The Lion City Sailors Women came away with a routine 6-0 win against Balestier Khalsa in the Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL) on Sunday (22 October).
The result at Choa Chu Kang Stadium meant Yeong Sheau Shyan’s Sailors remained top of the WPL standings with 40 points, four ahead of second-placed Albirex Niigata (36), the Sailors’ opponents next Sunday (29 Oct).
Against Balestier, the defending WPL champions got off to a lacklustre start but recovered well to dispatch their opponents comfortably. 16-year-old Madelin Lock also got on a WPL scoresheet for the first time with two goals to her name.
Sheau Shyan was delighted with a win that will provide a much needed confidence boost ahead of the Albirex clash.
“We needed this result today, we were a bit slow in the beginning but the second half was a much better performance and we’re happy with that,” the 45-year-old said.
“We saw the younger players being able to keep the ball well, especially in the middle of the park. I didn’t expect them to adapt as quickly as they’ve done, but technically and tactically, they’re as good as the older players.”
Four players promoted from the academy this season featured for the Sailors on Sunday: Tia Foong, Madelin included in the first eleven, while Cara Chang and Josephine Ang came off the bench.
Balestier enjoyed early possession, but the Sailors grew into the game, and took the lead in the 28th minute.
Miray Altun received a pass down the right flank and her cutback was diverted by Izzati Rosni into Madelin’s path. The midfielder sent a looping shot over Balestier goalkeeper Tan Eng Chiu, becoming the Sailors’ 17th different goalscorer for this WPL season.
Eight minutes later, the Sailors doubled their advantage after Izzati received the ball inside the box, took a touch and slotted it into the bottom corner for her 12th goal of the season.
The team started the second half with more control, and dominated proceedings even though they only opened the floodgates in the 71st minute.
14-year-old Cara, who had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes, curled the ball into the top corner for her fourth goal of the season, this after being played through by fellow substitute, Josephine.
Another three goals in the space of eight minutes then put the game to bed. Balestier’s Seri Nurhidayah turned the ball into her own net in the 77th minute, before Madelin netted her second of the night four minutes later.
Miray then finished off a counter-attacking move in the 85th minute for her fifth goal of the campaign to seal an emphatic Sailors’ win.
For Madelin, the goals provided an added boost, the match is only her second since returning from an injury sustained on 5 August.
“I am exhilarated, it’s amazing to score, especially because I’m more used to assisting my teammates,” she said.
“I’m thankful to my physios, for helping me get me back to full fitness, and my teammates for being patient with me throughout my rehabilitation.”
Despite the big win, Sheau Shyan was acutely aware that there is still everything to play for in the WPL, with a top of the table clash against Albirex around the corner.
“Sunday’s match will probably be the deciding match of the season, and we’re going all out to try and win,” she said.
“We know what we’ve set out to do and we want to win every match left this season.”