Both teams welcomed the 10AM Friday morning kick off on a sunny yet breezy SCC Padang. What better way to start the bank holiday weekend, you might say? Yet, at the end of this encounter both teams were left forlorn for quite different reasons.
The game began with SCC attacking the Connaught Road end. Highlights of the first half hour included some strong interplay from Los Dos Kikes on the right. A few good chances were created but SCC failed to capitalise. And, it was Vikings who would be first to put the ball in the back of the net.
A route one ball split our defence and the Vikings striker finished well only to be ruled narrowly offside.
This sparked more life into SCC and we began to exert some dominance. Again a few chances went begging and a Hutcheon header was - we feel, harshly - ruled out for an apparent foul. It took a moment of magic from Kike Sr to eventually break the deadlock.
Ignoring the loud shouts of ‘patience’ from the side, Tim ‘DJ Titan’ Walter delivered a beautifully measured long ball from the back onto the chest of Hutcheon who cushioned it superbly into the path of Kike Sr. The eclectic Iberian made no mistake, unleashing a sublime 20 yard volley into the back of the net. It was a strike deserving of a goal at any level of football. 1-0 to the SCC.
At this point, SCC had an opportunity to extend our lead against a seemingly tiring and increasing lacklustre Vikings team. We continued to create but struggled to apply the finishing touch, the Vikings keeper made some vital saves too. 1-0 it was at half time.
The half time talk focused on the importance of the next goal. We felt it we scored it, we could go on and score more. If the Vikings scored we knew we'd be in for a game. And, it was indeed the Vikings who would score next.
The introduction of Liam Shotton made an immediate impact on the left for SCC. More chances were created but none were converted and we were made to the pay the price for our profligacy by the Vikings who struck back to make it 1-1. Only minutes later, another foray into the SCC half resulted in a second goal for the Vikings. 2-1 to the Vikings with around 20 minutes to play.
The SCC continued to press and despite creating more good chances we didn’t get the goal we sought. Credit must also go to the Vikings keeper for making a couple of very good point blank stops. We were strangely out of sorts for much of the second half and looked a shadow of the team that won the league and cup double last season. It seemed as though today would not be our day. Yet we did have something to cheer with just five minutes left on the clock.
After some good work on the left by Marcus Nagle, a cultured cross from Kike Sr. was neatly directed into the bottom corner of the net by the head of Liam Shotton bringing parity to the scoreboard. We couldn't quite get the winner and 2-2 was how it ended.
The Vikings will be disappointed. Having come so close to a hard fought victory they’ll be gutted to have conceded so late. And SCC are disappointed that we didn’t get the victory we could have secured had we converted a few more of the chances created throughout the match.
Thanks to the Vikings for a hard fought and competitive game. We wish you the best for the rest of the season.
As for the SCC, it’s clear that we need to perform better if we are to win the league again this season. Nonetheless, there are a couple of things to be happy about. To get a goal back when it seemed like it was not our day and to earn a draw when we’ve played well below the standards we set ourselves are both positives. And, it is these positives that we must take out of this game as we switch our minds to next week’s encounter with Les Francais.
MOM - Kike Junior for being a constant threat on the right during the first half.
TOTD - Sam Balls for attempting to show me his shirt number whilst wearing a warm-up top.
And, a new award for Quote of the Day goes to Liam Shotton. This conversation (reportedly) occurred in the SCC changing room after the match.
Ross : “Are you joining us in Stumps for some lunch, Liam”
Liam : “No. I can’t, mate. I’ve got to pick up my outfit for the Hari Raya celebration.
Padang 10AM Friday morning - and a perfect setting for an early season battle between the Champions and 2nd Runner up from the previous season. 2-3 forced squad changes but still with a good lineup ready to challenge the SCC. Vikings opted for 4-5-1 to ensure we could compete in the idle of the park, but quickly it showed that SCC was well prepared for this exact setup, with especially their right side of the two "Kikes" looking very impressive and with a high pressure that forced Vikings to clear long and with lone striker Tommie (clearly lacking support) Against the run of play the Viking scored the opener after a flick on and a neat Brian US finish, but a very close call for offside went against the Vikings. Instead it was SCC taking the lead from a goal of the season contender from Maestro Kike. Viking in this period struggling to find their feet were at the mercy of good defending, good goalkeeping and some poor finishing as the game probably could have been put to bed by SCC. Halftime 0-1. Stand-in manager Domino had plans to change the dynamics of the game and from start of the 2nd half we went for 4-4-2. A wise decision as this much needed change meant that we were able to hold up the ball and threaten the SCC goal on more occasions, while our central midfield managed well being 2 instead of 3 with especially young Jonas playing well on the day. The equalizer came as Rasmus who stepped up for the first 15 of second half got a shot deflected and the back post Brian US was ready to score his 2nd of the season. In the other end the introduction of Liam was causing all kind of difficulties for the Vikings, but often the end product was not their for the hosts. Vikings kept looking for counters and a Bimse clearance found Tomas who found "road runner" who from the edge of the box tipped an un-storming Ronnie in the SCC goal. 2-1 Vikings ! Not surprisingly SCC kept pushing for the equalizer and Riber in the Vikings goal had a busy 20 minutes with a couple of top-drawer saves. Vikings looked dangerous on the counter, and felt hard done by when a freekick was called on Tommie in a situation that would have seen Tarzan with a clear chance and only the keeper to beat. Instead it was "SCC TIME" and in the 3rd minute of extra time Liam did what he did best, a small tug on the Viking defender to edge in front a sweet header to the bottom corner 2-2. Over the full 90 minutes SCC did deserved the win, but Viking can be proud of especially the 2nd half and ultimately disappointed with not taking all three points. Thanks to SCC and referees for a good game and all the best for the season. Vikings now looking at two Friday fixtures with UWC and Casuals coming up first - always a cracker ! For Vikings Man of the Match want to GK Riber, closely followed by Elbo who especially in first half had some crucial interceptions. Rafa