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Friday, 26 October 2012

Woodlands hold Protectors to stalemate
Reported by: Nicholas Neo

Woodlands Wellington 0

Home United 0

On paper, it looked like a straightforward result for Home United.

Their opponents, Woodlands Wellington, laid rooted at the bottom of the table, and were winless in more than 10 league games.

But against all the odds, the Rams managed to pull off an impressive 0-0 draw against the Protectors at the Jalan Besar Stadium last night.

Woodlands were the better side in most parts of the game, and according to assistant coach Clement Teo, their result was no fluke.

“We could have got three, which we very much wanted to, judging from the performances of the players.

“If you have been following us closely, all along, we have been in games. Apart from the Tampines Rovers match, we were in it in every other single game.

“Usually, we were not consistent in both halves, but in our recent matches, we have been consistent.

“(But) against Home United, it’s a point gained, frankly. One point, its better than none.”

In the opening stages of the game, it was the Rams who took the initiative in as early in the fourth minute.

After good pressure from the Woodlands’ midfield, Home’s left-back Jeremy Chiang was forced to make a hasty pass back to goalkeeper Nazri Sabri, who then carelessly conceded an indirect free kick in the box. Fortunately for Home, Goh Swee Swee’s effort curled harmlessly over the bar.

The Rams carved another chance in the 18th minute, when Guntur Djafril squared the ball to Moon Soon Ho, and the South Korean’s low strike forced a good save out of Nazri.

Woodlands were once again in the mix of things three minutes later, when Moon turned provider to tee up Oswind Suriya, but his shot was safely caught by Nazri.

The first clear chance for the Protectors finally arrived in the 29th minute, when Masrezwan Masturi latched on to Indra Sahdan Daud’s flick on in the penalty area. However, all Masrezwan could muster was a wild shot over the bar.

Turned on the tempo

In the second half, Home turned on the tempo, and produced a good chance in the 60th minute.

Home’s playmaker Rhysh Roshan Rai split the defence with a well weighted through ball, but Woodlands’ Ahmadulhaq Che Omar did well to rush off his line and claim the ball.

In the 70th minute, The Protectors spurned another chance to take the lead, when the unmarked Shotaro Ihata headed Frederic Mendy’s cross agonisingly wide of the right hand post.

The Rams then responded almost immediately a minute later, when Oswind unleashed a rasping long-range effort from the right which Nazri palmed away.

The resulting loose ball came to the feet of Guntur, but all the 27 year-old could do was to fluff his shot embarrassingly in front of goal.

With the midfield being tightly contested, any goalmouth action was rare, and the next chance fell to Home early in the additional time, when Ihata was played through on goal.

Fortunately for Woodlands, Ahmadulhaq managed to get a crucial touch to Ihata’s shot, and the Rams had Daniel Hammond to thank a few seconds later when he put in another heroic block to deny Home midfielder Firdaus Idros.

Still, both sides failed to find the breakthrough, and the match ended 0-0.

After the match, Home’s head coach Lee Lim Saeng said: “Tonight, they look really tired.

“Our finishing was a problem, of course. We didn’t score.

“I’m sorry, I don’t want to use our missing players as an excuse.

“Actually, I don’t want to call anybody a “special one”. Football is not an individual sport…we work together, and it’s not just about the individuals.”

Woodlands Wellington:
Ahmadulhaq Che Omar, Danny Chew (Fabien Lewis 73’), Duncan Elias, Daniel Hammond (C), Armanizam Dolah, Guntur Djafril  (Andy Ahmad 83’), Goh Swee Swee, Moon Soon Ho, K Sathiaraj, Farizal Basri (Shamsurin Rahman 69’), Oswind Suriya.

Home United: Nazri Sabri, Jeremy Chiang, Kenji Arai (C), Shotaro Ihata, Frederic Mendy, Firdaus Idros, Rhysh Roshan Rai, Masrezwan Masturi, Indra Sahdan (Justin Khiang 75’),Nor Azli Yusoff, Song Ui-Young

Yellow Cards: Danny Chew 49’, Armanizam Dolah 86 (Woodlands), Song Ui Young 55’ (Home)

Referee: Ahmad A’Qashah

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