It was another weekend of contrasting fortunes for our South East teams, with victories for our women’s and youth teams, and a mixture of heartache and misery for our men in the Southern Championships.
SEU Ladies got things underway on a cool but calm Friday evening. Looking to bounce back after successive home defeats, it was an interesting match-up against a Metro Yellow side made up of many of the girls who actually lined up for South East United in our first-ever season, back in 2015.
This new Metro team had a difficult start to life in the Women’s Southern Championship 1, but had started to find their feet in recent weeks. And, after the returning Ash Griffiths made the early breakthrough, the visitors showed gritty resistance to equalise before the break.
South East huffed and puffed in the second half but lacked the cutting edge, while the lively Metro youngsters always threatened on the break. Just as it looked like it was going to be one of those frustrating nights, Lana Goodwin – enjoying her first outing in the attack – reacted quickest to slot home the winning goal after the goalkeeper had saved the initial deflected effort.
On Saturday morning, our Under 12s, 13s and 15s were all in action at the same time. The U12s produced another quality display in their match with Lauderdale at Cambridge (scores not recorded in junior games), while the U13s maintained their imposing grip on the league leadership, thumping Glenorchy Knights 9-2 at Prince of Wales Bay.
Over at Pembroke Park, the U15s moved to the top of their own ladder with a comfortable 7-2 victory over Cygnet Sea Dragons.
The senior men faced the daunting prospect of a visit from pre-season Summer Cup champions and many people's favourites to win both Southern Championship divisions, Beachside.
The Sandy Bay outfit’s reserves, already top of Division 1, had the luxury of calling up regular senior skipper and much-decorated NPL star Shae Hickey, whilst it was a quick return to Pembroke Park for brothers Liam and Zac Pullen, who had recently transferred back to Beachside from SEU.
Once again, the South East squad was decimated by injuries and absences, and Beachside were in the mood to brutally exploit our deficiencies, inflicting a club record 14-0 loss on a side comprising seven teenagers.
The United seniors, with a number of players doubling up from the first game, knew it would be a tough ask to repeat the previous week’s much-improved performance against Nelson. After an early goal settled the visitors, one might have been forgiven for expecting another avalanche of goals to follow.
But the host’s really dug in, showing tremendous spirit to keep the scoreline respectable. In the end, it did blow out to 0-6 but, considering there was one unfortunate own goal, two very harsh penalties (including allowing the second to be retaken after the first attempt was blazed over the bar), and we finished the game with only ten men, after Pat was forced from the field with cramp, United can be proud that they restricted the visitors to three good goals.
In fact, the South East forward line of Blaise, Pat, Nick and Chris – all aged sixteen or seventeen – really started to apply some pressure on the Beachside backline late in the game, before Pat’s injury. Superficial glances at the scores really don’t do justice to how this young team is starting to progress.
With all teams now played, coach Glen Roland will be looking to see continued improvements in upcoming rematches.
The season is well and truly in full-flight now, and we thank all our players and supporters for continuing to show the kind of commitment and good sportsmanship (and no shortage of quality) which will see this club go from strength to strength in coming seasons.
Go South East!