By Logan Smith
Despite dropping points last weekend, surprise Women’s National League contenders Southern United remain firmly in the race and will look to get back to winning ways at home to CF Waterside Karori on Saturday.
Southern drew 1-1 with Lotto NRFL Premier winners Auckland United last week, a result that keeps both clubs in the race for a Grand Final spot on November 26.
The visitors, after a tough start, have put more points on the board recently and could move into the top half with a third win on the trot.
After four wins in a row, Southern have dropped a couple of league places following their draw with Auckland United, with both sides overtaken by Eastern Suburbs and Western Springs in a race that evolves week by week.
The Southerners competed well away to Auckland United, scoring early through Bianca Park and dominating the early stages of the game before Auckland United came back into the match and got a deserved equaliser in the second half.
It has left them with a record of one win, one draw and one loss against the three Auckland-based powerhouses of Eastern Suburbs, Auckland United and Western Springs, a record that other sides have been unable to match.
One of those sides is CF Waterside Karori, who lost 3-1 to Auckland United and 3-0 to Eastern Suburbs in consecutive weeks, leaving them with just four points after four rounds.
Since then, however, the Wharfies have put up comfortable victories over strugglers Central Football and Ellerslie, taking them to sixth position. Southern away will be a greater challenge than those two fixtures, hence Waterside Karori understandably play as underdogs.
Southern’s last home match against a bottom-half side was no walk in the park, though.
Canterbury United Pride scored early and led at half-time, before Southern turned it around with goals to Abby Rankin and Freya Partridge-Moore to win 2-1.
Nevertheless, the game illustrated Southern are not out of reach of competitive midtable outfits such as the Pride and Karori, and they will be expecting another close game this weekend.
Waterside Karori found their scoring boots against Central Football and Ellerslie, bagging three goals in each game, with sharpshooter Kaley Ward netting two in each.
Renee Bacon, formerly of Southern United, also scored against Ellerslie, and will be one to watch should she make the trip to Dunedin.
It’s an important game for both sides, where victory can set Southern up to chase down their rivals in easier fixtures against Ellerslie and Central Football.
Karori likely need to win every game to have a chance at making the Grand Final, but either a win or a draw could see them overtake local rivals CF Wellington United, who host leaders Eastern Suburbs elsewhere.
Lauren Paterson, Hayley Julian, Amy Simmers
Hannah Mackay-Wright, Toni Power, Samantha Woolley, Jemma Wilson, Marissa Porteous, Tahlia Roome, Freya Partridge-Moore, Saffron Hare
Rose Morton, Maddy McCormick, Kendrah Smith, Abby Rankin, Katie Mawdesley, Jemma McCormick, Shania McIntosh
Jemma Wilson, Margarida Dias, Amy Hislop, Georgia Kennedy, Zara Pratley, Bee Park, Raegan Potter
CF Waterside Karori
Ariana Gray, Kya Stewart, Alisha Perry, Katia Brown, Annie Foote
Devyn Crawford, Maggie Blackburn, Mei Burden, Daphne Ranta, Jemma Hall, Emily Watt, Jess Shilton, Saskia Vosper
Margot Ramsey, Sarah Morton, Kennedy Bryant, Olivia Gibbs, Hayley Hedges-Flicking, Jenna Barry, Katie Lewis, Grace McRobie, Tory Schiltgen
Renee Bacon, Kaley Ward, Nikki Furukawa, Jade Morrissey, Emma Kruszona, Skye Solomon, Nicola Ross
Game to be played on Saturday November 4, 2023
Southern United v CF Waterside Karori
Logan Park, Dunedin, 12.30pm
Logan Smith is a passionate football fan and volunteer, based in Dunedin, covering the Southern League.