Our second game at UWC Tampines resulted in another three points for the Lions, against a Vikings team who have beaten us in the league for the last three years. It was important we build on last weeks impressive win against Hotspurs and despite difficult conditions, following an earlier deluge, we rose to the occasion and delivered. We set up with a 4-4-2 formation against the 3-5-2 and despite the possibility of getting overrun in midfield, our work rate rate more than made up for the lack of personnel in the middle of the park. Unlike recent games where we have gone behind early, we went ahead after a terrific finish by Conor King. His first shot was blocked but as the ball came back he kept his cool and drove the ball into the goal. His technique was brilliant and demonstrated his growing confidence in front of goal. The first half ended with both teams looking to dominate possession but the conditions made this extremely difficult. We knew Vikings would be using long throws and direct football to their center -forward but our back four remained undaunted and were magnificent. The second half was all about character and commitment which eventually paid dividends with our second. JB had come on to replace Lee Banbury who had run himself into the ground in the first half. In the passage of play prior to the goal, JB had a shot parried by the goalkeeper but Will Sexton was unable to wrap his foot around the ball to score are second. Thankfully it came soon after with Shane Buttimer scoring from JB's corner. he might have got a clean head on it but his commitment to win the ball was rewarded as it found the back of the net. Ryan McEneaney came on to replace Will Sexton with 30 minutes to go, bringing fresh legs at a time when Vikings were getting back into the match. Injuries to Brett Bowmen and Stevie Moran forced us into two more substitutions in quick succession which unsettled the balance of the team. In fact soon after, Vikings pulled a goal back when their center-forward flicked on a ball to the willing runners who found the back of the net. We immediately found ourselves on the back foot with Vikings pressing for equalizer. In previous games we have yielded to relentless pressure but on this occasion we stood form and showed the character and desire to stay in front. With five minutes to go, as Vikings pressed forward, they were finally undone by JB's through ball to Conor King, who raced forward, into the box and clipped the ball over the advancing keeper from inside the box. Conor has now scored four goals in three games and was my man-of-the-match by a country mile. His confidence is growing with each game and you can see it every time he picks up the ball. The final few minutes were about staying focused and closing out the game. Despite some disappointing results earlier in the season we are now getting the results our form deserves. Sometime you have to win 'ugly', even when you are not playing your best football. Last night we showed a level of team spirit which defines the Gaelic Lions. The fact that we were too knackered to really celebrate is testimony to the Vikings, who's never say die attitude forced us to stay focused until the final whistle. No doubt they will be licking their wounds but their next opponents should be prepared for a battle.
A wet Friday out in Tampines did not bring the 3 points that the Vikings had hoped for. The game was a pretty even affair and both teams struggled to keep hold of the ball for long periods of time. Gaelic took the lead mid way through the first half after the ball bounced and bobbled around our defence before being deflected under the body of our keeper. Despite trailing at the break we thought that we had enough within the team to take over in the second period. We started brightly but were sucker punched when a Gaelic corner was converted with a looping header. With about 20 min left Dragsbaek added to his goal tally after a good piece of work from Andreas on the right side. Vikings huffed and puffed but didn't get any real clear cut chances and when pushing everyone up in a final attempt to salvage a point, we conceded again after failing to deal with a long ball over the top. Thanks to Gaelic and the officials for the game. As for Vikings we need to get back to winning ways and hopefully that will come next week when we play Nippon.