The new look Singapore Cup holders fought back twice to avoid defeat in their first game of the seasonWoodlands Wellington hosted the Warriors in their opening fixture of the 2013 S.League season and both sides walked away with a point each after an entertaining match.
The home side took the lead twice in the match but Warriors hitman, Sufian Anuar rose to the occassion twice to snatch a draw, leaving the score 2-2.
A rehearsed set-piece routine from Woodlands led to a penalty which should have paved the way to the opening goal for the home side.
Shimpei Sakurada was adjudged to have committed a foul against Ang Zhi Wei in the penalty box in the 4th minute and Moon Soon Ho managed to send Hassan Sunny the wrong way with his spot-kick, but his effort only managed to hit the woodwork.
The Warriors wasted no time and countered immediately, only for Shimpei Sakurada to have his shot come back off the frame as well.
Sufian Anuar was put through on goal soon after but was quickly closed down by Woodlands' veteran custodian, Yazid Yasin, leaving the Warriors hitman clutching his knee and in need of treatment.
The deadlock was finally broken just before the half-hour mark when Khalid Hamdoui’s shot was parried away by Hassan Sunny only for Moon to knock it into goal and make up for his penalty miss.
In the 38th minute, the Warriors were denied a penalty of their own when Shahril Alias brought down Sufian Anuar in the penalty box, but left the referee unconvinced.
Woodlands began the second-half brightly as Chang Jo Yoon failed to get a touch on Ang’s cross right after the restart.
At the hour mark, the Warriors who were still trailing but came close to hitting the back of the net when Erwan Gunawan blocked Yazid Yasin’s attempted clearance.
But Abdil Qaiyyim’s hard work on the right flank eventually paid off, as he found Sakurada ahead of him and the latter then whipped in a cross which was headed into the back of the net by Sufian Anuar in the 68th minute
Woodlands regained the lead, albeit in controversial fashion, when former Ajax youth player, Khalid Hamdoui scored from close range in the 71st minute, following a quickly taken free-kick by Chang, after he had been brought down by Marin Vidosevic who was also booked for protesting.
The visitors continued to show resilience and eventually scored their second equaliser six minutes from the end, when a Tatsuro Inui freekick caused confusion within the penalty box, allowing Sufian Anuar to grab his second of the night.
A goalmouth scramble which saw Daniel Bennett shoot straight at Sufian Anuar, was the last memorable action of the evening as the North-Western derby ended in a stalemate.
Following a post-match review, Warriors FC's second goal has been credited to Shimpei Sakurada*