Warriors FC ended their 2016 Great Eastern Yeo’s S.League season on a winning note, comfortably dispatching Hougang United 5-1 at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Tuesday night.
Jonathan Behe struck a second-half hat-trick and coupled with a goal each from Nikola Rak and Fazli Jaffar, it rendered Iqbal Hussain’s 37th minute opener inconsequential as they registered their biggest win of the season.
Nevertheless, it was the Cheetahs who started the more promising of the two sides as they were denied twice in quick succession by Warriors custodian Basil Chan.
The former Young Lions goalkeeper had to push away a low shot from Afiq Noor in the 10th minute before tipping over a goalbound header from Fairoz Hasan a minute later.
At the other end, Behe had an effort deflected over by Faiz Salleh before Khairulhin Khalid pulled off an impressive double save to first thwart Hafiz Nor and then Behe just before the half-hour mark.
Those misses would prove costly for the home side eight minutes before the break as Iqbal fired Hougang in front, cutting in from the right before drilling a low finish past Chan.
While many would have expected Hougang to build on their lead, Warriors came out of the break with all guns blazing and would eventually restore parity in the 50th minute.
A long throw from Madhu Mohana was flicked on by Rak into the path of Behe and the Warriors forward made no mistake from close range to make it 1-1.
The floodgates opened thereafter as Rak thumped home an unstoppable first-time finish following a half-cleared cross five minutes later as the home side led for the first time in the game.
Things then got from bad to worse for the visitors as Behe further extended the lead for Razif Onn’s charges with a header past a rooted Khairulhin for his second of the night in the 69th minute.
The hosts added their fourth goal of the night nine minutes from time when substitute Fazli – who had been on the pitch for only 15 minutes – sent a cross-shot which flew past Khairulhin and found its way into the back of the net.
The scoring was finally complete deep into stoppage time as Behe curled a finish from the edge of the box to seal his hat-trick, taking his final tally for the season to 19.
Warriors FC head coach Razif Onn: “It was a good result today and we were fortunate to win big.
“There were a lot of frustration throughout the season. Hence, it was good to win the last game and I appreciate the boys for putting up a good show (like we did today).”
Hougang United head coach K Balagumaran: “I don’t know what happened today, I need to analyse the video. We made some defensive mistakes and once we conceded the second goal, Warriors started coming at us. We had chances in the first-half but we didn’t take them and allowed them to come back.
“We have a young team; we need more experienced heads. I cannot blame the players because they gave their best.”
Warriors FC: Basil Chan (GK), Madhu Mohana, Kento Fukuda, Hafiz Osman (Ismail Yunos 84’), Zulfadli Zainal (C), Syaqir Sulaiman, Shaiful Esah, Ridhuan Muhammad (Fazli Jaffar 67’), Nikola Rak, Hafiz Nor (Hafiz Rahim 82’), Jonathan Behe
Hougang United: Khairulhin Khalid (GK), Faiz Salleh, Stipe Plazibat, Nurhilmi Jasni, Huzaifah Aziz, Afiq Noor (Nur Na’iim Ishak 78”), Fairoz Hasan, Raihan Rahman, Jozef Kaplan (C) (Nur Ridho Jafri 65’), Iqbal Hussain, Fumiya Kogure (Samuel Benjamin 78’)
Match report by: S.League Sebastian Lim