By Abhishek Mehrotra
The Jaguars entered the summer break on a high after three 1-0 wins on the trot saw them climb up to eighth in the table, having occupied bottom spot for most of the campaign so far.
The manner of the win was as important for the coach as the three points, given that Tanjong Pagar managed to defend their slender lead for their first away win of the season despite playing the better part of half an hour with ten men, after defender Jonathan Xu had been sent off for two bookable offences.
"We've done beyond expectations [in the league so far] despite having a lot of players out due to injuries," he said.
"Now we have a break, after which we need to keep the momentum going, and go up as far as possible."
Pathmanathan's men had to withstand a second-half onslaught from the home side, but put on a superb defensive rearguard to make sure Serge Souchon's first-half effort was enough for the win.
They did have luck on their side though, when Woodlands captain Daniel Hammond's shot cannoned off the base of the post in injury time, with keeper Fajar Sarib beaten.
"Today [Friday] we had to work doubly hard with a man down and the team did very well. It was a tough game. Woodlands were really going for the goal and we were lucky when one shot hit the post," acknowledged the 56-year-old.
"It was tough to play with 10 men, but the players never stopped working. They worked hard to nullify the one-man shortage. I'm happy with the attitude they showed."
Speaking about Xu's sending-off, Pathmanathan said: "The first one [yellow card] - it was silly of him to kick the ball away like that. And once you pick up a yellow card, you become a walking time-bomb.
But the interview ended on a positive note, with the former Singapore international praising match-winner Souchon.
"Souchon did well. It was good decision making on his part. We needed a goal and he took on the responsibility."
Tanjong Pagar now play Hougang United in the opening round of the RHB Singapore Cup next week.
While Pathmanathan was happy with his side's end to the first-half of the season, Woodlands' assistant coach Clement Teo was visibly annoyed after seeing his side's winless run extend to ten games.
"You could see the frustration of the players when they were shouting at each other. We still stand by what we say - we win as a team, we lose as a team. It's very frustrating, because it's an off day. What more can I say," he lamented.
Teo rubbished suggestions that Hammond's shot hitting the post was indicative of the bad luck that had accompanied the Rams since their two wins in February.
"When we lose, we say we didn't have the luck, but that's an easy excuse. We didn't do well - especially in the first-half.
"The players' morale is down. Every time we prepare during training, the attitude is there. But strangely enough, in crucial games like these, we cannot apply what we've done in training."
With the summer break upon them, Woodlands now have a chance to address their shortcomings and come back stronger for the second-half of the season.
"The break has come at the right time," agreed Teo.
"If you can't get a win in ten games, then the break is good - but there's still a lot of hard work to be done. We have told the guys - we don't have any superstar, so we have to work very hard.
"We should be back in the second round, giving a much better performance as well as trying to move up the table."
The Rams return to action with a home game against Robin Chitrakar's Courts Young Lions on June 16 when they'll try to move further away from the foot of the table. Currently, they are second from bottom, ahead of Geylang United only on goal-difference.