Fish Out of Water

-Sengkang Punggol FC Fans' Perspective-

S.League 2010 Match 18

Opponent: Albirex Niigata (S)
Date: 18th June, 1930hrs
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium
Final Score: 1 – 1 (Tatsuro Inui 36″ – Mamadou Diallo 42″)

Another dubious penalty awarded to us, another dominant display of possession football from the Japanese, the winless streak is 9 on the trot.

Well at least Mamadou scored a stunning equalizer and showed there is still some fire in his flat abs.
His first in the league might be a prelude of more to come.

Arai’s frustrations at some of the loss of ball possession against his former employers shorn of some key players told a vivid story of how his current team mates could barely match up his high standards.

June 20, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 1 Comment

S.League 2010 Match 17

Opponent: Home United
Date: 14th June, 1930hrs
Venue: Hougang Stadium
Final Score: 0 – 1 (Chun Jae Woon 94″)

Welcome back to Singapore football, Arai-san.
There was no rousing homecoming for the former Albirex & SAFFC defender. His new team ended up in another home loss albeit rather a controversial one but after sweeping almost everything in Singapore football for the past 3 years, Arai could be playing for his second bottom of the table club since his previous employers SC Goa was relegated from the Indian League after finishing second from bottom in the recently concluded season.

It was a heartbreaking effort from the Dolphins to concede a penalty at the death of the game (awarded by Sukhir Singh, surprise surprise) but the more disturbing fact was that we can’t score a goal for nuts, especially not at home.

With the arrival of Kenji Arai, the club had resolved the softbelly of the team setup which was the defense which had not really been that awful as compared to the previous seasons.
However it was blatant we need a finisher up front, a role we had been missing since the days of Jon Angelucci or Paul Bekombo (even though they were not the best, at least they can score goals).
The strike force of Sobrie Mazelan and Farizal Basri just do not strike fear in the opposing defense and duly the goals dried up.
As for Ryan Fante, well he joined the likes of Ivan Asenjo, Reginaldo and Moussa Keita for being here a short stint with a goal to show for.
I also doubt Mamadou Diallo could be the same player who terrorized defenses as of late last season and early this season as his injuries acted up on him, his temperament holding him down as well as all defenders starting to read his impending moves like a book.

We could see a season when we concede the least goals in years yet still entrenched in the bottom without seeing the light of day.

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | Leave a comment

S. League 2010 Match 16

Opponent: SAFFC
Date: 8th June, 1945hrs
Venue: Hougang Stadium
Final Score: 0 – 1 (Taisuke Akiyoshi 65″)

From the post match interview, coach Aide felt the team did more than expectations (yet everyone thought it would be like 3-0 to the reigning champions) and drew something positive from the display.

Sadly it was still another 3 points loss and aside from the away game to Albirex, I don’t see us getting anything out of the next 3 fixtures as well.

The defense held firm for great lengths in the game with Shahir seemingly recapturing some of his earlier form minus a booking; it was the attack that really needed to show some initiatives.
Jalal nearly took a leaf out of Ryan Fante’s “Book of Missing Sitters” with a miss except he might had meant for a cross instead.
Sobrie had another cross hitting the goalpost but from the report it seem like SAFFC definitely had more attempt on goal.
Fadhil Salim uncharacteristically flapped from setpieces, which we would not want to see from the most reliable player for most of the season.

As for the new boy Ahn Jae Cheul, beside picking a yellow card despite being almost invisible as viewers had claimed got the reporter to quote as below:

“The Canadian’s mysterious exit left Jalal, Sobrie Mazelan et al with too huge a burden to bear, and Korean replacement An Jae Cheul, signed from National Football League side Singapore Cricket Club, gave little indication that he was a direct fit as the successor.”

Time will tell if he could assimilate and be an asset though my hope ain’t high for Ahn.

Aide mentioned reinforcement is on its way, let’s keep an open mind to it but to haul ourselves off the bottom two this season really looked like a longshot.

June 9, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 2 Comments

S. League 2010 Match 15

Opponent: Woodlands Wellington
Date: 5th June, 1945hrs
Venue: Hougang Stadium
Final Score: 0 – 1 (Kazuki Yoshino 36″)

The day Etoile took top spot and Sengkang Punggol condemned to the bottom. It must be written in the stars, jaded does not even remotely describe how I felt now.

Continue reading

June 5, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 10 Comments

S. League 2010 Match 14

On the ground where Balestier notched a win and Albirex (S) earned a point, once again Sengkang Punggol came off with nothing but the same scoreline as the corresponding fixture last season.

That match in 2009 the team showed endeavors going up front with Mamadou Diallo leading the charges, we were ultimately let down by the goalkeeping frailties of one Joey Sim.
The strikeforce of Obatola, Njoku and Agu Casmir was too hot to handle back then while Fadhil Salim was the goalkeeper who emerged smiling that evening.

This time round even the might of Fadhil could not save us from the easy 3 points from his previous employers.
The match report by a supposedly neutral correspondent from S tells the whole tale about the performance which he labeled as “woeful”.

