News • April 8, 2016
Stags Go Top For The First Time After Defeating Tigers
Written by: Shawn Lim
Tampines Rovers moved to the summit of the Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League 2016 table for the first time this season after defeating Balestier Khalsa 1-0 at Jurong West Stadium on Thursday night.
Jordan Webb’s third goal of the season was enough for the Stags to claim maximum points, but in truth, Tampines could and should have scored more goals to see out the match more comfortably.
Nevertheless, the hosts will be pleased with the victory which sees them maintain their unbeaten start to season and leave the visitors still searching for their elusive first win of the season.
The first chance of the game fell to the hosts in the eighth minute when Jordan Webb dribbled his way to the edge of the 18-yard box from the left flank, but fired his shot high and wide of the mark.
Seven minutes later, Ismadi Mukhtar did brilliantly to break free down the left and hit the byline before playing a cross into the box for Webb, but latter saw his header crashed off the woodwork.
The impressive Webb then went on a dazzling horizontal run in the 18th minute, as he took the ball from the left flank across to the right, before cutting the ball back for Billy Mehmet, but the latter lost his footing and shot straight at Tigers custodian Zaiful Nizam.
Tampines came close again eight minutes later when Pennant sent in a dangerous cross for a lurking Webb at the far post, but the Canadian was left frustrated again as he sent his header into the side-netting.
The hosts should have broken the deadlock in the 27th minute when Mehmet played Fazrul Nawaz through on goal with a defence-splitting pass, but the latter curled his shot wide despite only having Zaiful to beat.
Pennant then lined up a free-kick on the edge of the box one minute before the interval, but his trademark free-kick was brilliantly pushed on to the bar by Zaiful and out to safety.
The Stags gradually built momentum after the interval and got the breakthrough just two minutes into the second period when Webb headed home Pennant’s cross from close range.
Fazrul was guilty of missing yet another sitter in the 50th minute, this time from six-yards, after a great cross from Webb found him unmarked in the box, but the striker ballooned the ball over the crossbar.
A moment of brilliance from Pennant seven minutes later saw him superbly giving Lotinac the slip on the edge of the area and dribbling his way into the box, but the Englishman shot straight at Zaiful instead.
Balestier had a chance to pull level against the run of play when Smajovic Sadin sent Jamil Ali through on goal in the 78th minute and the latter tried to lob Tampines custodian Joey Sim. However, the substitute saw his shot cannoned off the top of the crossbar.
Zaiful then got down well at his near post to smother Shahdan Sulaiman’s fierce drive from 20-yards out in the 82nd minute after receiving the ball from Webb’s cut-back.
Webb should have doubled the hosts’ lead three minutes from time when he dribbled past Lotinac in the 18-yard box to create space for himself, but fired straight at Zaiful.
Tampines Rovers coach V.Sundramoorthy: “We created eight good chances while they honestly had maybe, two.
“If things went accordingly, the score maybe would have been a 5-2 win. In the end, we didn’t convert our chances but we were always comfortable with that one-goal cushion.”
Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic: “Of course, it’s always upsetting to lose a game. We’re having the same problem and it’s not easy to solve. No matter how well we defend and play, we just lack that one killer touch at the last.
“Still, we’ll keep on working hard and hopefully our luck will turn around.”
Tampines Rovers: Joey Sim (GK), Ismadi Mukhtar (C), Afiq Yunos, Shakir Hamzah, Hafiz Sujad, Yasir Hanapi, Shahdan Sulaiman, Jermaine Pennant (Mustafic Fahrudin 83′), Jordan Webb (Izzdin Shafiq 90′), Fazrul Nawaz (Sufian Anuar 62′), Billy Mehmet
Balestier Khalsa: Zaiful Nizam (GK) (C), Fadli Kamis, Hanafi Salleh, Sheikh Abdul Hadi, Emir Lotinac, Fazli Ayob, Gary Loo (Tan Danial Farhan 61′), Smajovic Sadin, Syafiq Zainal (Jamil Ali 61′), Zulkiffli Hassim (Hazzuwan Halim 69′), Miroslav Kristic