League leaders Khalsa-A and HKFC-A both had easy victories playing teams lower down the table but all of the other matches were well contested. Pak-A against Punjab-A was the star match at King’s Park but the Valley-A against SSSC was very tight and could easily have had a reverse result.
After last week’s matches (Jan 27) three teams still remain in a strong position to take the league runner-up position, HKFC-A and Punjab-A are on 29-points; meanwhile, SSSC-A having had one point deducted for not providing umpires and are now on 28-points. Khalsa are on 36-points and although there are still five matches to play, look well in control of the title.
The key match next week is the early one at King’s Park (12.30) between Punjab-A and Khalsa.
Pak Assoc vs Punjab
As usual, when Pakistan Association and Punjab-A play each other it produces a highly charged very fast match with many long, accurate hard-hit balls up-field, which are extraordinarily well stopped and controlled. This match was no different, producing lots of opportunities to score for both sides, but in most of the first half the ball did not go into the net. It was not until seven minutes from the end of the half that Ishtiaq Ahmed made it 1-0 for Pak-A – a score that remained until half time.
Although the Pak-A team did net the ball twice more in the second half, both were disallowed as too high (above the board).
For goal scoring it was all Punjab-A, who netted five times: at 32 minutes, 25 minutes, 22 minutes, 5 minutes and 3 minutes remaining in the half. Three Singh’s were on the score-sheet: Simrandeep (3), Davinder (1) and Rupinder (1).
There was a lot to appreciate in this match as many of the moves and stick-work were of very high quality. This was an impressive win for Punjab-A and keeps them equal second in the standings.
Shaheen vs KCC
Shaheen-A against KCC at King’s Park was at a somewhat slower pace with more deliberate probing pattern play, and with a lot of good quality work. The match was far more even than the final 4-0 score-line suggests, but Sheheen-A were sharper around the goal and netted some good goals. Shaheen-A went ahead towards the end of the first half and then added three more goals in the last 20 minutes of the game.
This was a good result for Shaheen-A who have been struggling with form this year during their team rebuilding after reshuffling their team for this season.
KCC-A have also found this season more difficult, although playing well in open field-play they have struggled in the goal scoring department having lost two top players, Harry Bal and Dev Dillon to Khalsa.
The HKFC-B fixture with Khalsa at the Football Club was, as anticipated, rather one-sided. Although Khalsa brought “Bomb” their B-side goalie and three youngsters – Karajit Singh, Amrit Singh and Manpreet Singh – into the team they still dominated the game. Each time Club-B got the ball it was all too easily taken away from them by the speed of the Khalsa players. Khalsa goals were scored by Harry Bal (6), Ahmed Ewis (3) and Arshad Muhammad (2) making a final result of 11-0 to Khalsa. HKFC-B have also lost points (3) for not providing umpires on three occasions.
The Elite-A vs HKFC-A match was also rather one-sided. But it gave Club-A the opportunity for some “match practice” under less intense conditions. Club-A demonstrated excellent pattern play, with crisp accurate passes to penetrate the Elite-A defence and some fine finishing moves. In the 10-0 result, seven players were on the score-sheet including Yan Adams, Alexander Van Der Heugen and William Glover who each scored twice.
The Valley-A vs SSSC-A match finished with a win for SSSC-A (5-7), but the result could have been closer had it not been for the new rule this year awarding a goal for any deflection in the goal scoring area, into the goal by an attacker or defender. An SSSC-A player hit a hard drive towards the goal from outside the area, the Valley goalie was unsighted and it just clipped his pad as it went into the goal – an incident that may have changed the final result of the game.
In Valley-A’s match at the Happy Valley ground against HKFC-B, Valley was three goals to the good before the Club-B side’s goalie arrived 15 minutes into the game. From then on the match was relatively even and Club-B restricted Valley-A to just one more goal with the final score of 4-0.
The HKFC-A against KCC-A was another match where the Club team played without a goalie. With seven minutes remaining in the first half, and the score at 1-0 to Club-A, their gaolie (Claire Archer) rushed out to defend an attack by KCC and damaged a calf muscle and could not take any further part in the game. KCC scored in that incident making the score-line 1-1.
Club-A decided to play without a goalie for the rest of the game and had one or two hair-raising situations when KCC got passed Club’s defence. KCC were jubilant when they added to the score 15 minutes into the second half and it looked like they might get the win but just 10 minutes of the match remaining Club-A equalised to make the final score 2-2.
The Shaheen-A against Recreio-A match finished in a win for Shaheen 4-0.
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