HOUGANG UNITED 1
Thomas Beattie 52′
HOME UNITED 0
There is always a beautiful feeling in football, whenever a team managed to beat its nearest geographical rivals.
With only about 4km apart between each other, although there is no sense of hatred between both sets of fans, however, we always consider Home United the nearest rivals, due to the club with the closest proximity.
It was even more sweeter, given that former Hougang Canadian Wizard, Jordan Webb returns to his former ground after four months, the club that given him cult status and a household figure in the S.League.
When Thomas Beattie thunderbolt his shot, after a short clearance by the Home United defence gave him an opportunity, the 800-odd crowd, mostly Hougang faithfuls, were in delirium after being given a glimmer of hope to have their first victory against their closest rivals.
For Beattie, it was even more sweeter, given the fact that he almost joined the Protectors in January. Instead, the Bishan outfit decided to opt for the more experienced Lee Kwan Woo. A mimic of Eric Cantona’s celebration against Sunderland in 1996, cupping his ears and looking around the stadium like a statue, with his team mates crowding around him and celebrating for his tremendous effort on goal that bore its fruits.
It could be worse for the Cheetahs in the early minutes. The Protectors in white were constantly bombarding the defence in the first half, with many opportunities being denied, particularly by Fadhil Salim, and Syaqir Sulaiman, whom both looked like playing the game of their lives.
A particular chance in the fourth minute, when former Sengkang (Hougang’s predecessor) striker Indra Sahdan Daud had the simplest of chance to beat Fadhil. Fadhil was beaten, but Hasree Zais managed to stop his effort away from the goal line.
Firdous Idros was sent clear off the defence, only for him to fumble at the last minute, and Fadhil Salim had the easiest opportunity to grab the ball with both ends.
The Cheetahs weren’t devoid of opportunities either. Liam Shotton had an opportunity to muster Hougang’s first shot on goal of the night on 21 minutes, however, the ball skimmed past his head and away on the right of the pitch.
The Cheetahs managed to find the net on 32 minutes, when Azhar Sairudin’s free kick effort went into Shahril Jantan’s hand. However, the ball squirmed through his arms and Tom Beattie managed to bundle the ball into the net. However, the assistant referee waved the flag to signal an offside.
Mamadou Diallo had the last opportunity of the half to take the lead to halftime. However, his effort scraped past the far right post.
The Cheetahs came back stronger and finally took a shock lead on 52 minutes with Thomas Beattie’s potential goal of the season effort. Shahril Jantan had no opportunity to get his hands on the ball and as the ball bulged the top right hand corner of the net, the crowd at the Hougang Stadium went mad.
Home United went into an-all attack mode, and substitute Masato Fukui almost equalized on 72 minutes, only for his effort to be shot wide past the right post.
Hougang held the lead up till the final whistle. The win brought the Hougang Boys out of the bottom two into 9th, and it was the Cheetahs first ever victory over Home United in the S.League. The Cheetahs will next face bottom side Courts Young Lions for a third potential straight win.
Fadhil Salim, Syaqir Sulaiman, Hasree Zais, Faizal Amir, Lau Meng Meng, Azhar Sairudin, Thomas Beattie, Fazli Jaffar (Basit Hamid 71′), Nurhilmi Jasni (Jeremy Chiang 77′), Mamadou Diallo (Fairoz Hassan 86′), Liam Shotton.
Shahril Jantan, Juma’at Jantan (Azli Yusoff 35′), Noh Rahman, Hafiz Rahim, Jordan Webb, Firdaus Idros (Masato Fukui 60′), Lee Kwan Woo (Aliff Shafaein 82′), Masrezwan Masturi, Sirina Camara, Indra Sahdan Daud, Song Ui Young.