WELL that didn’t quite go to plan.
Southland United was beaten 3-0 by Dunedin Technical in its first game in the inaugural South Island League football competition on Sunday.
The campaign opener got off to a horrible start with the Luis Paiva-coached Southland team conceding two goals in the opening 15 minutes.
It was not the outcome Paiva had hoped for, but he did feel the performance was better than the 3-0 scoreline suggested.
“We can’t complain about the result, but I not sure 3-0 reflected what happened,” Paiva said.
Dunedin Technical has bolstered its squad for the South Island League by signing four Irish players.
However, the Southland United team was largely the same team which finished in the top three of the Southern Premier League.
Paiva wasn’t hiding from the fact the South Island assignment would get even tougher with the challenge of the Christchurch teams looming.
The likes of Cashmere Technical are jam-packed with national league-quality players.
“We need to be realistic, but we want to be as good as we can. We have no pressure on us, which is good.”
Next up for Southland United was a Southern Premier League team, the Queenstown Rovers, in Queenstown on Saturday.
Queenstown lost its first-round game 5-3 to Cashmere Technical after leading 1-0 at half-time.
In other round one South Island League games at the weekend, Ferrymead Bays and Nomads United drew 1-all, while Coastal Spirit beat Nelson Suburbs 2-0.
Meanwhile, the Gore Wanderers remain the clear leaders in the Southland’s Donald Gray Cup competition after a commanding 10-0 win over Southend United on Saturday.
In the other Donald Gray Cup game on Saturday, Old Boys and Thistle drew 1-all.