Gaelic Lions. 0 – 2 S’pore Vipers FC.
Scorer(s): Opposition o.g. (31’)
Anders Aplin (63’)
Singapore Vipers earned a hard fought 2-0 victory against historical rivals Gaelic Lions this afternoon at a drenched Naval Base Secondary School to move out of EFL Premiership’s bottom two. It was the first time this season that the Vipers were able to call upon such a strong squad and the difference from previous games was apparent.
Vipers players celebrate the opening goal of
the game at Naval Base Secondary.
No grudges held against duo
EFL: Vipers AS 3-5 CDFBP
The Vipers took the lead in the first period courtesy of a Gaelic Lions own goal when the defender nodded the ball over his own goalkeeper under pressure from Kenneth Seow. Returning midfielder Anders Aplin then struck a trademark effort from range in the second half with the aid of the post to seal only the Cactusians’ third league win of the campaign.
Six months on from last season’s May title decider at Dempsey the two EFL sides faced off again, but this time finding themselves in unfamiliar territory. Gaelic Lions, having gone on tour overseas, sat in 10th position having played a few games less than most other teams, while reigning champions Vipers are one of the two local sides propping up EFL’s elite at the bottom of the table.
Eager to turn a dismal season around, the Vipers were met by a warm turn-out at Naval Base Secondary ahead of an important fixture against traditionally strong opponents. The Vipers had only won once over four previous fixtures against the Lions, and on the back of a poor run some things needed to be changed.
The gaffer could not have asked for a better first half as his charges got stuck in and delivered an assured performance, keeping the ball for long periods, with the Vipers defence in particular largely impressive in keeping the Lions forwards at bay.
It took a huge slice of luck for the Vipers to take the lead, however, something which has been missing for the past few months. Tse Yang’s cross from the right at the second attempt was meant for Kenneth at the far post, but feeling pressured, the Lions’ defender watched in horror as his challenge for the ball spun off his head and wound up in his own net beyond the reach of his goalkeeper.
There was little difference in how the match went about for the rest of the half as the Vipers entered the break with a deserved albeit lucky 1-0 lead. The second half expectedly saw a greater offensive from the Lions, but led by the new found partnership at the heart of the Vipers’ defence, Australian duo Stephen and Russell Lee (not related!) marshaled the back four with great effect, limiting Gaelic Lions to opportunistic chances from range.
The Vipers almost doubled the lead midway through the second period when creative midfielder Tse Yang beat two Lions defenders before sending his shot against the Gaelic woodwork. The Gaelic Lions custodian also performed admirably to tip an audacious effort from Terence away to safety over the bar.
There was to be no denying the Vipers on 63 minutes though when they finally grabbed a second through Anders Aplin, as the 21 year-old’s effort ricocheted off both post and keeper to nestle in the back of the net.
Gaffer plays down significance of win
Following the match, the Vipers gaffer played down the significance of the result against Gaelic Lions, insisting that three points were the main objective at the start of the day.
“We always knew Gaelic Lions would be a tough team to beat, as they always have been,” he said. “For us it was more important to get the win today more than anything else. We needed to get our confidence back. I’ve always believed we can be a match for the best teams on our day, but our form this season has not reflected that.”
“Hopefully we can build on this to kick-start our season.”
Singapore Vipers man-of-the-match: Ronald Chai – great performance from the combative defender on a day of many outstanding performers.
Line-up: Yazid Mahamudin (gk), Halik Walit, Stephen Lee, Ronald Chai, Kelvin Soh, Ng Zhi Wei, Lee Tse Yang, Terence De Souza, Shahril Andi Nasron, Kenneth Seow, Jeffrey Tan.
Substitutions: Royston Poh (for Kelvin Soh), Anders Aplin (for Jeffrey Tan), Hafiz Rahim (for Halik Walit), Russell Lee (for Terence De Souza), Sharil Rahaman (for Kenneth Seow).