SCC Overcome Resilient Stallions At Dempsey Field

Playing at SCC's Dempsey Field, the Cricketers were the home side.

Aaron Chan
Writer / Editor
The Unofficial S.League Podcast  

NFL Division 1 side Singapore Cricket Club overcame a hardy Gymkhana FC side to emerge as 2-1 winners in a pre-season friendly played at SCC's Dempsey Field earlier this evening.

The Stallions, who will ply their trade in the reinstated NFL Second Division this year, showed no signs of buckling under the pressure of playing a SCC side which finished 4th in the First Division last season by winning 12 out of 18 matches played.

SCC threw the first punch in the 9th minute when a through pass was nearly poked into goal but Gymkhana custodian Yazid Yasin made a point blank save out of nowhere to keep them out. The veteran goalkeeper, who turns 38 in June, showed no sign of his age by displaying lightning quick reflexes to pluck the ball out of the air from the resultant corner despite the aerial presence of SCC's players in the box.

Gymkhana was awarded a free kick within shooting distance four minutes later but the attempted shot was too high off target to trouble SCC's goal. The Stallions then surprised SCC in the 17th minute when debutant striker Rizuwan Mahzan calmly placed the ball into the net to give Gymkhana the lead.

Mohd Augustus Andy, who was recently signed from fellow Division 2 outfit Warwick Knights FC, impressed with his watertight defending for Gymkhana in the first half and kept SCC's left winger out for a large part of the game.

Both sides would find it difficult to create opportunities in the final third in the first half and despite Gymkhana having more possession of the ball, it was SCC who managed to squeeze in two efforts in the 31st minute; a stinging shot from outside the box which was smothered by the safe hands of Yazid and a failed effort to get a clean header off a dangerous cross floated in moments later. 

SCC came back strongly after the break and they could have equalized just one minute after the restart but their quick snapshot from the left flew just wide of the upright. Gymkhana responded in style five minutes later when livewire Yusof Khairudin unleased a stinger of his own, which was parried by SCC goalkeeper Santino. 

Following that, Yusof nearly doubled the Stallions' lead moments later with a powerful drive which was headed for goal but Santino somehow managed to tip the shot magically over the crossbar to keep the scoreline intact.

The Cricketers would then miss a chance to equalize in the 64th minute when none of their players could get a touch of the ball in front of a gaping goal.

Gymkhana gaffer Cher Chellayah then opted to give some playing time to his reserves including goalkeeper Arif Ali, who turned out previously for Tampines Rovers in the Prime League. The 26 year old was unfortunate to concede a goal within minutes of coming on as poor defending allowed Moroccan striker Hamza Gharfane to round him before slotting the ball into an empty net.

SCC would complete the comeback just two minutes later as a cutback allowed Chang Guo Guang to unleash a thunderbolt which nearly tore the back of the net.

Gymkhana threw numbers forward in search of an equalizer and they were almost rewarded for their effort in the 76th minute when 
Hishamudin Khairudin's effort whistled just mere centimetres above the crossbar. The winger was then sent off unceremoniously six minutes later for an off-the-ball incident with former Tanjong Pagar United midfielder Justin Khiang, leaving the Stallions to play the last eight minutes with 10 men.

SCC had an opportunity to extend the lead with virtually the last attempt of the match but an alert Arif leapt far enough to get his hand in the way of a goalbound bullet header before the referee called time as the sun set over Dempsey.

Gymkhana will meet Admiralty CSC in their first match of the Division 2 season on 13 May while SCC's first match of the Division 1 season against Balestier United RC will be streamed live online on 7th May. 

Do stay tuned to our Facebook page for the latest updates on the NFL Divisions.

Full-Time at Dempsey Field - NFL Friendly (16 April 2017):

Singapore Cricket Club (NFL Division 1) - 2
Gymkhana FC (NFL Division 2) - 1


SCC - Hamza Gharfane 72', Chang Guo Guang 74'
Gymkhana - Rizuwan Mahzan 17'

Article / Photos: Aaron Chan
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