|PPCFC v NPolice. Back LtoR: Tiny, Njoku, S Pheng, Obadin, Dara, Ary. Front: Chaya, Sovanna, Rady, Suhana, Sokumpheak. Click to enlarge.|
Crown, looking to kickstart their season in their first game of the second round, did everything but win the game. They made a mockery out of the National Police's position at the head of the Metfone C-League table and took the game to their opponents from the kick-off. It was all Crown in the early stages with Chan Chaya and Sok Pheng prominent but both had left their shooting boots at home and failed to seriously test Thong Chanreaksmey in the Police goal. In fact it was the Police who could've gone in front on eight minutes. Nuth Sinoun sped through the middle, managed to lob the ball over the advancing Yok Ary but found Odion Obadin blocking the way with his attempt on goal. Thirty seconds later and Chanreaksmey was the man of the moment as he stood firm with Kingsley Njoku bearing down on him. Kouch Sokumpheak had sent Njoku flying clear from the half-way line and he looked odds on to score until the Police keeper kept his nerve to deny him. Yok Ary covered his angles correctly to keep out a Nelson Oladiji effort but it was Crown who were calling the shots without making their superiority pay. On fifteen minutes, Njoku was again guilty of missing a glorious chance after a slip by Sob Ravy let him in, only for the Nigerian striker to drag his shot agonizingly wide of the target. At the other end, Obadin denied Oladiji the chance to shoot with a timely tackle and Noun Borey lobbed a speculative cross-cum-shot onto the roof of top of the crossbar. Sok Pheng was blocked with an attempt on goal and then Chanreaksmey was again in the right place to deny a thunderbolt from Sos Suhana from close range with Suhana firing the rebound into the side-netting. The first-half ended as it had begun, with Crown on the offensive. A Njoku back-heel laid the ball on a plate for Suhana but he lent backwards and smacked his ten-yard effort sailing over the crossbar. In time added on Njoku took a pass from Sokumpheak and shaped to give Crown the lead they deserved, only to drag his powerful shot a foot wide. Crown had drawn a blank.
Police pushed on after the break and Oladiji got the better of Obadin, only to send his shot high and wide, while Ly Arafin raced into the box but screwed his shot wide as Ary came out to challenge. On 53 minutes, a piece of Sokumpheak trickery won Crown a penalty. Muhammed Aberejo was conned into a trip on the edge of the area and Obadin stepped up to plant the spot-kick cleanly and give Crown the lead. Crown continued to dominate and coach David Booth was about to make a double-change, when Police snatched an unlikely equaliser on 75 minutes. Sim Vutha won a tackle with Tieng Tiny and slipped in Tith Dina who managed to get enough leverage on his shot to beat the advancing Yok Ary, and for the ball to cross the line despite Pheak Rady's attempt to clear. Crown made their change and the two new faces, Henry Asonibe and Hong Pheng combined to give Suhana a strike on goal, but he blasted over from just inside the area. With five minutes to go and Crown pressing, Sokumpheak was neatly fed by Njoku but his left-foot swinger sailed over the bar from eight yards out and their best chance went begging. Tiny header over from a corner and Suhana nodded another cross inches over the top as Crown threw everything forward for the winning goal that never came. The game ended 1-1 with Police relieved with a point and Crown frustrated by their own wayward finishing on the day.
Crown line-up v Police: Ary, Dara, Rady, Tiny, Obadin, Sokumpheak, Sovanna, Suhana, Chaya (Asonibe 76), S Pheng (H Pheng 76), Njoku. Subs not used: Chamrouen, Vanthan, Sovan, Lika, Seyha, Sophanal, Kimhor, Sothy, Makara. Bookings: S Pheng, Sokumpheak.