Still very much in early days in the second phase of pre-season in Hilderinc FCâs preparation for the new EFL Saturday season, but with plenty of positives gleaned from their previous sparring, the Blacks took on corporate side, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in their second friendly.
Making three changes to the side that started against Mariners CC last Saturday, the Hilderincs handed Lim Chin Wei and Safaâad Saâim their first starts, while Basil Chia returned to the lineup after missing last weekâs game.
As experimentation is the keyword in this stage, the Blacks altered the lineup from their usual, and more than it produced the desired outcome, it solved a longstanding deficiency, going back to 2019.
However, it was an annoyingly cagey and introverted start for the home side, who sat deep in their own half, allowing the opponents undue confidence to dedicate their proceedings from the start.
While any damage to the scoreline was kept out of harmâs way, the opening quarter did not bode well with the objectives or the nervous, as the basics were laboured and huffed.
Playing with a more direct approach as the game progressed, the Blacks got the perfect shot in the arm heading toward the water break when Ryan Ng won the ball in his own half before sending a delightful through ball from Melvin Sim to chase, and with great strength to hold off two invasive defenders on him, brushed them aside to put the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper to give a front foot going to the pause.
Recalibrating at the short recess, the Blacks returned to the pitch looking hungrier, but more composed, rather than the earlier hesitation.
With a renewed vigor, the Hilderinc took the game back from PwC, and started controlling the demands, and it did not take long for the Hilderincs to double the lead when Ian Morris calmy controlled a mis-kicked clearance before deftly feeding to Melvin Sim, who cooly slotted the return into the back of the net for his second brace in as many games.
Adding the second further lifted the swagger as the Blacks went for the finish, but though with a lot of industry, they were a still a work in progress as far as finishing the opportunities.
However, just as the tie looked dead rubber, reverting hesitation at the back allowed PwC to get back into the game when little more attention to the obvious would have prevent a speculative attempt that creeped into the Hilderinc goal, and it just before the halftime break was not enjoyable.
Keeping with the upturn, the Blacks continued with the good work, even when the personnel were altered, which saw Sasikumar Manirasan, a mainstay in the Hilderinc TwÄ last season, made his Saturday bow.
Despite controlling the game, the Hilderincs were less proficient going forward as the midfield creation was not translated in the final third.
In a curious moment, perhaps one that had to happen, Ryan Ng, who played a pivotal role for the Blacks in the first half, switched colours in the second for his employers, and equalised for the latter against the run of play with his trademark freekick, something which he had done so competently, which led him to be name the Hilderinc Player of the Season for the last campaign.
Heading into the final minutes, the Blacks could have finished the game off, but opportunity were scoffed, none coming close than Fahmy âOllieâ Barker, who had all convinced he had found the back of the net, only to see the ball scrape wide.
While surrendering a two goal lead against an opponent who barely threatened both the Hilderinc keepers would be annoying, the objectives of solidifying the squad to play together with understanding and togetherness was achieved, and with the Blacks heading back to training next week, emphasis will certainly be on improving the synergy and development.
Hilderinc Football Club Invitational Friendly
Hilderinc FC 2 : PricewaterhouseCoopers 2
Melvin Sim 23â 30â
[Assist: Ryan Ng 26â, Ian Morris 36â]
Yellow Card: Verence Lee
1. Lim Chin Wei (GK)
2. Fahmy âOllieâ Barker
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Safaâad Saâim
5. Tan Zheng Jie
6. Danzal Han
7. Verence Lee
8. Basil Chia
9. Melvin Sin
10. Ian Morris
11. Ryan Ng
12. Sagar Mirchandani (GK)
13. Al Shafiq Bakhitar
14. Chris Collick
15. Gibson Chia
16. Parsan Shetty
17. Sasikumar Manirasan
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