Fish Out of Water

-Sengkang Punggol FC Fans' Perspective-

S.League 2010 Match 32

Opponent: Tampines Rovers
Date: 23rd Oct, 1945hrs
Venue: Hougang Stadium
Final Score: 1 – 3(Kenji Arai Pen 74″ : Aliff Shafaein 4″, Aleksandar Duric 79″, 90″)

So there is no spanner thrown in the title race but a seemingly well-spurred host playing their final home match in front of a boisterous home crowd.

Kenji Arai, a player who is surely well conditioned for a title race rather than fighting for points with his current employer nearly gave the Stags a scare with the penalty innocuously awarded for a handball in the box after some scramble.
But 40 year old sage by the name of Aleks got the brace to ensure Tampines Rovers still have the final say to the outcome of the league championship when one of former employers Home United fizzles out.
Unfortunately a postponed game between Etoile and a lackluster Young Lions did not deter the French side en route to be the first foreign side to win the S League.

Anyway back to Sengkang Punggol.
A lot fo lyricals had been waxed about how things had improved over the course of 12 months and the team still had a chance for 10th placing and a 30 points finish; but the results at home base in Hougang Stadium can surely be described as less than stellar in 2010.
Let us go through the results one by one:

1-2 (loss) Balestier Khalsa
2-1 (win) Gombak United
1-3 (loss) SAFFC
0-1 (loss) Albirex (S)
0-3 (loss) Tampines Rovers
0-1 (loss) Woodlands
0-1 (loss) Albirex (S) (Singapore Cup)
0-1 (loss) SAFFC
0-1 (loss) Home United
0-2 (loss) Geylang United
2-2 (draw) Young Lions
1-0 (win) Beijing Guoan
1-3 (loss) Tampines Rovers

2 wins & a draw in 12 league matches at Hougang Stadium pushed the team in the predicament they are facing now.
If they could do as good as they had been let’s say the astro-turf of Jalan Besar, it could had been a decent end to the season.

Hope the home form can be rectified in 2011.

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October 26, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 9 Comments

S.League Match 31

Opponent: Young Lions
Date: 4th Oct, 1945hrs
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium
Final Score: 0 -1(Kenji Arai 48″)
Completely unaware of this match being played due to the irregularities of the match fixtures of late with the Singapore Cup tournament and Young Lions’ recent matches postponement.

Once again whoever scheduled fixtures in the league has done brilliantly to alienate viewers again; just when the stone cold fact that we just aren’t the Top 10 league in Asia.
(Well no one in the right state of mind  is deceiving himself about the Top 10 accolade for a while now)

On the ground, they were humbled by Geylang United days before, the Dolphins bounced back with a nifty win to see them notching a record 27 points (in Sengkang Punggol era).
Perhaps in the past few seasons, Sengkang Punggol could be in 9th or 10th position now but due to the competitiveness innate in the league in the mid table region, they are still entrenched second from bottom.

With 2 games left to play (one against Tampines Rovers), 10th position in the final standings definitely look a yard too far now.
Of course Beijing with all their suspension problem could slide downhill by losing all their remaining matches including the final game of the season against Sengkang Punggol of course.

Against a weakened and well fatigued Young Lions, the Dolphins clinched the win from Kenji Arai’s second goal of the season.
The former Albirex & SAFFC man really had been a revelation for the team.
His calmness in defense coupled with his spot on instructions to his fellow defenders really beef the team up defensively.
His brace score in merely like 16 -17 games played showed the attacking facet to his game and outdid Abdoullaye Diallo who played twice as many game for us and not score once in the league.

An impressive tailend for coach Aide and his team who really outdid their predecessors (including the highly touted “all stars” class of 2009) and surely a platform to build upon for the next season.

October 5, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 22 Comments

S.League 2010 Match 30

Opponent: Geylang United
Date: 29th Sep, 1930hrs
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium
Final Score: 4 – 1(All four foreigners of Geylang scored – Mamadou Diallo 88″)
Alright, I know this is a week late but I was so tempted to leave this out of the record book. I was actually thinking Sengkang Punggol stood a chance in another televised game, but after starting strongly, it all went awfully wrong in the first half.

Against a team who failed to score like 300 minutes and shipped out 4 goals from shoddy goalkeeping and non-existent defending is a throw back to what Sengkang Punggol had been for years; which really do not give credit to the steel Aide added in the rear during the mid season.

