Pride need to win home and away to boost final hopes

 Nicola Dominikovich tries to get to the ball first in the Pride's 1-3 loss to Northern at the...
Nicola Dominikovich tries to get to the ball first in the Pride's 1-3 loss to Northern at the weekend.
A double-header southern derby this weekend will be pivotal to Canterbury United Pride’s hopes of qualifying for another National Women’s League final.

The Pride had their perfect start to this year’s campaign bought to halt by Northern Lights 1-3 at English Park over the weekend. Now they will face third-placed Southern away on Saturday before hosting them again on Monday.

“I have put emphasis on this weekend being more important than dropping three points last weekend,” said Pride coach Alana Gunn.

“As a group the feeling is fine. We’re still on target for what our goal is and dropping three points wasn’t the end of the world.”

Southern are currently two points behind Canterbury, meaning the Pride have a chance to potentially open the gap on their rivals to eight.

However, Gunn knows that will be a tough task against the southerners who have improved vastly in recent years and turned heads with a 5-5 draw against Northern last month. She expects their physical and direct game to be on full display over the two games.

“They’ve been really effective with that. They put five goals past Northern, which is impressive,” she said.

The match is also expected to have a rivalry feel. The majority of the players know each other having come through South Island age group camps and tournaments together.

“It will be interesting because we have Lara [Wall] and Britney-Lee [Nicholson] who played for Southern last year. Lara has been right through their system the whole time so it will be interesting to see how she feels. I think she’s quite looking forward to it,” said Gunn.

 

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