Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Geylang Crash Pennant's Stag Do

Can there have been stronger benches in recent years in the SLeague? The East Coast Derby may have been played on the west coast, a minor accident of geographical oversight by the FA who haven't quite grasped the community potential of football clubs, but just take a gander at the Tampines bench last night:

Joey Sim, Afiq Yunos, Mustafic Fahrudin, Christopher van Huizen, Jermaine Pennant, Fabian Kwok.

Mind you the Geylang bench wasn't particularly short on quality with Indra Daud Sahdan, Gabriel Quak and Stanley Ng awaiting their turn.

All eyes though were on Jermaine Pennant as perhaps the biggest foreign player to hit Singapore in years was expected to get a run out at some stage. And the fans turned out in numbers with one breathless reporting tweeting fans were even seen queuing up to get in! As it happens Pennant started in the dug out but nearly 3,000 (is that 3,000 ticket buying fans or FAS type fans including freebies, press and stewards?) supporters went home, hopefully, giddy with excitement at having seen a thoroughly competitive game between two ambitious teams keen to change perceptions of the local league.

It was advantage Tampines as first Jordan Webb and then Billy Mehmet marked their Stags debuts with first half goals. Who needed Pennant? However Geylang have also recruited smartly over the pre season, looking to build on a fine end to last season's campaign and they pulled one back through another highly rated youngster, Amy Recha on 35 minutes.

Argentinian striker Carlos Delgado levelled for the visitors on 55 minutes and Stanley Ng, on as a first half sub for Sahil Suhaimi made it 3-2 with just 11 minutes on the clock.

The home fans, I say home fans, I wonder how many needed telling what colour shiirt Tampines were wearing, went wild when Pennant was introduced in response to Delgado's effort but instead of providing his new team mates with an immediate boost Noh Rahman grabbed the headlines for the wrong reasons, receiving a red card.

Yasir Hanapi equalised for the Stags with just four minutes on the clock but three minutes later he was on the wrong end of a red card meaning Tampines had to end the game down to nine men but they held out for a point after a frantic game.

Seven yellow cards, six goals, two red cards. Certainly an exciting game, let's just hope all the SLeague clubs can build on the momentum and hype the Pennant signing has created and let's hope fans queuing to buy tickets to watch games catches on.

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