For a goal-shy side like Geylang, they surely love to meet the Dolphins with a wonderful record of 3 wins in 3 plus 9 goals scored (around a third of their grand total of 30 in the league this year).
Kim Jae Hong is a wonderful player to have, regardless of his pacy run or delivery from the setpieces but instead we have a Korean of entirely different spectrum.

October 5, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | Leave a comment

Reaping the Benefits?

The verdict is out

The culpable parties of that infamous brawl at Jalan Besar had duly been punished.
And from the look of it, our own Young Lions might had instigated the whole fracas as well.

Ultimately points were docked, players were suspended and fined (some more severe than the others), and management shown remorse in the closing statement, time to let the unsavory episode laid to rest.

However with the points reduction, it makes things rather interesting in the bottom half of the table, and perhaps something Sengkang Punggol can reap benefits from.

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September 22, 2010 Posted by | General Singapore Football, S League 2010, Sengkang Punggol | 9 Comments

S League Foreign Clubs Walk of Shame

Last evening fracas between Beijing Guo’An Talents & the Young Lions which resulted in the match being abandoned (with barely minutes to go) just adds on to the well-documented list of how the foreign clubs that were invited to our local league were more of a bane rather than benefit.

Before I begin, we must honor the only real consummate model among the ragtag crew of foreign teams since their inception back in 2003, Albirex Niigata (S).
The Jurong East-based satellite team of the J League outfit had embraced their role as an invited team with professionalism and manner second to none as compared to the other foreign sides from past & present.
Their modus operandi had always been cultivating players for the parent team back in Japan, however the squads over the years had featured seasoned professionals playing in various levels of football there as well.
Despite results not going their way for the past few seasons in the league, they still took it in their stride and channel their best for all facets of the local game, with their appearance in the semi final of the 2009 Singapore Cup as a testament.
Over the years they had given the local game with some luminaries like Kenji Arai, Issey Nakajima, Hidetoshi Wakui, Norio Takahashi, Tetsuya Okayama, Akira Takase, Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Kenji Adachihara, Taisuke Akiyoshi et al.
The White Swans had also contributed to the local Japanese community and even create a niche in the neighborhood where they are based (with a hawker store no less).

It does not take much to reciprocate what Albirex had done for the past 6 years, but the following list of clubs turned out to appear in the local media for the wrong reason somehow:

*Edited with the aftermath of the disciplinary hearing of the brawl between Beijing Guoan Talents & Young Lions

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September 21, 2010 Posted by | General Singapore Football, Historical Event, Rant, S League | 5 Comments

S.League Match 28

Opponent: Home United
Date: 6th Sep, 1945hrs
Venue: Clementi Stadium
Final Score: 2 – 2(Choi Chul Woo 52″, Shi Jiayi 63″ : Mamadou Diallo 35″, Jordan Webb 40″)

2 goals in 5 minutes of the first half surely rocked the Clementi Stadium as the Dolphins put on yet another sterling performance, days after nearly snitching a point at Choa Chu Kang.

Against lesser opponent, the halftime score might had been 3 or 4 and the game would be wrapped.
But a team of Home United caliber especially with the discipline gaffer Lee Lim Saeng instilled got the Protectors back into the fray and Shi Jiayi’s equalizer was sort of a sucker punch.
Nevertheless the team held on for a precious point unlike last season when they fell to Super Reds away and came off a similar 2 goal advantage during halftime only to self destruct to allow the Koreans steal the win.

From the report the team definitely was all gun blazing in the first half with Farizal and Sobrie playing their parts alongside the goalscorers.
Both played fleeting role in the early part of the season and was nice to see them gaining more foothold in the team especially Sobrie who was with the club for a while now.
Both Jordan and Mamadou are now touching distance to reaching double figures in goals which would be the first time someone in the marigold and skyblue hitting double digit since Farhan Farook done so in 2008.

Although conceding 4 goals against the 2 uniformed giants of the S League was not a poor statistic (considering last seasoon we had let in like 20 goals in total in 7 games against these teams), the Jerkovic’s winner and Shi’s leveler as according to coach Aide should had been avoided.
It might had seen the team dropping 4 points but not a bad effort to get one in the end.

