By Gabriel Tan at the Yishun Stadium
Ong Kim Swee's charges were leading 1-0 courtesy of Thamil Arasu's 12th-minute penalty, but just as the game looked set for a grandstand finish - with both sides creating their fair share of chances - play was suspended four minutes after the hour mark, before officials decided to call it off after a 45-minute delay.
The fixture will now be replayed on a yet-to-be confirmed date, but with Harimau set to take part in the Newspaper Cup in Vietnam on October 11 to 21, the re-arranged match is likely to wreak havoc on their already-packed schedule.
Having bounced back from their 3-0 defeat to Home United with a 2-0 triumph over Woodlands Wellington last Saturday, the Young Tigers were looking to make it two wins in a row in a bid to keep alive their title hopes.
Thamil had proved to be the winner against the Rams five days earlier with a couple of well-taken finishes, and it took him just eight minutes to get his first chance when he found space inside the Balestier area and met a cross from Mahalli Jasuli, only to scuff his effort wide of the far post.
Nonetheless, there was to be no denying Harimau four minutes later when they were awarded a penalty after Syed Thaha hauled down Wan Zack Haikal, who had already left two defenders in his wake, inside the area. The in-form Thamil stepped up and drilled in an effort into the bottom corner to give his side the lead, despite the best efforts of Zakariah Nerani, who managed to get a hand to the shot.
Buoyed by their strong start, the hosts began to gain control of proceedings but Balestier were looking rather dangerous on the counter in their brief forays forward. A minute before the half-hour mark, Ruhaizad Ismail picked up the ball 25 yards and let fly but Izham Tarmizi was quick to react and parried the strike over.
Harimau then had an excellent chance to double their lead in the 31st minute when Wan Zack Haikal floated in a pinpoint corner to Syahrul Azwari, who could only send a free header over from ten yards out.
However, they almost shot themselves in the foot a minute later after miscommunication at the back nearly gifted Balestier a goal. Under no pressure, Nazirul Naim decided to nod a long ball at full stretch back to Izham, who had already raced out of goal to claim it. Fortunately for them, the ball trickled just wide of the post as both left-back and goalkeeper breathed a sigh of relief.
Five minutes before the break, the Tigers really should have equalised after good work from Kim Min-ho saw him glide past Nazirul down the right and drill a cross into the box. Hamqaamal Shah had made an excellent diagonal run to meet his team-mate's delivery but with only the keeper to beat, and on his weaker right foot, the ex-Gombak man poked his effort wide.
Minutes into the second half, heavy rain started to fall at the Yishun Stadium and as the pitch became slippery, the younger Harimau players were able to put their energy to good use.
Five minutes before the hour mark, a long ball from the back landed in the centre circle and skidded off the turf, sending Syahrul racing through despite Tigers captain Paul Cunningham's valiant attempt to chase his opponent down. But as he bore down on goal, the midfielder took too long to get his shot away and allowed Zakariah to narrow the angle, and by the time he finally pulled the trigger the Balestier custodian was able to deny him with an outstretched leg.
By now, the evening sky was beginning to be lit up by frequent bouts of lightning, leaving referee Muhd Taqi no choice but to suspend play and lead the players off the field.
Following a 45-minute delay, coach and captain from both teams, along with match officials, convened on the sidelines for a brief discussion, where it was then decided that the match would be abandoned for the safety of the players.
Harimau Muda: Izham Tarmizi, Mahalli Jasuli, Affize Faisal, Fadhli Shas, Nazirul Naim, Gary Robbat, Irfan Fazail, Wan Zack Haikal, Syahrul Azwari (Ahmad Hazwan 56'), Wan Zaharulnizam, Thamil Arasu.
Balestier Khalsa: Zakariah Nerani, Yusiskandar Yusop, Goran Subara, Paul Cunningham, Syed Thaha, Shafuan Sutohmoh, Park Kang-jin, Tengku Mushadad, Ruhaizad Ismail (Zulkiffli Hassim 55'), Hamqaamal Shah, Kim Min-ho.