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Competition favourite Canterbury Pride won 4-1 over the home side at Logan Park on Saturday, after it led 1-0 at the break.
The match was even throughout the opening 45 minutes and Southern United’s midfield gave as good as it got.
Macey Fraser and Rose Morton worked hard in the middle of the park for Southern United and did not give the Pride players any time with the ball.
Southern United was guilty somewhat of failing to link well between the midfield and the attack as Canterbury defended well, with former Southern United skipper Mikaela Hunt assured at the back for Canterbury.
It was a surprise to see Canterbury go ahead after 20 minutes. A melee in the Southern United penalty box saw the ball bounce around.
Southern United central defender Tahlia Roome put out a foot to try to keep the ball away from the goal and only managed to bang it into her own net.
It was hard to swallow for Southern United but it kept working hard and Ruby Anderson had a chance but shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Veteran playmaker Annalie Longo did not even last the first half for the Pride, which has won the national title in the past two years.
The visiting team came out flying in the second half and started to dominate possession. It eventually turned that into goals. Former Southern United defender Lara Wall got on the end of a long ball on the left and then finished assuredly.
More goals came with Britney-lee Nicholson bagging the final two goals for Canterbury. Southern United scored a consolation goal in added time when, after some pressure by substitute striker Amy Hislop, the ball was forced into the goal by Samantha Murrel.
Fraser and Morton worked hard all game while Anderson was lively up front and Hislop tried hard when she came on.
Southern United goalkeeper Blair Currie made some good saves and looked calm under pressure.