The hopes of Home United of achieving second place in the S.League were severely dented at Choa Chu Kang Stadium on Friday night when they fell to a 2-1 defeat against uniformed rivals Warriors FC.
All three goals came in the first half. Reigning Young Player of the Year M. Anumanthan had cancelled out Andrei Ciolacu's opener, before Suria Prakash netted the winner for the Warriors in his first game since Nov. 2015.
The defeat meant third-placed Home could fall seven points behind Tampines Rovers, if the Stags beat Garena Young Lions on Saturday night.
Suria, who is set to complete National Service in two weeks' time, seemed like he was bent on making up for lost time as he almost scored on four minutes, forcing Hassan Sunny into a save after beating two Home defenders down the left.
Warriors were largely on the front foot, with Ciolacu spurning a couple of opportunities before ending his four-match goal drought on 27 minutes.
The Croatian forward got through on goal versus Iqram Rifqi's poor back header. He saw his initial shot parried by Hassan, before burying the rebound to put his side 1-0 up.
That was the 25-year-old's first goal since scoring in a 2-2 draw away against Balestier Khalsa in mid-August.
That woke Home up from their slumber, and levelled matters in the 34th minute.
Mid-season signing Anumanthan reacted the quickest to stab home after the Warriors failed to clear their lines from a free kick.
Razif Onn's side, however, took just two minutes to reclaim the lead and go 2-1 up. Baihakki Khaizan's free kick picked out an unchallenged Suria, who nodded past Hassan from inside the area.
Suria could have added another just before half-time, but fired over from just outside the box after some good build-up play.
Home emerged for the second half with much more vigour, but were unable to beat Hyrulnizam Juma'at in the Warriors goal for a second time.
The 30-year-old parried Abdil Qaiyyim's header off substitute Christopher van Huizen's free kick on 53 minutes, before denying another substitute Amiruldin Asraf from close range in the 75th minute.
Even when he spilled Stipe Plazibat's free kick three minutes before the end, his centre-back Kento Fukuda was on hand to clear off Faris Ramli's header off the line.
The three points meant Warriors kept up their hopes of achieving fourth as they stayed three points behind Geylang International.
The Eagles picked up an emphatic 4-1 win over Brunei DPMM at Jalan Besar Stadium in Friday night's other game.
Warriors FC: Hyrulnizam Juma'at (GK), Emmeric Ong, Baihakki Khaizan, Kento Fukuda, Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Jordan Webb, Ho Wai Loon, Shahril Ishak (C), Suria Prakash, Fadhil Noh (Hafiz Nor 46'), Andrei Ciolacu (Asyidiq Sukarto 90')
Home United: Hassan Sunny (GK, C), Shamil Sharif (Amiruldin Asraf 63'), Abdil Qaiyyim (Haziq Azman 71'), Hariss Harun, Aqhari Abdullah, Iqram Rifqi, M. Anumanthan, Izzdin Shafiq (Christopher van Huizen 46'), Adam Swandi, Faris Ramli, Stipe Plazibat