Some interesting quotes in a supposedly-impartial article which highlight how the team deserves to be at the dire position in the league standings:

Back then, the Dolphins were staffed by the likes of Ratna Suffian, Fairoz Hasan and Zdravko Simic, all of them honest, hardworking grafters but ultimately not good enough to add up to a mid-table outfit.

If Aide was hoping the 2010 version, with Murphy Wiredu, Faizal Amir and Sobrie Mazelan, could fare better, as targeted by the club’s top management, this match would have done little to justify his beliefs.

Many supporters till this very day still was sore at the loss of a classy distributor of the ball like Simic, in replacement we get Abdoulaye Diallo who certainly not in the same class.
The cracks are showing after a great month of February but the harsh reality of this team just not up to par to be a mid-table side came too soon perhaps.

Compared to Gombak’s effective strength, Sengkang never really looked like they were in the game, so toothless were they in attack.

Winger Jordan Webb looked like a pale shadow of the player that had won the inaugural Great Eastern-YEO’S S.League Player of the Month award in February, so poor was his crossing and passing that the Bulls defence hardly broke a sweat.

Lone striker Ryan Fante made a manful attempt to be more productive, but the Canadian missed a sitter on the stroke of half-time.

Definitely Jordan Webb’s deterioration had not been surprising to many who felt he was merely a one-trick pony since he first emerged in the league.
He packed with pace and trickery no doubt but lack the temperament to carry the team forward; seems like a lost cause when the team is down and out.
Might be too hard on a player merely months ago was playing semi-professionally in Canada.
Meanwhile for Fante, the frequency of him missing sitters is getting rather uncomfortable.

But a long low pass by Duncan David Elias in injury time was stopped by Jeremy Chiang, who instantly replied by playing a 50-yard punt for Fazrul to chase.

With the Sengkang defence virtually unmanned, the Singapore forward was easily clear, and he moved into a good attacking position before beating Fadhil from distance.

It was a perfect coup de grace from Gombak, who managed to score three goals within a match for only the second time this season.

But while Tampines were good enough to claim three of their own in response last Friday, Sengkang could not show the quality required to even hit one, showing just why they are still languishing near the foot of the table.

Well 2-0 down, you really had nothing to lose but to try break the duck. But to concede so late and giving Gombak their first 3-0 win will be a tough pill to swallow.
We have only been able to score 7 times in 10 games after that 2-2 draw with Etoile, which is a worrying statistic unless your defense is as sound as Gombak of course. Sadly we boast one of the worst defense in the league as well.

Coach Aide came out candid on his post-mortem of another depressing season for the Dolphins:

“The performance was not what I wanted, nor what I expected. We could have done better, and we have done a lot, a lot better in the last eleven or twelve games, so this is one of the most disappointing games this year.”

With the mid-season transfer window set to open on 7 June, Sengkang appear set to make several changes to their roster, and already new foreign triallists have been spotted at Hougang Stadium.

But Aide warned that all underperformers, regardless of nationality, were at risk of being shown the door when the window opens.

“It’s not only the foreign players, I think the local players should feel the pressure as well,” he said.

“Like I said before, you have to work hard in order to be in the team. Sengkang is no longer a club where we just want to sit in the bottom two, not anymore.

“The management has stated that they want us to get out from that group. Changes have to be made in order for Sengkang to improve.”

Think it was Vincent Teo, a regular poster here who left a comment that the clubs who put out a team filled with youth are trying to kid themselves and tend to find themselves at the wrong end of the table.
In recent time, Balestier Khalsa and Woodlands Wellington are the other 2 sides who tried to cut cost in just recruiting untried talent.
At least the class of 2010 can take pride in the fact that at least they were on par with the high wages-drawing seasoned men we recruited last season who did not do any better.

Aide’s prognosis might not be too morale-boosting for his charges but at least he was straight up to identify the problem and not being oblivious with it.

We might do a mid season analysis of the team and there are certainly a few names that we felt had failed to live to the billing. Stay tuned…

May 21, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010, Sengkang Punggol | 2 Comments

S.League 2010 Match 13

Opponent: Etoile
Date: 12th May, 1930hrs
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium
Final Score: 0 – 1 (Daniel Nna 75″)

The team has to take pride in defeat this time.

In perhaps the most spirited display I have seen in the longest while, the team was unfortunate not to come out with at least a point.

Fadhil Salim once again in irrepressible form between the sticks and was not at all at fault for Nna’s winning goal.
Time and again he scuppered Etoile’s barrage of chances and fitting to be the man of the match.

The defense held themselves well and overall the team played in accordance to Aide’s plan to contain the French contingent.
The second half showed that the team was liberated to go on the attacking front with Ryan Fante metamorphosing into a real target man.
He had two great instances to score in the second successive game while Murphy’s persistence nearly reaped its rewards too.

