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Southern teams made contrasting starts at the under-21 nationals in North Harbour yesterday.
The men defeated Midland 1-0, while the women slumped to a 6-1 loss to a powerful Canterbury side.
Nicole Strawbridge scored Southern's only goal in the 38th minute to cut the margin to 4-1, but Canterbury added a further two goals in an impressive display.
While that was a disappointing result for the region, the men will be buoyed by their first-up effort.
The winner came midway through the third quarter. Will Henry slotted a penalty corner with a superbly executed drag flick into the bottom-right corner.
It was precisely placed and left the goalie no chance.
Midlands almost scored a late equaliser from a penalty corner. Reuben Andrews sent the ball hurtling towards the net but Hamish van Dyk made a brilliant save.
It was not his first of the game either. He had a tremendous match.
Midlands started the better of the two teams but the momentum changed after the quarter break. Southern was able to mount pressure and kept the heat on in the third quarter.
Kailin Dayal had a strong match. His work rate in the middle of the field was quite exceptional.
He also dropped back often to assist in defence.
Defenders Jordan Ward and Callum Dempster helped defuse Midland's assaults, and captain Maxwell Rasmussen was also instrumental.
Southern Men will play North Harbour today. Harbour beat Capital 3-1 in its opening match, while Auckland had a 2-1 win against Central.
In the women's tournament, Capital downed Auckland 5-2 and North Harbour edged Midlands 3-2.
The Southern Women have a bye today.