Southern opens campaign in brilliant style

Southern United player Shontelle Smith controls the ball with teammates Emily Morison (right) and...
Southern United player Shontelle Smith controls the ball with teammates Emily Morison (right) and Chelsea Whitaker in support at the turf at Logan Park yesterday. Central player Brooke Bennett looks on. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
The Southern United women's side exploded out of the blocks at Logan Park yesterday with a dominating performance.

The side won its opening game of the national women's league 6-0 over Central.

Six goals, six goal scorers, which coach Ignacio Sande sees as a huge positive, as he knows he can rely on so many players to score.

"The team were very into the game ... We played good football and it was good to see," he said.

"However, our fitness is something we will work on. In the second half we looked a little tired and our combinations were a little slow, but we will work on that."

Midfielder Shontelle Smith opened the scoring for Southern just 60 seconds into the game after a penalty was given for a hand-ball. Smith did not seem fazed by the pressure and slotted home United's first goal of the campaign.

Next in line was Smith's midfield partner Chelsea Whittaker, with a classic long-distance strike which soared in just under the crossbar to double United's lead.

Hannah Mackay-Wright, who has just returned from the national under-20 campaign at the OFC Championships, scored the third in just over 30 minutes after a quick scramble on the goal line.

Central defended well and held off repeated attacks from Southern United at the start of the second half.

Another scramble in the box allowed substitute Lena de Ronde to head the ball just over the line and make it four.

Mikayla Gray quickly followed with the fifth goal of the match, after her shot rebounded off the Central keeper.

Substitute Ruby Anderson sealed the deal in the 88th minute with a sneaky chipped shot over the keeper.

Southern United central defensive midfielder and defender Rose Morton, who played the full 90 minutes, had a solid performance and enjoyed every minute of playing.

"It was nice being in a different colour, playing against Central who are my old team, so we had to go out and smash them and we did the job, so I'm happy!"

It was Southern United's first official home match on the new Logan Park turf watched by a crowd of about 200.

United will face WaiBOP in its first away game of the season, in Cambridge next Sunday.

The game kicks off at noon.

 - Holly Percival

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