Abdoulaye and Farizal were perhaps the poorer performers but not something for me to clutch the straws with anymore as it had been so the entire season.
Jasper’s (or Dez Corkhill insisted in calling as Joey) budding development continues as I hope the rest of the team would play with fire in their bellies like our No. 35, the results would surely come.

May 12, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 9 Comments

S.League 2010 Match 12

Opponent: Beijing Guoan Talent
Date: 8th May, 1945hrs
Venue: Yishun Stadium
Final Score: 1 – 1 (Yu Tianzhu 86′ – Ryan Fante 28′)
Wretched Stream-of-Consciousness

  • Everytime Shahir gets a card, someone on the other side of the globe starves.
  • Ryan Fante 1, Abdoulaye Diallo 0.
    The fight to not be the worst foreign signing.
  • Duncan Elias 2, Ryan & Abdoulaye combined 0.
    Masterclass display from the boy with his dangerous deliveries and one goal-line clearance, adding credence that no non-performing (and high-paying) foreign player should be in the way of our young and promising locals.
  • Beijing’s 12th man, AKA the goalpost, makes his presence felt by repelling goal-bound attempts from Murphy, Sobrie, Ryan and Jordan.
  • Another sending off for the Beijing boys. Must be the presence of Zaid Hussein.

May 9, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 6 Comments

S.League 2010 Match 11

Opponent: Tampines Rovers
Date: 28th Apr, 1930hrs
Venue: Hougang Stadium
Final Score: 0 – 3 (Khairul Amri 54″, Qiu Li 61″, 69″)

When a 40 year old man outruns a 21 year old, you know something is wrong.

Continue reading

April 28, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010, Sengkang Punggol | 8 Comments

S.League 2010 Match 10

Opponent: Balestier Khalsa
Date: 22nd Apr, 1945hrs
Venue: Toa Payoh Stadium
Final Score: 1 – 0 (K. Vikraman 41″)

Rousing crowd of 845 flood the dilapidated Toa Payoh Stadium to witness a mid table clash of the perennial cannon fodders.

In the end, the result looked well familiar as our team just could not break the curse of Balestier Khalsa, hell not even John Constatine could do anything to help.

From the match report which one should take with a pinch of salt since they gave away a glaring mistake of saying the goal scored by Vikraman was on the 48th minute when the live update shown the goal was nicked before the half, the Dolphins once again blew their chances to salvage anything from the game which had been the same case against the same opponents for the longest time i had recollection of.

Another penalty miss which saved by Joey Sim of all people really add salt to the wound but the languid display was perhaps consistent throughout the game I supposed.
I do know that the bumpy pitch at Toa Payoh makes it hard to play free flowing passing football (not sure if the team played that though).

K. Vikraman, the scorer, also nicked a scintillating 30 yard screamer downward header from a cross (thanks to my partner in crime for correcting my mistake) when Balestier forced a 2-2 at Hougang Stadium early last season.
It nearly led to the leftback then Zahid Ahmad to come into blow with the coach back then Jorg.
As seen from recent performances, the winger certainly is the man to rise to the occasion and deliver the match decider, as I think I had mentioned his name in the match build-up as well.
With the lead, it is hard to see Balestier to be letting it slip as they had done against Albirex and Beijing earlier in the seas.

Shahir Hamzah got himself into the referee’s book again, starting to lost count on the total number of yellows including that in the League Cup.
Of course there’s a chance to be victimized by the men in black but sometime his decision-making ability during tight situation is thrown into doubt.
He is a talented young defender which we need to foster but certainly he needed to wisen up more on the pitch.

So it ends the sequence of 3 games in just 7 days for our ailing Dolphins. Considering all were away games, 3 points earn can be considered encouraging, especially the depth of the squad we had.
But loss to Balestier Khalsa is always hard pill to swallow especially twice already this season.

Next up Tampines Rovers at home, let’s throw the form book away guys.

April 23, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 2 Comments

S.League 2010 Match 9

Opponent: Young Lions
Date: 19th Apr, 1945hrs
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium
Final Score: 0 – 1 (Murphy Wiredu 65″)

Not wanting to start the week on a bad note and with another heavy downpour threatening our well being, this time we opted for the sane person option and stayed away from the match. Maybe, just maybe our absence would eradicate the hex we might have inadvertently place on the team.

Post match thoughts below.

From Wrecki:

It seems like the experiment work wondrously. We really ought to repeat for the Balestier game and hope the team can make it 2 in 2 in our absence.

Anyway checking through the line-up, it looks like Aide had put skipper Nor Azli in midfield for the suspended Faizal Amir.
The tenacious utility man got a booking which means he would miss the next game after picking up his 4th yellow card of the season, and made an early departure for Abdoullaye Diallo.
The cards kept racking up with Shahir notched on for his burgeoning collection.

Glad to see future stand-in skipper, Murphy Wiredu scoring in successive games, and now had 4 in 4 games against Young Lions, all at Jalan Besar, definitely an auspicious sign.
A valuable 3 away points earn, at least we crept off the bottom and reach double digits in points. Keep it up lads!

April 19, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 9 Comments