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National Women's League - Pride march on as Central claim first win

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The pace-setting Canterbury United Pride have extended their lead at the top of the table while Central have finally gotten off the mark after a dramatic afternoon in the National Women’s League.

With all sides bar Capital - who are sitting out the action with a pair of byes - playing twice, the Labour weekend period could well prove season-defining for many and there was certainly plenty at stake as Central met WaiBOP in Palmerston North.

Both teams were still to post any points and were fully aware today’s clash provided their best chance yet of doing so. It looked like they would both be able to get something on the board as the clocked ticked into additional time with the score locked at nil-all but Central were not about to let a potential three points slip through their grasp.

With just seconds to go, a long pass was lofted over the top of the WaiBOP defence for Charlotte Lancaster to burst onto and she kept her composure well to fire an unstoppable strike past goalkeeper Georgia Candy.

It was a cruel blow for WaiBOP as an evenly-fought contest could have gone either way and, to make matters worse, they had suffered a similar fate a week earlier in conceded a last-gasp winner to Capital.

For Central though, the long-awaited win was just reward for the character they have shown in not letting a series of heavy defeats break their spirit and they will now tackle the rest of the season with renewed optimism. Aside from the victory and just their second goal of the campaign, the coaching staff would have been especially pleased to record a clean sheet as Central had already conceded over 30 times in their five matches.

In contrast, title-chasing Canterbury had let in only two goals while becoming the competition’s top scorers at the other end. They added another three to their tally in sweeping aside Southern, who are now in danger of losing touch with the all-important top two.

In sweltering heat in Christchurch, the hosts took the lead mid-way through the first half when Gabrielle Rennie made it to the byline and cut the ball back for Monique Barker to slot in her fifth goal of the season, claiming the outright lead in the golden boot race in the process.

The advantage was short-lived though as Britney-Lee Nicholson equalised five minutes later to make it 1-1 at the break. The Pride then pulled away from their fellow South Islanders in the last half an hour, Rennie wrapping up a memorable afternoon with two goals of her own.

Her first came when she rounded Southern goalkeeper Jordan Woodward - who would have hoped to mark her birthday with a more fitting result - and rolled the ball home to put Canterbury on course for their sixth straight win. The New Zealand U-20 international then struck again after superbly finishing off some fine interplay between herself and Cody Taylor.

The Pride are now four points clear of nearest challengers Auckland, who face another tough match against third-placed Northern on Tuesday evening.

Canterbury will have the chance to extend their lead even further on Monday in meeting Southern again while Central will be hoping to make it two on the trot against WaiBOP.

For the National Women’s League table and other information please click here

National Women’s League Match Week Six

Canterbury United Pride 3 (Monique Barker 19’, Gabrielle Rennie 66’, 81’)

Southern United 1 (Britney-Lee Nicholson 25’)

HT: 1-1

WaiBOP Football 0

Central Football 1 (Charlotte Lancaster 90+2’)

HT: 0-0

Southern United vs Canterbury United Pride

Sunnyvale Park, Dunedin (Please note this differs from the venue originally released)

Monday 22 October, 2pm

#NWL #SUvCU

Central Football vs WaiBOP Football

Massey University, Palmerston North

Monday 22 October, 1pm

#NWL #CFvWB

Northern Lights vs Auckland Football

QBE Stadium, Auckland

Tuesday 23 October, 7.15pm

#NWL #NLvAF

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