Southern Utd starts season in command

Southern United midfielder Chelsea Whittaker (left) and Central’s Florence Macintyre dispute...
Southern United midfielder Chelsea Whittaker (left) and Central’s Florence Macintyre dispute possession in a national women’s league match at Forrester Park on Saturday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
If Southern United wanted to make a statement, it has certainly done that.

The team put on a clinical display to win its national women’s football league opener 6-1 over Central at Forrester Park on Saturday.

It was a completely dominant performance, the side constantly threatening on attack and taking the ball off the visitors with ease on defence.

Indeed any talk that last year’s playoff appearance was a one-off good season will now be quietened.

Four goals within the first half-hour had the side in a commanding position.

Had it not been for the post, it could have been six by halftime.

The side controlled the game early and looked to exploit space up the right wing, where it regularly found Mikayla Gray.

She was dangerous with the ball, and several times forced the Central defence to scramble.

It was a long ball up the middle from captain Mikaela Hunt which put Chelsea Whittaker into space for the first goal.

Whittaker chipped it in to take the lead with eight minutes gone.

Central responded with its best period of the game, and after Southern initially scrambled well, Sophie Crewe equalised with a long range effort.

That was as good as it got for Central, though.

Shontelle Smith scored her first in the 20th minute, curling in a free kick from the left edge to the top left corner.

Four minutes later, Lara Wall was put into space up the left wing.

She made a dangerous run, before finding Britney-Lee Nicholson who coolly tapped in Southern’s third goal.Smith scored another to make it 4-1 in the 28th minute, another long-range set piece effort.

After Whittaker faked a free kick, Emily Morison came around and tapped it to Smith.Smith found the top left of the goal, this time from a straighter angle, although it was close to 30m out.

Wall made two more threatening runs up the left flank towards the end of the half, but was denied by the post both times.

Southern made several changes and while the second half became more scrappy, it remained in control.

Amy Hislop was one of those changes, and she took just five minutes to get on the scoresheet, finishing after a ball in from Smith.

Central was denied by the crossbar in the 63rd minute, before Tahlia Roome made it six for Southern.She finished with her left foot at a tight angle and the ball deflected in.

The performance was one which left Southern coach Ignacio Sande thrilled, and he felt the side’s preparation had been important to the result.

"It was a great performance, a great game and three points in the first game at home, can’t ask more," he said.

"To be honest, after the game that Tech played last weekend, all the team was very focused on the trainings.

"Thursday training was brilliant and I think that was one of the keys to this game."


National women’s league
The scores

Southern United     6

Shontelle Smith 20’ 28’, Chelsea Whittaker 8’, Britney-Lee Nicholson 24’, Amy Hislop 50’, Tahlia Roome 69’.

Central     1

Sophie Crewe 12’.

Halftime: 4-1 Southern.

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