Armed Forces rode their luck at times but B. Sathianathan had more than one reason to be thankful as his team held on to beat a young Perak side 1-0 in a Super League match in Selayang on Tuesday.
For one thing, it ended back-to-back defeats to Sime Darby in the FA Cup and PKNS in the league having opened their campaign with a 2-0 win over Sarawak.
Forces also managed the rare feat of winning without their top scorer of the last two seasons, Marlon Alex James, who complained of pain in the back of his knee and was not risked.
Sathianathan also saw Juan Manuel Arostegui break his duck in the Argentine's fourth appearance and did not have to call upon captain Hairuddin Omar, who remained on the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury which has delayed his 2014 debut.
"It was a great game and Perak played well. We tried to get into our rhythm, which is what has been missing," said Sathianathan, whose team failed to fully capitalise on a run of four games all played at their Selayang Stadium home.
"Sometimes we were in control and sometimes we were all over the place. It happens early in the season and Perak being so aggressive gave us problems.
"It is a relief for me and the team. We have been under pressure mentally and psychologically. We can't always play well but today there were some good combinations.
"It's just that some times we make silly mistakes, make clearances when we should play it on the ground. But I told the players that as long they give their best, I'll be satisfied."
Arostegui scored the only goal of the match in the 19th minute when he turned in a rebound after Christie Jayaseelan's shot came back off the crossbar and it needed a fingertip save from Syed Adney Syed Hussein to prevent defender Spase Dilevski from diverting the ball into his own net and preserve Forces' lead.
Forces are one of five teams on six points after three matches and are placed third in the table behind Selangor and Terengganu by virtue of having scored one goal less with goal differences identical.