Top brass inspire fire services

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 April, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 April, 2004, 12:00am

The presence of some extra stripes and shinier buttons inspired bottom team Fire Services to one of their best results of the season, as they fought back to draw 1-1 with South China at Mongkok Stadium yesterday. 'All our superior officers were here today and that really helped our morale and spirit,' said goalscorer Lam Ying-ip, who secured only the Firemen's second point of 2004 with his 75th-minute equaliser. 'I'm very happy. We all tried very hard and we got our reward. Now we just hope we can stay in the First Division.'

That morale and spirit had looked unlikely to help rescue the rescue services when How Yiu-lun was sent off for a handball after 25 minutes and Au Wai-lun crashed home the resulting penalty. But Caroliners defender Ma Ka-ki foolishly earned himself a second yellow card in only the 28th minute, and, although Au had several chances to win the game in the second half, Fire Services battled their way to a draw.

'It was terrible,' moaned South China's Hong Kong international Szeto Man-chun. 'We lost a guy for a stupid tackle, and we were too defensive in the second half. We should have won, but we need to score more goals. That will help our confidence.'