Singapore Premier League • May 22, 2014
Woodlands Earn Long-Awaited Win
Written by: Muhammad Yazid
After enduring a winless streak for more than a month, Woodlands Wellington have finally claimed a hard fought 2-1 win against Balestier Khalsa at Toa Payoh Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Fadhil Noh and Chang Jo Yoon got onto the scoresheet for Woodlands while Goran Ljubojevic pulled one back for the Tigers.
Woodlands were very comfortably spraying passes around midfield and switching plays throughout the game and that was how they almost took an early lead in the seventh minute.
Shafuan Sutohmoh laid a pass along the edge of the penalty box which was followed by a smart dummy by Atsushi Shimono, who skipped contact with the ball and instead left it for Chang.
The forward unselfishly played the ball to Moon Soon Ho, whose left-footed finish hit the side netting.
Just three minutes later, Chang had a chance of his own as his low but powerful shot from outside the 18-yard box went straight to Zaiful Nizam’s arms.
The Rams then drew first blood in the 38th minute through Fadhil, who scored his first ever Woodlands goal.
Rosman Sulaiman whipped in a very deep inswinging corner which was headed by Milos Jevtic at the far post into the path of Fadhil, who outwitted his defender and bulleted his header into the back of the net.
Balestier’s first chance of the game only came after that, as Ljubojevic saw his tame shot find Yazid Yasin’s safe pair of hands.
That was all Balestier had in the first half as they were struggling to break apart the Woodlands defence which welcomed back Walid Lounis after a two-game suspension.
Five minutes into the restart, Ridwan Jamil’s looping header from the edge of the penalty box off Syed Thaha’s corner clipped off the crossbar.
Fadhil almost made it two for his team and himself on the hour mark.
Chang intelligently beat the offside trap to get onto the end of Shafuan’s through ball before laying it to Fadhil just as when Zaiful was charging towards the South Korean.
However, much to the dismay of the Woodlands’ bench and stands, the SEA Games bronze medallist’s attempt to finish off in an open net got wasted as Jonathan Xu bravely blocked the effort with his body.
Nothing could stop the visitors from doubling the advantage as Chang bagged his fifth goal of his season in the 65th minute.
Receiving a through ball from Moon at the right side in an counter-attack, the forward raced towards Zaiful before exquisitely lobbing it over the custodian.
The Tigers however got back into the game through Ljubojevic in the 73rd minute.
The lofty striker was at the end of Syed Thaha’s cross as he powerfully directed his header into the top corner of the net.
Unfortunately for the hosts, that merely proved to be a consolation as they succumbed to their sixth defeat of the season while Woodlands relished their third win of the season.