On a hot and lazy Sunday afternoon in a match of insignificant importance, the team proved yet again how losing a mere few hours of sleep was so much worth it.
Defensive duo of Sim Li Ming and R Sivaneswaran drafted in for this encounter.
Fazrul finds redemption from his previous red card by scoring the opening goal.
GOAL MAMADOU! That's 4 goals in 4 games.
Gombak players pose aerial threats...
...but ably dealt by the determined defence.
Ruhaizad ordered off the pitch after two yellows.
Abdoulaye attacks a Duncan freekick...
...cues goal celebration.
Congratulations on the 3rd place finish.
The team shows their appreciation by dousing Aide.
Despite playing their 3rd game in 7 days as well as the second in less than 72 hours on the same astro turf of Jalan Besar Stadium, Aide chose to keep almost the same line-up that did so well in the past 2 games. Then again with the next league game a good 8 days away, there should be ample time for tired legs to recover.
The only changes in personnel were Sim Li Ming coming in for Lau Meng Meng at the right side of defense and as expected R. Sivaneswaran made his first start in the center of defense alongside Nor Azli.
The effable young centerback who garnered some fandom among the Sengkang Punggol supporters of late was responsible for Gombak United to race into the lead at around the quarter hour mark. With Nor Azli committed at the back, some miscommunication from Siva and probably Ming lead to a Gombak forward clear and it was easy for him to squeeze the ball past Fadhil Salim. The scorer was Fazrul Nawaz who indeed as I had predicted was back with a vengeance and definitely the best element of attack for the Bulls the entire game.
The defense looked jittery and Gombak tried to extend the lead to no avail while our attack start coming alive.
It was once again Mamadou Diallo as the main axis of menace for the Gombak’s defense and a cool cut in into the 18 yard box before slamming the ball past Gombak’s deputy custodian, Zakariah Nerani to level things up.
It was a goal reminiscence of a goal I saw the lad scored last year against the Gombak Prime League team at Jurong West Stadium.
It was end to end till the break and remained deadlock even for the second period with neither team coming on top.
However Gombak United started to stamp their authority with their physicality and Fazrul had a headed goal disallowed for offside and then Park Kang Jin flashed the goal with a glit-edged opportunity.
Meng Meng came in by half time for Li Ming might have tightened things at the back.
Siva also redeemed himself with some great defending and tackling. In order to nurture a raw talent, one just have to put faith in him and let him clock as much playing time as possible; something Aide did with flying colors.
However we did benefitted from some dubious officiating when Gombak’s resident volatile figurehead, Ruhaizad Ismail were awarded a second yellow card for dissent.
Once again Darren Stewart would rue about playing a man short against the Dolphins this season while our team accepted the decision with open arms and went on the offence as the stadium started to cool down as dusk arrived.
It was anxious till the end when Sukhir just refused to blow his whistle as I was hoping lightning does not strike twice after the Hafez Mawasi’s clanger in the semi final for Woodlands against Gombak.
Eventually we came off with a hard won victory. Kudos to Gombak United who really gave their all as well.
The boys certainly deserved it for the effort put in so far and seeing how they douse Aide and the coaching team in celebration, one just felt the team truly is like a close unit and definitely when you treat one another like kinship, the football on the pitch will show.
Let’s hope the good form can persist back in the league. Finally Hougang Stadium is in sight again after playing away from home for so long.