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Weekend Review

Stirling Sports Premiership

Stirling Sports Premiership - Southern United 1 - 3 Canterbury United

A masterclass from Canterbury midfielder Aaron Clapham in his 100th match proved the difference in the Stirling Sports Premiership southern derby match at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Sunday, with the former All White scoring all three of the visitors goals.


Clapham's goals included two penalties which bookended the match - the first coming after a foul just 90 seconds into the match, and the other with practically the final kick of the game moments after Southern had opened their account.


The midfielder's second goal was a classy finish on the half hour mark after ten passes of build-up play which helped the Dragons to a deserved 2-0 half-time lead.


In front of an enthusiastic crowd of at least 600, conceding such an early penalty was gut wrenching, and overall it was a disappointing first half for Southern. Coach Paul O'Reilly has already shown he's not afraid to change things up when he's not happy, and he made two half-time substitutions which contributed to a much improved effort after the break, with half a dozen good chances created and the side looking a lot more fluent in possession.


It took until stoppage time however for Southern to finally be rewarded, when winger Andy Mulligan pounced on a Canterbury error and slipped a perfect ball through to fellow Irishman Eric Molloy who cooly slotted the ball past Canterbury keeper Danny Knight to score his side's first goal of the Premiership season.


Mulligan earlier had a great chance to get on the scoresheet after being sent through on goal by substitute Sam Collier, only to be denied brilliantly by Knight.


Irishman Danny Ledwith looked classy throughout the match, always busy in the middle of the park and dangerous in dead ball situations. Caversham striker Collier made an impact off the bench on his National League debut, and captain Harley Rodeka looked dangerous on the ball too.


Despite some encouraging signs, O'Reilly was disappointed with his side's performance. "To be fair, I think we were beaten by a better side today. We'll be looking to make big improvements in the coming weeks".


Southern United travel to Auckland to take on Waitakere United on Sunday 6 November, and have a home game down in Invercargill a week later against the formidable Auckland City.



National Women's League

National Women's League - Southern United 0 - 8 Northern Football 

A classy Northern Football side put on a footballing masterclass in beating Southern United women 8-0 at Tahuna Park on Saturday to underline their favouritism for the National Women's League title.


Although Southern were disappointed with the comprehensive nature of the loss, you couldn't help but marvel at the skill and teamwork on display by the visitors. Northern feature a raft of international representatives, including Football Fern fullback CJ Bott who opened the scoring with a speculative long range effort, and NZ U17 striker Sam Tawharu who bagged an impressive hat-trick.


Fellow attacker Katie Rood scored the goal of the game with a spectacular first-time effort from 30 metres out that left Southern keeper Jade Middleditch with no chance.


The match was not quite the one-way traffic that the scoreline suggested, with Southern having a clutch of chances to get on the board themselves, however Southern head coach Hayley Stirling was quick to admit that her side was a clear second best.


"We knew that Northern would be classy but we are disappointed to concede eight goals and we are not going to accept that," she said. "We'll look at the footage again to get the details of what happened and how we can fix it. We want to fix it pretty quickly."


"I don't think it is going to get easier but I do think that we can be optimistic with the opponents we have coming up," said Stirling "If we can get this sort of crowd to our next couple of home games here at Tahuna [WaiBop and Auckland] that is really going to spur us on."


Southern will look to bounce back next week with an away game to Capital.