|FROM JALAN BESAR STADIUM
By Teng Kiat
Woodlands Wellington came out with all guns blazing in the second half of their 0-0 draw against Hougang United on Friday night, but they simply could not find the back of the net despite laying siege to their opponents’ goal.
Coach Salim Moin was “very disappointed” with the result and said his side missed suspended striker Moon Soon Ho, although he was satisfied with the way his side executed his game-plan.
“We created more chances than them [and the] only thing is that we were not able to convert them into goals,” he lamented.
“My players forgot about one thing: shooting at goal. They think they can walk the ball into the net [but] this is not a seven-a-side tournament.
“In the second half we made changes in terms of our play… they were not able to play the ball to their midfield and they always bypass the midfield. When we had the ball, we quickly played the ball forward and that’s where the chances were created.
“I think if Moon was present tonight, we would have won 3-0.”
The former Singapore international went on to express his faith in every one of his players, citing the rotation of goalkeepers Ahmadulhaq Che Omar and Yazid Yasin, both of whom are “equally good”.
“My team comprises quality players so when I change one for another, I am not afraid [of the team’s standards dropping] as everybody understands the team’s tactics; it is wonderful part to see the players’ intelligence and they will be on their toes all the time,” Salim explained.
Salim also praised the vocal support from the stands and urged them to keep coming back for future games, as he believes the team will only get better.
“I should say that my team is the better team,” he declared. “I should say it is three points lost, but nevertheless I am satisfied with the team’s performance.
“As long as my team continues to progress and play well, then the results will come.”
His opposite number, Hougang coach Alex Weaver, was similarly happy with his side’s display despite being under the cosh for much of the second period.
“I am very pleased, especially in the first half,” he said. “We weren’t clinical enough [but] we did extremely well; we had openings, we’ve got very good, positive attacking players who are very strong and aggressive going forward, but we just weren’t precise enough.
“We are just a little bit frustrated because we weren’t clinical enough.”
The Englishman gave credit to Woodlands for coming out at them after the break, but he thought his side absorbed the pressure well.
“I don’t think our performance dropped so much, we were still trying [to attack],” Weaver pointed out.
“I thought overall we defended very well… the opposition are going to have periods of the game and when they have chances, you have to try and make it as difficult as possible for them [and] we had pressure on them; it wasn’t as if they had an open goal like that or anything.”
Weaver also had some words of comfort for striker Liam Shotton, who had a goal disallowed and toiled upfront without much reward.
“Sometimes no matter how hard you try, things don’t go well but he will be back,” he confidently said.
“He’s a good player, a very strong player, a smashing lad and a really nice guy.”
Weaver believed that Shotton was onside when he scored the header, and was also convinced they should have had a penalty when Mamadou Diallo was felled in the box in the first half.
“I’ve just seen the replay on television and it was a penalty,” he said. “The disallowed goal, that was onside as well.
“But we can’t rely on that and I am not criticizing the referee or anybody [because] some decisions go for you and some don’t.
“I am not worrying because the performance was there today. You could say we were quite unfortunate to come away without the win really!”