SINGAPORE - After scoring a brace in her Deloitte Women’s Premier League (WPL) debut for the Lion City Sailors last week, Danelle Tan scored twice again to help her team notch a 2-1 victory over Tiong Bahru FC on Saturday (July 23) to send them to the top of the table.
But the 17-year-old's stint with the Sailors will be short-lived as she prepares to leave Singapore on Aug 11 to attend trials with colleges in the United States before she returns to England, where she is studying at Mill Hill School.
While the team are not short on talent, Danelle is hoping to contribute as much as she can during her stint. Prior to Saturday's game against Tiong Bahru, the Sailors had convincingly won their three fixtures - 4-0 against Still Aerion, 6-0 against Hougang United and 4-1 against Albirex Niigata.
Danelle said: "I'm happy to be able to help the team and score for the team, especially in this game where it was a bit of a deadlock, especially for the first-half.
"To be able to score and get three points for the team, I'm very excited. I know I won't be playing much with the team so I'm just trying to help out as much as I can while I'm here."
On Saturday, the Sailors initially struggled to find a way through against a defensive Tiong Bahru at the Yishun Stadium.
But things changed in the second half and the Sailors finally found a breakthrough in the 63rd minute.
After receiving the ball on the edge of the box, Danelle turned away from Tiong Bahru's defenders and drilled a low shot into the bottom right corner to give the Sailors the lead.
She added a second goal 12 minutes later, putting the ball away after it was mishandled by Tiong Bahru custodian Audrey Cheong.
A stunning chip by Nur Raudhah Kamis in the 89th minute handed Tiong Bahru a lifeline, but the Sailors held firm to secure their fourth consecutive win of the season.
Sailors head coach Yeong Sheau Shyan said: "The opponents played very defensively and had a very good midfield block so it made it difficult for us to break through.
"We were a little bit impatient to play in the first-half. As usual we waited until the second half before we were calmer and that was when we started playing our game."
She added that she expects most teams to play defensively against them, which is something the team have been working on in training. "It's something that they need to get used to. We have to play a certain way to break people down. It has to be a patient kind of play because every match is going to be like this," she said.
While the Sailors have leapfrogged Tanjong Pagar United, who received a bye this week, to the top of the table - both teams have 12 points but the Sailors are ahead on goal difference - Yeong insisted that it is still anyone's game.
She said: "We're not really looking at that - we have a game in hand so the other teams are going to come up on top so all we're doing is to take it one match at a time, trying to win everything."
Despite the loss, Tiong Bahru assistant coach Kevin Teo believes that his side are still on track to accomplish their goal of finishing in the top two this season.
He said: "Today was a good performance from them. If we are able to keep this momentum and this level of play, then I think we can still meet our target."