By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
The Protectors, tipped by many in pre-season to challenge for the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League title, are still searching for their first win in 2013 three games into the season.
Heading into Tuesday's game at the Bishan Stadium after a 0-0 draw with DPMM FC was followed by last week's last-gasp 2-1 defeat to Albirex Niigata (S), Home once again failed to fire as they succumbed to the Rams, who finished bottom of the pile in the last three campaigns.
Speaking after the game, Lee insisted he was to blame for the result but admitted the loss would cause him a few sleepless nights.
"This result is my fault," he said. "I will definitely take responsibility for it as the coach.
"I won't be able to sleep tonight [Tuesday] as I will be thinking about the team."
Having failed to convert their dominance into chances in the first half, the Protectors fell behind in the 68th minute after a horrendous error by goalkeeper Jang Hong-won saw him miss an attempted punch and allow a long-range freekick from Rosman Sulaiman to bounce into the back of the net, before Woodlands playmaker Khalid Hamdaoui sealed the win four minutes later with a cracking strike.
Although Lee immediately replaced Jang with the experienced Shahril Jantan following Rosman's opener, he refused to get overly critical of his young compatriot.
"Our Korean goalkeeper is 22 years old," he added. "I know he can get emotional and I was worried he might make a second mistake.
"That's why I took him off. I don't think Shahril could have done much for the second goal as it was a well-struck shot."
Home's failure to create many scoring opportunities despite dominating proceedings in their first three games will be another cause for concern to their boss, and the ex-Korea Republic international admits it is something they will have to work on.
"Most importantly, we need more concentration with our finishing," Lee explained.
"We need to create more accurate passes and crosses in the attacking third; the final pass is the problem for us. That's why we need to practice more."
Woodlands coach Salim Moin was quick to claim a tactical victory over his opposite number as he revealed his specific plan to deal with Home had worked to perfection.
"I'm not going to say I'm surprised [by the result]," he said.
"It was a good game plan I worked with the team and the boys showed enthusiasm and desire to win the match. You could see that in the second half.
"In the first half, they [Home] were dominating the game because of the wind. In the second half, I told my team to take advantage of the fact it was now in our favour.
"When we played the ball forward on a couple of occasions, it went behind the defenders and it created a few chances. Moon [Soon-ho] had three chances that I thought were certain goals but he missed.
"I think it [the winning margin] could have been more than two goals."
Three games into the season, Woodlands already look a significantly better side than they were last year, when they won just three games all campaign long.
But while he boldly tipped his side for a top-three finish in their pre-season unveiling, Salim has since toned down expectations and wants to wait awhile more before making a definitive prediction on his side's prospects for 2013.
"We will wait and see after six or seven matches," he added. "From there, I can say where my team stands.
"If I now say that my team are going to be champions, everyone will be laughing at me. But I always believe in my team and they are capable of playing better football.
"It all boils down to them and how they want to approach each and every game."
Although Hamdaoui, Rosman and Moon all took turns to shine for the Rams, one player that really impressed on Tuesday was centre-back Shariff Samat, playing his first S.League game since he was with Hougang United in 2011.
The 29-year-old teamed up well with Cho Sung-hwan to keep the Home attack at bay, and even made a terrific goal-line block in the 11th minute to prevent Masato Fukui from firing into an open goal, an incident Salim believed was pivotal.
"I have to take my hat off to him [Shariff]," the 51-year-old said. "If that had been a goal, I think it would have been a different scenario for my team.
"He had a good game. It's his first game for us and it's been quite some time since he's played in a competitive game.
"I spoke to him personally before this game, and he said he's full of desire to play, so I let him play and he showed his best. I'm very proud of his performance."
Woodlands are next in action on March 15 when they entertain Hougang, while Home's next test is a tricky trip to high-flying Tanjong Pagar United, who are yet to taste defeat under new coach Patrick Vallee.
Image courtesy of Home United Football Club (Jaron Lee)