game, which saw Ghim Joo flattened against the side boarding. This approach shook our players a little, as they allowed a ball out of defence to slip through them. However, Wai Kit was again alert to block it before it reached a EH player up front, allowing Yan Shi to collect safely. This second period thus ended scoreless.
With victory in sight, KE took to the court with a clear mission in mind; prevent EH scoring at all costs. They were soon tested as EH sent a shot narrowly past the left goalpost. However, Yan Shi was able to gather from the rebound. He was soon called into action again, palming away a shot bound for the top corner of the goal.
After absorbing the suffocating EH pressure, KE responded with style, with another ball out of defence forcing a EH player to send Eugene sprawling to the ground. From the resulting free hit, Wai Kit again showed his value to the team as he dragged a shot past the EH keeper from range for his second and KE’s third.
With KE once again holding a two goal lead, EH found themselves with a mountain to climb. However, they did themselves no favours by scoring an own goal soon after KE had scored.
Despite this fresh setback, EH, to their credit, continued to fight hard. They twice came close to scoring, only to be foiled on both occasions by Yan Shi, who refused to be breached a second time.
With the embers of the EH resistance refusing to extinguish, KE sent on their secret weapon –Gwyn. Putting his considerable heft to good use, he pressed EH players from the front, enveloping them with his suffocating marking. Not content to simply wear the EH players down, he even found time to wiggle past the EH defence at the death, but was unable to convert as the match ended 4-1 for a resounding KE victory.
Final Score: KE beat EH 4-1
Photos courtesy of KE vision