Defence will be key for Pride

Britney-Lee Nicholson (L) celebrates scoring the Pride's loan goal against Auckland at the...
Britney-Lee Nicholson (L) celebrates scoring the Pride's loan goal against Auckland at the weekend with Nicola Diminikovich.
Canterbury United Pride put their perfect start to the National Women’s League on the line when they host Northern Lights in a repeat of last year’s grand final on Saturday.

Starting the campaign with four consecutive wins is good enough it itself. However, even coach Alana Gunn admits she has been blown away by her side’s defensive effort which has seen goalkeeper Una Foyle forced to make just four saves in as many matches.

“I think that goes to show how well our programme is working throughout the winter season to be really sound defensively. It also means were able to focus on other areas because we know our defensive template so well,” said Gunn.

Another impressive part of the Pride’s beginning to the season is that they have achieved their victories being without White Fern Annalie Longo since their first round win over Capital. Their most impressive yet was a 1-0 win over fellow play-off hopefuls Auckland on Sunday.

“The depth has never been stronger. To go away to Auckland at the weekend and get three points without her was massive,” said Gunn.

Undoubtedly their biggest test of the campaign yet comes at English Park this weekend against the Lights, who will be out to avenge 2-3 extra-time defeat in last year’s final.

They will also come south with a strong knowledge of where the Pride’s strength’s lay – they are coached by Shane Verma who was previously an assistant at the Pride with Gunn.

Kick-off is 1pm.

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