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Monday, May 4, 2009

Enders lose 5-1

Joe Red
Editor, SFC News
4 May 2009

Above: All smiles before and throughout the friendly encounter

The Stretford boys were made to taste humble pie against the quality and experience of their Nippon FC opponents when they were walloped 5-1 at Dunearn Secondary School on Sunday – their first loss since the team’s formation in March.

Nippon FC looked impressive from the first whistle and kept the Enders employing a containing strategy for the early part of the first half which nearly paid off with early chances coming from counter attacks. Opportunities for Shawal, Oki and Kong were squandered following some flashes of attacking play from the Enders. The class and superb passing play of Nippon finally paid off midway in the second half when a brilliant run on the left wing was capped off with a low drive to the bottom corner and put Nippon ahead in the match. Some controversy was to follow the second goal after a harmless nudge by debutant midfielder Haikal was deemed to have been an offence and led to a penalty. Nippon’s striker tucked away the spot kick and gave his team a much-deserved 2-goal cushion.

There looked to be encouraging signs of another famous Stretford comeback late in the first half however when striker Shawal Rosly charged down an attempted clearance by Nippon’s centre-back and slotted in his fourth goal in three matches to give the Enders a glimmer of hope in the second half. He was close to drawing the match level from a set-piece but missed by inches with his shot.

And as with the last two Stretford matches, all was to change in the second half.

The experience of Nippon truly stood out after the interval as they came back stronger and began to enforce their crisp ball work again in the match which left Stretford players chasing shadows – and eventually tiring out the players. A combination of pace and trickery from Nippon’s number 10 together with very strong wing play was to be the downfall for the Enders as another three goals were put past them without reply.

The loss will be a tough one to swallow for the boys but players, pundits and fans were encouraged with the work rate and spirit of the Stretford players throughout the match despite being outclassed by their opposition.

On-loan midfielder Kong was realistic with his assessment and comments.

“The team will have to agree that we played against a very wonderful and experienced team. They were very composed and they stroked the ball around the defence and midfield amazingly. To a certain extent, they played like how MUFC does.” said Kong

Supporter Patricia Poh chose to look at the bright side of things instead.

“Overall, I think it was a great match for our boys to learn a lot from. And I think they can also leave the match with some positives to take.” stated Poh

It remains to see how the team will learn from the defeat and come back stronger and wiser in their next match. The Enders next match is anticipated to take place in 2 weeks time.

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