A wonder strike from Harold in the 8th minute was what seperated the Sharks and Admiralz in an entertaining match at Meridian Junior College on Sunday. Rarely does Sharks rear-guard action receive its plaundits but for the second consecutive game, it was what the team needed to secure maximum points and yet again, Michael Wong single-handedly save his team time and again in the encounter as they eke out a narrow victory.
Sharks made several changes to the line-up with Charlson standing in for Vincent whom had to miss the game for a thigh injury last weekend. Zhuoneng regained his place at right back while Brendan replaced Steven in the middle of the park after an indifferent performance in the last game. Rowen started the game upfront with Isaac while Heng Li started on the left. The boys in yellow started the game in a frantic pace with Isaac missing from just six yards after some enterprising wing-play from Harold in the first few minutes. The winger however was in the thick of the action in the 8th minute when he volleyed home from just outside the box after a bad defensive clearance as it nestled to the bottom left corner of the net, 1-0 to the Sharks but that doesn't seem to hinder the youthful exeuberance of Admiralz as they dug deep to control much of the game. Nonetheless, Harold yet again created another opportunity but yet again, it caught Isaac on the wrong foot as another chance goes begging. Sensing that the game was there to be taken, Admiralz became to grow bolder in confidence as they went in search of the equaliser. They managed to put the ball in the net only to be denied by a quick thinking Charlson who pulled an offside trap sucessfully. Half-time, Sharks lead by a slender lead.
In the second half, Jiayong came to add some zest in the middle of the park but that didn't seem to put a dent to the way the opposition was playing confidently and holding the Sharks at bay. Trialist Ian came closest to increase the lead for his new team but his header just grazes the bar. After 20 minutes of the second-half, it was all Admiralz as they poured forward in numbers but the rear-guard action of Jaleel, Charlson, Kelvin and Betrand managed to keep the opposition at bay. When that failed, Michael was on hand to ensure that his net was kept intact.
With 10 minutes of the game left, Ian and Isaac were replaced by Heng Li and Rowen. Heng Li came closest when he was put thru but somehow, his shot while on target, lacked power to beat the grateful opposition custodian. Admiralz almost stealed a point right at the death when Charlson was beaten to the ball for the first time but Michael came bravely to ensure that he kept only his 4th cleansheet of the year to earn his team 3 precious point.
The manager commented, 'To be honest, Admiralz deserved at least a point in the game though we should have scored at least another in the first half. The second half, we don't seem to play our game and let the opposition dictate the tempo. That is suicide when you play with a team that you know will hurt you when given the amount of space and time in such a game. Nonetheless, it was the 3 points that matters.