South­ern make strong start

The Southland Times - - Sport - Andrew Vo­er­man

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.

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