Women's ● Jul 09, 2007
Bishan Arsenal kick off Women’s Premier League with win
Bishan Arsenal kicked off the Women’s Premier League 2007 with a narrow 1-0 win over Arion Women’s in what was a rematch of the Challenge Cup Semi-Final. It could have, however, been so different had Arion coach Li Jing brought herself on five minutes earlier than she did.
On a pitch resembling more a grazing field than a football pitch, it was clear that neither side would be able to play any sort of passing game. This suited Bishan who adopted a more direct style and it was them who dominated the early proceedings. Despite fielding no new signings, Arion looked a team who had only just been introduced to each other.
Lack of communication and indecision, especially in defence, allowed Bishan to break through time after time. Vanessa Goh, Huraizah Ismail and Alicia Heng all had great chances to break the deadlock but a mixture of errors ‚Äì including shooting too early and unfortunate bobbles kept the score 0-0 at half time.
Baring an amazing turnaround, it seemed a case of when Bishan would score, and not whether the second half will continue in the same vein as the first. It didn’t take Bishan too long, as a cross from the left saw the ball put in the net at the back post. However, the referee blew for an earlier infringement.
The ball was back in the Arion net in the 54th minute and this time, the goal was allowed to stand.
Arion were unable to clear their lines and despite the close attention of Toh Qiu Yi, Huraizah was allowed to break into the box and her shot from the left corner of the box caught an unsighted Tan Eng Chiu off guard as she was beaten at her near post.
The goal prompted the immediate substitution of Charmine Lim for Li Jing, who was already warming up as the goal went in. Lim Shiya was moved to her more accustomed left midfield postion and Gan Hwee Fern slotted in at left back. The game now swung the way of Arion and it was them who began to dominate the game.
Goal scoring opportunities soon followed. Lim saw her dangerous free kick sail past the far post when only a touch was needed. Substitute Regina Tan’s brave run was ended by a brilliant tackle from Bishan captain Goh Chu Ming just as she was about to release a shot. Bianca Strasser’s shot from the edge of the six yard box was well tipped round the post by Norhayati Hamir.
The woodwork at both ends was then rattled in the closing minutes, with Bishan’s Doceline Ndjouanang’s lob coming back of Tan’s right hand post back into her grateful arms and Arion’s Lim striking the top of the crossbar from a seemingly impossible angle.
Time ran out, however, on Arion’s unlikely comeback and a slightly relieved Bishan walked off with all three points. It was a deserved result but Arion will be left wondering what if. What if the substitution on the hour mark had been made five minutes earlier?