Central Park narrowly missed the cut for the last 16 in the 1st ESPZEN Community Cup with a 1-0 loss to James Cook University over at Bedok North. The defeat put the team now without a goal after 180 minutes of play and it will put serious question mark on whether the new formation adopted by the manager for this season will bear any fruit.
A miscommunication between players and manager for the game meant that several players went missing as it was meant to be a free weekend for the team. Nonetheless, the team managed to put together a team and with the inclusion of old horse Kelvin Tan, Sharks look set to be provide the youthful opposition a run for their money. Both teams had trouble finding their feet in the game though Sharks were constantly providing a threat on the right with some marauding runs by Jeffrey though his final ball left much to be desired. On the other end, JCU managed to pull a save off Aaron off a free-kick when the Sharks custodian had to palm the ball away for a corner. The closest Shark went into taking the lead was when a ball broke free just outside the penalty box but Jeffrey miscued his shot without troubling the custodian as both teams went into the break levelled.
The second half didn't see much changes in the pattern of play with Sharks making a couple of changes. JCU on the other hand were looking more dangerous as they inched closer to control the middle of the park. The goal came just inside 10 minutes of the second half when Zhuoneng allowed his opposite number a free rein on the wings and with no one taking responsibility in the middle, JCU sneaked in the goal in between Sharks central defenders. Sharks begin to finally find their feet on the game and manages to create a couple of half chances. With the Sharks needing a goal desperately, a shift in formation changed the shape of the team and coupled with a needless sending off of JCU midfielder, Sharks begin to crave out chances.
Chris and Heng Li managed to test the custodian on a couple of occasions but the biggest chance came off Charlson who found himself in acres of space just inside the box but his shot left much to be desired. Chris had another chance after a good pass off Jiayong but while the shot was on target, it did not trouble the opposition custodian.
Despite their valiant effort to get something off the game, Sharks were unable to find the elusive goal as they now can just look forward to the Plate draw in the next fixture.
The manager commented, 'Anything is possible in a Cup tie and while victory still eludes the team, we hope the team could bounce back in next weekend league tie to get our season back on track.