Monday, March 12, 2012

Reaction: Tampines Rovers vs Woodlands Wellington

When Aleksandar Đurić scored Tampines' first goal barely 30 seconds after kick-off, we knew that it was going to be a tough night for our boys. Duric went on to score another two goals to complete his hat trick and Mustafic Fahrudin headed another goal home to add misery to our night. The result pushes our Rams down in seventh placed behind Harimau Muda (who have only played 2 games so far) and it can't be said that the result was unfair.

Woodlands, on their part, did threaten to equalise in the 11th minute when Guntur Djafril got through on goal but his shot flashed past the goalpost in what must have been merely a few inches wide. Around this point in time, a pot-bellied and boisterous foreign "fan" also made his appearance in the away supporters' terrace, shouting at the players on the field, waddling around the same spot and flapping his arms, much to the amusement of the fans seated in that area. This lasted for a good while before he disappeared before half-time. He never reappeared after that.(Update on 13 March 2012: Turns out that this "fan" was Mark Roberts, the world's most prolific streaker and he was there with a TNP reporter. - report here)

Đurić scoring the first of his hat-trick.
Photo Credit: Justin Qian (FAS)

Tampines was already leading by three goals by the time the first half ended and it was always going to be an uphill task to overturn such a deficit. Try as they might, Woodlands did not really trouble the Tampines defence save for a few occasions where Tampines' Jufri Taha was exposed to the speed of Hussein Akil.

Moon Sun Ho nearly got a consolation goal for the Rams in the 76th minute when he was put through by Hussein Akil but his low shot was cheekily saved by Tampines custodian Sasa Dreven's shin in a most unorthodox manner.  

In the stands, it was business as usual for the Black Sheep as we sang throughout the match regardless of the scoreline. We hope that our fighting spirit in adversity would rub off on the players as we continued to clap and cheer even as Tampines scored their fourth goal. Nothing is going to break the "Kambing Power" spirit of the Woodlands supporters. Not even the dismal scoreline.

Photo Credit: Aaron Chan (The Black Sheep)

At one point in time, we even found an innovative way to launch our now trademark confetti into the air by using our Woodlands Wellington flag as a launching pad. Also, by inspecting some of the photos a member took of the crowd, it seemed that S-League CEO Lim Chin was seated behind the Black Sheep all along.  

Best moments for Woodlands

Honestly, there were not many to choose from given the disappointing result, but Aloysius Yap, who had an impressive debut for the club with his hard running and glimpses of attacking flair against Tampines, deserves recognition for his performance. When it seemed like all hope was lost, the young midfielder definitely did not give up and continued running at the Stags. The depth he adds to our squad will only serve to make us better as a team.

Looking Ahead

For the Rams, we are now without a win in our last two Yeo's Great Eastern S-League matches since our last victory at home to Geylang United. This slump will certainly need to be arrested as soon as possible. The still unbeaten Balestier Khalsa (who sit prettily in second place) away on Sunday will be our chance to do so. It will be a reunion of sorts for gaffer Salim Moin and players K. Sathiaraj, Armanizam Dolah, Shamsurin Abdul Rahman and Ahmadulhaq Che Omar as they visit their former club in the formidable Toa Payoh stadium.

The Black Sheep after the Tampines match.
Does it look like we lost 4 - 0? We will never surrender!
Photo Credit: Aaron Chan (The Black Sheep)

We will need to keep our heads up and ensure that we keep on fighting no matter what - The ball is round and we have an equal chance to grab all three points as much as Balestier has.And yes, we will be bringing the confetti.

Onward to Toa Payoh! Never Surrender!

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