Hibernians United. 2 – 1 S’pore Vipers FC.
Scorer(s): John Yeong (7’)
Singapore Vipers’ poor form in the EFL Premiership this season continued after they were undone by some sloppy defending at the back. The Vipers had taken the lead on 7 minutes courtesy of a John Yeong goal, but Hibernians United hit back twice before the break to claim all 3 points and leave the Vipers languishing at the bottom of the table after six games.
Midfielder Sharil Rahaman could not prevent the
Vipers from losing in his first game back at his
EFL still a priority this season
EFL: Vipers AS 2-1 Newton Heath
Having taken eight weeks off from EFL action to focus on Island Wide League priorities, the Vipers were eager to make a positive return to league football, but were halted in their tracks by a resilient Hibernians side who gave little away throughout the game. That being said, it was by far one of the Vipers’ more lethargic of performances, with scorching weather and an immense playing pitch not helping matters. Noticeable absentees from the match day line-up did not prevent the Vipers from fielding a decent side to face old foes and the team was optimistic of their chances.
Yet despite these factors against them, the Vipers took the lead against the run of early play when a familiar name was at the end of a Tse Yang cross to get on the scoresheet and put them in the lead amidst some vehement protests by the Hibs’ gaffer Rod Strother after a Hibs forward had been felled initially in the Vipers half.
The apparent injustice spurred the Hibs on and they were level just 10 minutes later, when goalkeeper Jason’s miskicked clearance allowed the Hibs forward to cut inside the area and his teammate to finish off cooly into the bottom corner for 1-1.
At this point, it was all one way traffic and Jason needed to be at his best to tip a good Hibs effort off a corner kick over the bar before Alvin deflected another away from the resulting set-piece.
The introduction of midfielders Terence De Souza and Ng Zhi Wei midway through the first period allowed the Vipers to gain greater control which expectedly turned the tide in favour of the away team. Tse Yang, who wasn’t having the best of days, still managed to leave three men in his wake before his shot from the edge of the area cannoned off the woodwork to safety for the Hibs.
The Hibs took the lead before the break from a total breakdown in communication between Nur and his fullback which left the Hibs forward with the simplest task of tapping into an empty net.
Placing great emphasis on ball retention and keeping the team’s shape compact at half time, the Vipers managed much better in the second period, keeping Hibernians in their own half for lengthy periods with the latter seemingly content to soak up the pressure and hit on the break. The game could have ended when the Hibs too hit the woodwork from a cross-shot on the right but the Vipers survived and came back in search of an equalizer.
Minutes from time, Sharil Rahaman, making his first return in Vipers colours should have bagged the all elusive equalizer when he was first to a rebound after the Hibs custodian could only parry Zhi Wei’s shot, but the midfielder could only fire wide with the goal at his mercy.
It ended 2-1 in favour of the Hibs, as the Vipers slumped to a third league defeat and face a tough climb up the table with last season’s runners-up Gaelic Lions up next weekend.
Singapore Vipers man-of-the-match: Alvin Yeo – not his best performance, but the best Vipers performer on the pitch on a day of poor performers.
Line-up: Jason Wong (gk), Halik Walit, Alvin Yeo, Nur Afif, Hadi Wibawa, Sharil Rahaman, Jaimy Chadam, Hafiz Rahim, Lee Tse Yang, Jeffrey Tan, John Yeong.
Substitutions: Terence De Souza (for Sharil Rahaman), Ng Zhi Wei (for Jaimy Chadam), Ronald Chai (for Nur Afif), Shawn Tham (for Hadi Wibawa), Yazid Mahamuddin (for Jason Wong).