Southern make strong start
All three of last year’s finalists have begun the new National Women’s Football League season with wins.
Third-placed Southern United were the most emphatic, thumping wooden spooners Central 6-1 in Dunedin, while runners-up Canterbury United Pride beat Capital 4-0 in Christchurch, and champions Auckland beat Waikato-Bay of Plenty 4-0 in Hamilton.
Eight Dunedin Technical players started for Southern on Saturday, less than a week after winning the Kate Sheppard Cup, the national knockout competition for winter clubs, and they picked up where they left off.
Shontelle Smith was the player of the match last week, and carried on her good form with a brace at Forrester Park, while Chelsea Whittaker, Britney-Lee Nicholson, Amy Hislop and an own goal rounded out the scoring.
Sophie Crewe had equalised for Central in the 12th minute, after Whittaker’s opener four minutes earlier, but it was one-way traffic after that, as Smith and Nicholson had Southern 4-1 up at halftime.
Defending champions Auckland scored all four of their goals in the second half at Gower Park in Hamilton on Saturday, against a WaiBop team they were always expected to beat.
The goals came from players who weren’t involved in last year’s triumph, with Jade Parris scoring twice and Sam Muirhead and Lucy Carter once each, the latter from the penalty spot.
In the lone game yesterday, the Pride easily accounted for Capital at their English Park home, with captain and Football Fern Annalie Longo scoring twice in the first half, and Gabi Rennie and Monique Barker running up the score early in the second.
Northern Lights had the bye.