Women settle for draw after dominating early

The way it started, it could have been much more.

A first-minute goal laid the perfect platform.

But it was an opening Southern United could not capitalise on.

It was left to settle for a 1-1 draw with Auckland at Logan Park Turf in its last home national women's league game of the season.

Southern dominated the early play.

That began after just 28 seconds, as Renee Bacon gave Southern a dream start.

She received the ball outside the box on the left and produced a superb strike that beat Auckland goalkeeper Nadia Olla, sneaking inside the right post.

Emily Morison nearly doubled the lead on a narrow miss 30 seconds later, before Amy Hislop had a free kick saved in the third minute.

Hislop only just missed again two minutes later and a second goal seemed inevitable.

But it was Auckland that found the net, taking its chance despite making little play.

A break down the right exposed Southern in the middle and Stephanie Skilton buried a shot after being found from a cross.

From there the game began to break down.

Chances became fewer, although Southern had a brilliant one early in the second half.

Morison played Bacon into space, before pushing it forward to Hislop, who had her shot well saved by Olla.

Not long after Skilton was denied by the left post.

Auckland began to get on top late and while the Southern defence showed steel, it struggled to clear the ball.

Despite that, it held out the attack, Mikaela Hunt in particular standing out and goal keeper Jade Middleditch making a handful of great saves.

Ruby Anderson went close to stealing a win late for Southern, but her shot went just over the crossbar.

Southern head coach Ignacio Sande admitted the side had been after three points, although he was happy with the performance.

He felt the inability to capitalise on the early dominance was costly.

"I think that was the key.

"We had a great start, scored a goal in 30 seconds and then the first 10 minutes we had chances and clear options and we missed those chances.

"Then they have quality players, they only had two shots and they scored one in the first half.

"So a bit disappointed with that, but happy with what the players did."

He was happy with the way the side held out Auckland late, although he felt it needed to push through and finish stronger.

The draw leaves Southern on 17 points in fourth, two behind Auckland.

It has one game left next week, against Capital, in Wellington.


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