Bottom-placed Hougang had their fair share of chances in the game, but were made to rue those misses as they remained four points adrift of eighth-placed Geylang International FC.
Meanwhile, Home reclaimed third spot and went three points clear of Brunei DPMM FC, albeit having played three games more.
With four points from their last two games, Hougang were brimming with confidence and almost went ahead after just nine minutes.
Off Justin Hui’s chipped ball into the area, Fabian Kwok got the better of Home goalkeeper Rudy Khairullah and looked set to convert into an empty net, only for Faizal Roslan to come out of nowhere to deny him on the line.
Home were largely on top for the rest of the first half, but were unable to trouble Khairulhin Khalid in the Hougang goal.
Captain Izzdin Shafiq spurned two efforts from range, while Shakir Hamzah could not keep his volley down from just outside the area.
Hougang returned for the second half with much more vigour and should have scored shortly after the break.
In the 50th minute, French-Italian forward Antoine Viterale slammed wide with just Rudy to beat after being picked out by a superb ball from Stanely Ng.
Five minutes later, Viterale’s 25-yard shot was spilled by Rudy but Ng’s follow-up was well blocked by Home centre-back Abdil Qaiyyim.
Clement Teo’s charges were made to pay for their profligacy as the deadlock was finally broken on 57 minutes.
With the Hougang defence failing to clear their lines, Anumanthan seized the opening to lash in a speculative 30-yard shot that flew past a late-diving Khairulhin for his first league goal of the season.
Shahril Ishak missed a gilt-edged opportunity from six yards out in the 87th minute after being picked out by a deep cross from Shakir, as Home held on for the three points.
Aidil Sharin’s charges next face Warriors FC away in the Uniformed Derby on Wednesday, 4 July, while Hougang face the uneviable task of toppling runaway leaders Albirex Niigata FC (S) at Hougang Stadium on the same night.
Home Head Coach Aidil Sharin: “It’s a good win, considering we did not win for the past two matches and we had a few key players missing. We had so many chances, but we were lacking the final touch in the opponents’ half and Song (Ui-Young) was not there. But I got a feeling we would score a goal and we got the three points at the end of the day.
“Before Anu (Anumanthan) joined Home, he rarely scored. But now he’s scoring in the AFC Cup and in the league. He understands that he’s not just a defensive player. Arshad (Shamim) did well (at right-back) against a foreigner (Viterale) and he’s improving.”
Hougang Caretaker Head Coach Clement Teo: “Look, all good things must to an end. Yes, we did well in the previous two matches, but that’s football. We can lose, but what’s more important is that the players worked terribly hard and gave their best. We got to give credit to them.
“No one likes to lose, but the bottom line is that they understand the tactical behaviour and bounce back for the next game. Right now I don’t want to comment – he’s (Chang Jo-Yoon) still with us (on trial) and we have not confirmed anything yet. Ultimately whoever comes, we have to give Albirex a run for their money (on Wednesday) and who knows – we might beat them.”
Home: Rudy Khairullah (GK), Arshad Shamim, Abdil Qaiyyim, Faizal Roslan, Shakir Hamzah, M. Anumanthan, Izzdin Shafiq (C), Hafiz Nor, Suhairi Sabri (Iqram Rifqi 56’), Amy Recha (Christopher Van Huizen 77’), Shahril Ishak (Amiruldin Asraf 90’)
Unused subs: Eko Pradana Putra (GK), Aqhari Abdullah, Faritz Hameed, Shahrin Saberin.
Hougang: Khairulhin Khalid (GK), Faiz Salleh, Adam Mitter, Illyas Lee (Nurhilmi Jasni 67’), Jordan Vestering, Justin Hui, Iqbal Hussain, Syahiran Miswan (Syukri Bashir 81’), Fabian Kwok (C), Antoine Viterale, Stanely Ng (Fareez Farhan 67’)
Unused subs: Zulfairuuz Rudy (GK), Ashrul Syafeeq, Nazrul Nazari, Nasrul Taib.
Photo Credit: Football Association of Singapore