Balestier’s perfect home record was cut short when a dogged Home United side put four past them to claim all three points
Home United went on the road to take on a Balestier Khalsa side that had a perfect home record for their S.League tie at the Toa Payoh Stadium.
The home side won the corresponding fixture last season, but a strong defence kept the Tigers at bay this time round.
Balestier were putting on the pressure right off the bat through Jung Hee Bong but his effort from near the halfway line was too far off.
Jordan Webb was relatively quiet for Home United, but his cross-field runs were still a force to be reckoned with early on.
Things got hot in the eighth minute when a Lee Kwan Woo freekick bounced in the danger area towards goal. Zaiful Nizam looked to have fumbled the ball into the net, but the linesman flagged for a foul against the Balestier custodian.
In a rather cagey first half, both sides had flashes of attacking superiority but they kept losing the ball in the final third.
It took 21 minutes for the deadlock to be broken and the goal was for the visitors. Some slack defending in the Balestier defence allowed Hafiz Rahim to pick out Song Ui-Young at the edge of the area to place his shot into the bottom right corner.
Darren Stewart’s men almost struck an instant reply a minute later when Tengku Mushadad was given room 40 yards out. However, his shot bounced off the ground and hit the post.
The Protectors had most of the opportunities for the rest of the first half but had woeful shooting to blame for not adding to their goal tally.
Five minutes from the break, Kwan Woo was again influential when he skipped past two defenders to fire a shot but Zaiful was equal to it.
With the Tigers wasting chances in the final third, the half ended with the visitors leading 1-0.
Balestier came into the second period a changed side – at least upfront. They kept pushing for a goal but the Home United defence was picture perfect.
However, Kwan Woo, who doubled the Protectors’ lead, dampened their efforts. Webb spotted his run at the top of the box but the Korean still had to weave past two defenders to slam home a left-footed shot into the net in the 55th minute.
Shahril Jantan was called into action for the umpteenth time at the 62-minute mark when substitute Poh Yi Feng took a shot from 20 yards out. He was on top form for the evening as he saved his side several times.
Yusiskandar Yusop was caught in all the adrenaline rush and was unfortunate to have been booked twice in the span of three minutes, getting sent off 15 minutes from the end.
As Balestier pressed on for a goal, the visitors were unrelenting. Their desire to score more bore fruit in the 85th minute when the pacey Webb was released by Masrezwan Masturi on the right flank. He ran from the halfway line into the penalty box to wallop a shot into the top corner.
Minutes from time, the home fans were in disarray when Webb was brought down in the area. The 25-year-old earned the spot kick but for retaliating after the tackle, he was sent off.
In the fistfight of sorts in the box, Balestier skipper Jaslee Hatta was also given the marching orders.
Hafiz Rahim then stepped up to the plate to put the fourth goal into the back of the net to clinch a 4-0 win at the Toa Payoh Stadium.