Fans at Hougang Stadium were treated to a fine contest on Thursday night when Warriors FC beat Hougang United 2-1 in front of a wildly-cheering crowd.
It was a game mostly controlled by the visitors, the Warriors having high quality players all over the park.
For coach Alex Weaver, it was a return to a stadium he knew well from coaching the Cheetahs at the start of the season before being asked to step aside. But those days were long ago he explained, as he described his feelings about the win after the match.
“Believe it or not this was my first match as coach on this ground,” he pointed out.
“When I was here we played all the matches either at Jalan Besar Stadium or away from home, so I never had the chance to coach the team here.
“I’ve liked this stadium from the day I first set eyes on it; the pitch is a credit to the groundsman and the stadium has that feel about it I am familiar with from growing up in England.
“Tonight it was about getting three points, it really was only about that as I was fully focussed only on the Warriors right from the day I was appointed.”
Weaver’s Warriors have lost only one of their last six games under his charge, as they start to find their feet after a dismal start.
“Two out of seven, but one out of six sounds a lot better, doesn’t it?” he laughed.
“I wanted this result tonight for the players who have put in so much effort in training, as well as participating with great commitment to the Teamship exercise we held at Sentosa last Friday.
“We were there all day and there was a frank exchange of views among the players and even after lunch and Friday prayers, they all came back together and stayed for the rest of the day. Their focus was superb and I’m sure that contributed to our success this evening.
“Tonight some of the players had to see out the game, even though they were struggling. Vida (Marin Vidosevic), for instance, I know was struggling after taking a bad knock.
“The only disappointment was conceding that goal as it was a little sloppy.
“I was pleased with the way [right-back] Jeremy [Chiang] dealt with Fazli Jaffar, who was always likely to be a big threat down the left.
“It was also good to see Vida score and he has shown himself to be a very good player, very technically sound in all areas.
“But I really don’t want to single out players as all of them did well tonight. If [Tatsuro] Inui had scored the third goal, I doubt Hougang could have recovered.”
Amin Nasir, appointed only the day before as caretaker coach at Hougang United, said he had been set no targets by the club other than to improve the team’s fortunes.
“We had two players suspended tonight and having them in the side would have made a difference,” he pointed out.
Those two were midfielder Mamadou Diallo and defender and captain, Lau Meng Meng.
“We fought back well in the game, I thought,” Amin reflected.
“The reserves I brought on did the job well, they responded to the situation as well as I had hoped.
“Unfortunately the goal we scored came too late to allow us time to score another, but I saw positive signs and when we play our next match against Harimau Muda at Pasir Gudang next Friday, I think the boys can continue their improvement.”