Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reaction: Woodlands vs Young Lions

Despite an magnificent early Moon Soon-Ho strike which gave us a glimmer of hope to finally break our eleven match winless streak, the Rams found themselves on the losing end once again as the Courts Young Lions clamoured back in the final 13 minutes to score two goals to reverse the score in their favour.

Super Moon celebrating after his wonderful strike on 14 minutes.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

The match seemed to be headed for the same scoreline when these sides met in February but it was not to be as Young Lions substitute Nazrul Ahmad Nazari slotted home the equalizer off a square ball from Sirina Camara in the 77th minute.
Sirina Camara was essential in both defence and attack for the Young Lions.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

Two minutes later, the Woodlands bench was forced to change the shape of the squad after midfield enforcer, Han Yiguang, was harshly sent off after a second bookable offence. The referee left question marks in everyone's heads as several tackles that flew in from the Young Lions had gone unpunished.

Shamsurin was full of running when he came on.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

 The numerical advantage proved to be crucial for the Young Lions as Sherif El-Masri, clearly the best Young Lions player on the pitch that night, sprinted down the left before passing the ball to Faris Ramli, who had the simplest task of tapping the ball in to tip the score in the Young Lions' favour.

Aloysius Yap's shot crashed off the crossbar in the dying minutes.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

Despite going down, the Rams displayed the "Never Surrender" attitude that had been sorely missing in the first half of the season and kept plying forward despite having the odds stacked firmly against them. Daniel Hammond was deployed as a striker and the midfield pushed their line higher into the Young Lions' half. The gamble nearly paid off when Rams' substitute Aloysius Yap crashed his shot against the crossbar, giving the Young Lions a huge scare. The scorcher could have ricocheted anywhere, but unfortunately the shot rebounded down and away from the goal line and was quickly cleared by a panicky Young Lions defence.

A frustrated Daniel Hammond after the match in a wonderfully taken shot.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

The final score surely does not do any justice to the Rams, who kept battling on and had the Lions share (pun not intended) of the possession. We can also take heart from Moon's brilliantly taken goal, created by the spirited Goh Swee Swee who kept the pressure on the Young Lions defence, as the Korean continues his goalscoring form following his penalty against Kanbawza FC in our last competitive game. Super Moon has 7 goals to his name so far, and statistically speaking, the prolific striker averages a goal every two games, having scored 14 times in 29 appearances for the Rams since his mid-season transfer last year.

Rams' "new boy" Neil Vanu was also spotted in the stands but the young striker was unable to play as his mid-season transfer had not been completed yet. Neil had previously played for the Rams from 2010 to mid 2011, when he was snapped up by the Courts Young Lions in view of the 2011 SEA Games. What a sensation it would have been if he had come on to score against his former club but alas, it was not to be. We will probably see him in action when the Rams take on Geylang United next on 21st June and we certainly hope they can carry their battling attitude forward to that encounter at Bedok Stadium.

Come On You Rams! Never Surrender!

For more photos of the match, please check out Andrew's album here.

Rams and Young Lions fans (and 1 Albirex fan) convene during half time.
Photo Credit: Aaron Chan (The Black Sheep)

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