The Singapore Under-23 side dominated the first half but a failure to add to their one-goal lead saw their opponents storm back in the second period to grab victory
|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Khalis Rifhan
Both the Courts Young Lions and Woodlands Wellington started their match on the offensive, with the hosts eager to clinch their first win of the season and the away side looking to extend their impressive run in the league.
At a glance, Aide Iskandar’s side did not look as though they were a team languishing at the bottom of the table as they created multiple chances in the opening stages, leaving their opponents scrambling to clear their lines.
Although the hosts dominated the first half proceedings, a collapse in the second half saw them come away empty-handed as the Rams left Jalan Besar Stadium with maximum points on Friday evening.
The Young Lions' attack revolved around creative midfielder Sherif El-Masri, with Fareez Farhan and Faiz Salleh flanking him and M. Anumanthan holding the fort in the middle of the field.
It did not take long for them to show their grit and desire in the game as they scored the opener through El-Masri in the ninth minute of the game.
The Rams defence were caught flat-footed near the penalty box and El-Masri took advantage as he pounced on the loose ball and unleashed a grounder that took a wicked deflection off Rosman Sulaiman to end up in the corner of the net, with goalkeeper Yazid Yasin watching on helplessly.
The visitors had started the match five spots above their opponents, but their display on the field looked short of a mid-table side, which included Singa-Goal.com player of the month for March, Khalid Hamdaoui.
The former Netherlands U21 player was actively running around the pitch looking for space but there was little he could do in a haggard-looking Woodlands side, which was a pale display of their previous performances.
Atsushi Shimono was playing too deep in his own half and was cut off from the front two of Moon Soon Ho and Chang Jo Yoon, althought the latter almost scored in the dying minutes of the first half but for a good save by custodian Rudy Khairullah.
Woodlands emerged a changed side after the break, and the away fans had reason to cheer 14 minutes later. Hamdaoui threaded a brilliant defence-splitting pass to Moon at the edge of the box, and the striker took a touch before slotting home coolly for the equaliser.
The tempo of the game was raised as both sides were eager to find the winner and eventually it was the Rams that completed their comeback.
Chang turned Tajeli Salamat inside out at the left byline and his saw his eventual cross deflect off Sheikh Abdul Hadi and into the net, leaving Rudy rooted to the ground.
There was still time for a third goal as substitute Goh Swee Swee cut in from the left in injury time to bury a long-range screamer into the corner of the net and round off the victory.