By Gabriel TanFollow @@gabetan13
It took the Tigers just three minutes to take the lead in their Great Eastern-YEO's S.League outing at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium when Kim Min-ho fired home from close range, but they ultimately had to settle for a share of the spoils after Tatsuro Inui equalised with a deadly 35-yard strike into the bottom corner.
Nonetheless, the result meant the visitors have not tasted defeat since May 2 when they lost 3-1 to Woodlands Wellington and given how they have also cope with their commitments in the RHB Singapore Cup and Starhub League Cup, Stewart believes Wednesday's draw was a good result.
"What a gutsy effort from the boys," he said. "We've played lots of games, some which included extra-time, and the boys are tired.
"But honestly I thought we were absolutely tremendous; we were tired but the boys still 'guts-ed' it out. The boys are completely knackered and I had to tone training down a fair bit to make up for all the extra work from the cup games.
"That was the most pleasing thing, and the fact we played football and we did it really well. I think the point is fair enough.
"I don't think they [Warriors] deserved to be beaten. They had a lot of possession with their long balls in the first half."
The Australian also hit back at criticism that have been directed at his side in the past for being a physical, direct side akin to Barclays Premier League outfit Stoke.
"I don't know about us playing direct football," Stewart added. "People say we play like Stoke but they [Warriors] looked like they were Wimbledon.
"It's a myth; we play to our strengths. You tell me that Park [Kang-jin], Kim, Tengku [Mushadad] and Jas[lee Hatta] aren't ball players."
The former Australia international was also quick to pay tribute to the terrific team spirit at the Toa Payoh Stadium, which he believes has played an integral role in their recent success.
"I have to give credit to our subs," he praised. "Even the ones that didn't come on.
"The attitude of those guys in the last month has been absolutely phenomenal. Players like Ruhaizad [Ismail] Hamqaamal [Shah], Pat[rick Paran], even Shafuan [Sutohmoh] who wasn't even in the squad.
"There's no crap when they don't get picked and I think that just bodes well for what we build the team around. When you're unbeaten in nine, it means the reserves don't really get much of a run because the team's doing something right.
"But we have someone like Qiu Li coming off and he's coming off with a smile on his face, there's no drama or tension, and that's what I'm really pleased about."
Like Stewart, Warriors boss Alex Weaver also saw many positives from the display despite the draw, in what was only his second game in the dugout since taking over from V. Selvaraj last month.
"Our start tonight was awful," he said. "There's not two ways about it.
"But we got our composure back eventually and we created some wonderful chances, and we just need to be more clinical.
"They [Balestier] had a go and so did we, so I think both sides deserved a point tonight [Wednesday]."
The ex-Hougang coach did admit he was displeased with the way Warriors let in the first goal, as well as the number of chances they missed, but believes all that can be rectified in training.
"I'm sure Ah Lau [goalkeeper Hyrulnizam Juma'at] won't be happy with the goal they scored," Weaved conceded. "But we've told the players to follow up whenever a shot is fired in.
"And there was a defender [Shi Jiayi] back there but somehow he slipped and allowed their player [Kim] to score.
"But Ah Lau did well after that. He made a couple of good saves even if he have us concerned once or twice with the way he tried to play the ball out with his feet.
"I'm also really pleased with the way the attack looked tonight [Wednesday] and the chances we created. You have Kari [Mislav Karoglan] who's an experienced player that can really hold up the ball, and then you have Sufian [Anuar] who is just a livewire.
"Sure, we might have missed a number of chances but overall, I'm really happy with what we did in attack, which is something we worked on in training.
"I also though Inui had a great game supporting the two [Karoglan and Sufian] just behind."
Despite the draw, Balestier are assured of their top-five place for at least another week, while Warriors remain second from bottom and a point behind Geylang International, who are in action against Home United on Thursday.
Image courtesy of VOXSPORTS (Darren Ho)