A lone strike from Jonathan Behe inside the opening 10 minutes of the match was enough to separate Warriors FC from Geylang International at the Bedok Stadium in the Singapore Premier League (SPL) on Sunday.
The victory was only Warriors fourth of the season and ended a streak of three straight defeats for them. It also moved them into fifth on the table, ahead of Balestier Khalsa on goal difference.
Geylang meanwhile stay in eighth spot, two points below the Young Lions who had leapfrogged them in the table on Saturday.
The game could have easily gone the Eagles way from the start, but Ryan Syaffiq failed to find the target after Fairoz Hasan set him up nicely for a shot on nine minutes.
Geylang paid the price for that miss, as Warriors would go down the other end to open the scoring in the next minute through Behe.
The striker earned a corner off Yuki Ichikawa, and broke the deadlock after he lost his marker to head Shamil Sharif’s delivery into the net.
Shamil could have added another just a couple of minutes later, but his curler from the edge of the area was pushed onto the woodwork by Geylang custodian Zainol Gulam.
Behe then saw another header easily saved by Zainol, while Ryan wasted another opportunity at the other end on 30 minutes.
Zainol then produced three decent stops in a three-minute spell to keep his side in the game, with the pick of it a save at full stretch to tip out Shamil’s curling effort on 39 minutes.
The second half picked up where the first ended, with Zainol by far the busiest player on the pitch.
He had to dive at full stretch to tip Sahil’s free-kick wide on 47 minutes, and produced a fine stop to prevent Behe from scoring seven minutes later after the Frenchman made a wonderful run into the box.
But the tide soon turned and the Eagles bean dominating the game.
Fairoz had the Eagles best opportunity of the game after Afiq played a quick free-kick onto his path. With no defenders near him, Fairoz failed to direct his effort on target and the Warriors were let off.
The Eagles kept up the pressure and Warriors needed Mukundan Maran to bail them out after Anders Aplin, who came on as a substitute and was pushed upfront immediately, turned Tajeli Salamat and fired a powerful effort on goal. The young Warriors keeper had his eye on the ball the whole time though, and managed to react in time to parry it.
Kogure then tested the young Warriors goalkeeper once more, this time with a free-kick from 25 yards out, and the 20-year-old caught it at full stretch, making it look like a routine save.
The Eagles continue pushing, yet they were unable to find a breakthrough with Mukundan sweeping up any balls that came into his area, and the Warriors eventually survived the late onslaught – but not before Warriors debutant Khairul Nizam was shown a straight red for a studs up tackle from behind on Ryson Yap.
Geylang goalkeeper Zainol Gulam: “Luck wasn’t on our side. We had chances in the second half, created five to six chances. Maybe it was meant to be for us to lose, but we definitely kept pushing. We will try not to let (the defeat) affect us. We’ve been working as a team, improving a lot after the first round.
“This is a new team, some of the players weren’t even playing much this year, so we should be proud and continue working hard.”
Warriors goalkeeper Mukundan Maran: “The last few minutes were very pressurising, they threw everyone up front including their defenders but we managed to keep sturdy and get the win.
“The senior players keep telling me that I’m only as good as the last game and whatever I’ve done today, it’s to help the team win. I’ll take it in my stride and move on to the next game.”
Geylang International: Zainol Gulam (GK), Jufri Taha, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Darren Teh, Ryan Syaffiq (Anders Aplin 65′), Azhar Sairudin (Ryson Yap 65′), Fumiay Kogure, Yeo Hai Ngee (Fuad Ramli 46′), Afiq Yunos, Fairoz Hasan, Yuki Ichikawa (C)
Warriors FC: Mukundan Maran (GK), Kento Fukuda (C), Ammirul Emmran (Ismadi Mukhtar 64′), Shamil Sharif, Jonathan Behe, Sahil Suhaimi (Khairul Nizam 82′), HAfiz Sulaiman, Fadhil Noh (Suria Prakash 72′), Poh Yi Feng, Firdaus Kasman, Tajeli Salamat