Women's ● Jul 17, 2007

Arion and Young Women play out goalless draw


Arion Women and Young Women both picked up their first point of the season in an entertaining game that had everything except a goal.


Arion made one enforced change with Regina Tan – whose energy almost undid Bishan the previous week – replacing the injured Angeline Chua. Young Women rested Chinese centre-back Sun Jie but still had a strong enough team on paper to come away with the three points.


However, ultimately, football is a funny game that is not played on paper.


It was the complete opposite to last week as a clearly pumped up Arion team started the first half impressively, using the full width of the pitch and stretching their opponents who struggled to get into any rhythm.


As time wore on, the play did switch more to Arion’s half and allowed Arion to play the counter-attack game rather effectively. On more than one occasion, Arion found themselves 3-on-2 or 2-on-2 only for the choice of the final ball to let them down.


The splurge of substitutions from both sides at half-time failed to break the deadlock but did provide a more entertaining second half with action aplenty. With striker Luo Jian Zhen distinctly off colour, it was left to Azreena Maat to test Arion’s keeper Tan Eng Chiu.


A couple of good efforts from Azreena were well stopped by the national custodian. However, the keeper’s luck was to run out in the 74th minute when she raced out to meet Azreena who shot early, forcing Tan to handle outside the box. Referee Tan Kheng Ngap was left with no option but to brandish the red card. With no recognised goalkeeper on the bench, confusion ensued before Karen Chen finally donned the gloves.


It was an impressive performance between the sticks by the right back, whose bravery and safe handling helped reassure her back four. The only moment of danger came when substitute Chen Yue Hui smashed the underside of the bar from close range but to the keeper’s relief, the ball rebounded to safety.


Despite having one less player and three players struggling with leg cramps, it was Arion who finished the game stronger with Li Jing and Lim Shiya both coming close.


Both sides will need to be more clinical in front of goal though, if they want those elusive three points.


Elsewhere at St. Wilfred’s, it was raining goals as Tiong Bahru beat Paya Lebar Punggol 4-3 to put themselves top of the table. They had to hold off a resurgent Paya Lebar who came back from a 3-0 deficit at half-time to almost snatch a point.