K Balagumaran cut a disappointed figure in the press conference following his Gombak United side’s 1-0 defeat to the Courts Young Lions - but believed that his side were unlucky not to have come back to take all three points at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
“After the last game against Geylang United, morale was very high,” he said. “The kids were looking forward to this game.”
“But in the first 15 to 20 minutes [of the game], the Young Lions were dominating.”
Gombak was consigned to defeat by a goal in the 13th minute from Young Lions winger Sherif El-Masri, who was a thorn in the right side of the Bulls’ defence for the whole period he was on the pitch.
Balagumaran acknowledged that the Young Lions had many “good, young players” and were in a resurgent mood after their convincing 5-0 win at Tanjong Pagar in their last match, and had carried that good form to face his side.
But he also thought that while his side were muted in the first half, they responded well enough in the second half to at least secure a point.
“We were camping in their half,” he said, adding that strikers Hafiz Rahim and Jung Hee Bong were beginning to form a partnership.
Both Hafiz and Bong had several opportunities but failed to make them count.
Balagumaran also claimed that the lack of training on an artificial turf - unique in the S.League to Jalan Besar - was one of the reasons for Gombak’s profligacy.
“We can’t even train at Jalan Besar,” he said.
Despite the loss, Balagumaran said he remained positive about his side and that they will have a stronger performance to the second half of the season.
The defeat leaves Gombak in seventh place, two ahead of their next opponents Singapore Armed Forces FC, although SAFFC can leapfrog them should they beat defending champions Tampines Rovers on Saturday.