Home United would be sore to miss the chance to soar to the summit and personally I just hope Tampines do a job against Etoile though a point in that fixture would be mighty interesting to the title race.

As for the Dolphins, no time to rest on the laurels with Woodlands stealing a win at Geylang United and the home game against Albirex is paramount if they want to climb out of the bottom two.

September 7, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 1 Comment

S.League Match 27

Opponent: SAFFC
Date: 2nd Sep, 1945hrs
Venue: Choa Chu Kang Stadium
Final Score: 2 – 1(John Wilkinson 60″, Ivan Jerkovic 77″ : Jordan Webb 66″)
Facing a SAF side hungry for the 3 points, the Dolphins certainly gave the army men a good fight.
From the report, there was plenty of positive on the pitch which the lads could emulate in a much tougher tie at Clementi in a few days time.

September 3, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 1 Comment

The Final Stretch

The S League has stealthily returned though in the midst of the euphoria from the Youth Olympics, not many had missed the local professional football league.

The league had been taking a battering from the local audiences who forsake the game for ages now; claiming the seasoned professionals barely even playing second fiddle to 15 year old boys.
Knowing my fellow countrymen, one can take such comments with a pinch of salt.

Anyway, the dwindling attendance continues to plague the local game as the past 4 games since Monday serve as a testament but the matter of the league champions continue to heat up.

As for second bottom placed Sengkang Punggol, unless a drastic drop of form or a miraculous run by Woodlands Wellington (who just lost to Home United at home), it could be safely said that they live another day and starve off the cellar for the 4th year running.

However the prime objective was still 8th placing and with Balestier Khalsa claiming their 9th win of the season with that 2-0 win over Young Lions, I would say 9th placing would be a safer bet though the team had to ensure they do better than the Japanese & Chinese youngsters of Albirex & Beijing respectively.

The final stretch began with a testy game at Choa Chu Kang stadium, the venue where the team brilliantly clinched a win over home team SAFFC in the League Cup in March.
Richard Bok’s Warriors are in the back of a horrendous run of result which was an unheard of 4 match losing streak.
The break might actually do them some good to compose themselves and re-instill the winning mentality.
Thursday game surely is one they would be out for blood with their injury-plagued squad finally getting their act together.
Even with old SAFFC boy Kenji Arai in our ranks, I don’t bet we can get anything there. A slender loss would be an encouraging result.

This is closely followed to a trip to Clementi against SAFFC’s arch uniformed nemesis, Home United.
The red hot team could really win with their eyes shut these days though they needed some luck at Woodlands last evening.
Sengkang Punggol’s past record against the Protectors had not been good, so another game that I would not bet on.

Entertaining fellow strugglers Albirex at home could be a decider to see who will finally finish above the other.
Albirex will have a seemingly easier late run-in with games against Young Lions, Woodlands and Beijing, so seriously a must win for the Dolphins over the White Swans.

Away games at Young Lions and Geylang United would not be a walk in the park but scrapping for a point or two would not be too hard to ask for.

Playing Tampines Rovers as their second last game of the season at home, the Stags might need the points to win their coveted first league title in 5 years.
Would not mind Sengkang Punggol proving an unwanted obstacle, of course without the expense of Etoile winning it.

Finally  the trip to Yishun Stadium where the team had some dominance over, hell even Ryan Fante scored there.
So one will expect a decent performance there if the team aren’t shrouded by injury or suspension problems.

Not the easiest run of game but to get 9th or 10th position in the final standings is still achievable, so we’ll see.

September 1, 2010 Posted by | S League 2010, Sengkang Punggol | 5 Comments

S.League Match 26

Opponent: Woodlands Wellington
Date: 8th Aug, 1945hrs
Venue: Woodlands Stadium
Final Score: 0 – 1(Jordan Webb 80″)
Jordan Webb finally vanquished his goal scoring drought at the ground he scored his very last back in March.

3 points for the good which stretched our advantage over the bottom dwelling Rams to 8 points and kept us within reach of Albirex and Balestier.
Hope the break would not disrupt the momentum as the next few ties would not be an easy task to meander about

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

S.League Match 25

Opponent: Gombak United
Date: 4th Aug, 1930hrs
Venue: Jalan Besar Stadium
Final Score: 0 – 0
Once again having a decent goalkeeper makes a difference.

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August 5, 2010 Posted by | Matches, S League 2010 | 4 Comments