Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Match Report: Woodlands Wellington vs Katong FC (Friendly)

There was never any doubt of a Woodlands victory over lower opposition, and the Rams did so in emphatic fashion, putting 4 goals past a courageous Katong side which just refused to give up.

Katong FC players huddling in their red strip before the match.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

Salim Moin rested a few regulars for this friendly match and opted for Danny Chew to make his home debut at right wing-back. Farizal Basri also started as a lone striker up front, supported by a five man midfield comprised of Armanizam Dolah, Duncan Elias, Shamsurin Abdul Rahman, Han Yiguang and Guntur Djafril.

Matthew playing in goal for Katong FC
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

It was interesting to see Woodlands team manager and goalkeeping coach Matthew Michael Tay smartly decked out in his goalkeeper's outfit and starting between the sticks for Katong FC, a position he has made his own since he started playing for the NFL Division 2 side.

Farizal Basri was a joy to watch
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

First Half

The Rams started off strongly with Farizal Basri constantly threatening the Katong defence with his testing runs and clever play. The accomplished campaigner showcased his experience by making timely runs to create space for his teammates and laying off the ball to players who were in better scoring positions, giving Katong defenders Nicholas Low and Jason Ng a torrid time .

Armanizam Dolah came close to scoring the opener for Woodlands
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

Woodlands nearly drew first blood when Armanizam Dolah did well enough to cut through the Katong defence but his shot crashed against the upright with only Matthew to beat. Moments later, Shamsurin Abdul Rahman squeezed through the tight Katong defence but the alert Matthew managed to smother the ball before Shamsurin could pull the trigger.

With the relentless pressure growing on Katong, the Rams soon scored their first goal against the Division II side. Farizal Basri, picking up a pass in the opponent's half, started a promising run towards the Katong goal. The cultured forward then sliced through the defence like a hot knife through butter and finished off his fine run by pulling off an exquisite chip over the fully stretched Matthew from just outside the penalty box to put the Rams ahead.

Danny Chew plying the right flank for Woodlands
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

Right wingback Danny Chew, making his debut for the first team, bombed forward together with his counterpart, Edward Tan, as the Rams went in search for more goals. Direct passes were sent down the middle via the dependable duo of Armanizam and Han Yiguang while crosses came in from both flanks from the two wingbacks.

Shamsurin - the driving force behind almost every Rams' attack
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

The consistent cut and thrust seemed to be too much for the Katong players as they soon gave away a penalty. A cross from the right, whipped in by Han Yiguang, missed Farizal Basri by mere inches and was promptly cleared to the left flank. As Duncan Elias prepared to square another ball into the box, he was clipped by a defender, leaving the referee no choice but to point to the penalty spot.

Armanizam Dolah was tasked to despatch the penalty but his initial shot to the left of the goal was saved by Matthew, who dived in the right direction. However, there was no mistake from Armanizam the second time round as he banged home the rebound to the right this time to give the Rams a two goal cushion heading into the half time break. The break also saw Matthew being substituted with Katong reserve goalkeeper Tan Tah Jiun.

Second Half

The restart saw Woodlands continuing to pile on the pressure on Katong. Guntur, Farizal and Shamsurin all had chances on goal but they were let down with wasteful finishing. However, the trio made up for that when they orchestrated one of the moves of the game. A one-two between Farizal and Shamsurin was laid back to Guntur Djafril, who unleashed a beautiful low shot which blazed past Katong keeper Tan. Full credit to the fully-stretched keeper for attempting a save, but there was nothing much he could do about that accurately placed shot.

Guntur celebrates his beautifully taken goal
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

The Woodlands dugout soon made multiple changes, bringing on Ang Ban Heng, Vincent Lee, K. Sathiaraj, Oswind Suriya, Aloysius Yap and Goh Swee Swee. It was the latter who made the biggest impact, making a fruitful run with the ball late in the game and curling a screamer past Tan for Woodlands' fourth and final goal of the night, capping a brilliant team performance from the Rams. Nothing as fancy as the screamer he scored against Geylang earlier this season, but still a gem of a goal, nonetheless.

Goh Swee Swee scoring the fourth goal
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)
Summary

It was good to see the Rams playing plenty of attacking football and I'm sure the scoreline would attest to the beautiful flowing football that was played at Woodlands on Friday.

Good to see Duncan back on the pitch.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

It's always nice to welcome players back from injury and Duncan Elias certainly did not lose his fitness despite being away for three weeks. The left footer was deployed in left midfield and he showed no signs of lethargy as he put in a spirited performance.

Promising youngster Oswind Suriya. Don't be fooled by the number, he was wearing Moon's kit.
Photo Credit: Andrew Him (The Black Sheep)

Oswin Suriya was another player who impressed with his tireless running and pacy dribbles. He showed plenty of promise when he was introduced to the pitch and we can be assured that the Rams have plenty of depth in the squad.

Shamsurin Abdul Rahman must be credited a swell for his hard work in the middle of the park and his prospective runs into the Katong defence. His passing was immaculate as well, and he would have gotten his name on the scoresheet as well if not for Matthew's save in the first half.

Despite the scoreline, the Katong players put up a resolute display and they can be proud of themselves for playing their hearts out. The stocky Adelard Teng, who was playing at left back, was particularly impressive and although he was facing S.League players such as Danny Chew and Han Yiguang, he continued running and battling to the end.

The Rams face Brunei DPMM next, and let's hope the boys can bring forward their positive play and give the Bruneians the match of their lives. Never Surrender!

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