IT was one way traffic at the Cooke Hockey Complex on Saturday as Bathurst St Pat’s built on a strong first half to see off the Orange Wanderers 8-3 in their men’s Premier League Hockey fixture.
St Pat’s did the damage through intercepts and precision passing to get themselves to a 5-1 lead at half-time before a rejuvenated Wanderers outfit made it a better contest in the final 35 minutes.
Matt Naylor showed his value in his return for the Saints as he scored four goals against the Orange outfit.
St Pat’s coach Jaden Ekert,who snagged a brace) said the result was badly needed after last week’s draw against Lithgow Zig Zag.
“We had a point to prove after last week. We set a benchmark for ourselves today and we lived up to it,” he said.
“It was just ball control. When teams are behind on the scoreboard they really love to chase. We stayed composed, kept the ball and just kept scoring goals.”
St Pat’s made the most of their early possession when, eight minutes in, Naylor’s drag flick from a penalty corner found its way into the top right of the Wanderers’ goal.
In total the Saints earned seven penalty corners in the first half and off another variation at the set piece, Ekert blasted a low shot between defenders to make it 2-0 after 13 minutes.
With 10 left in the half James Martin punished a Wanderers defensive lapse to make it 3-0 before another error in front of goal gifted Naylor his second. Brodie Cooke wasnext to get on the board for St Pat’s.
The only way Wanderers found a goal in the first half was through a sliding St Pat’s defender deflecting the ball into his own net from a Rowan Baker cross.
A minute into the second half Naylor had his hat-trick via another penalty corner.
The former Australian representative scored his fourth at the 45 minute mark to extend the Saints’ lead to six.
In easily their best attacking play of the game, Wanderers put together a string of one-two passes to give Nick Sharp a goal against the run of play.
With both sides tiring, it was an Ekert reverse stick effort 20 minutes from full-time to make it 8-2.
Sharp found a late consolation seven minutes from the final whistle.
Wanderers coach Beth Shea said she saw positives in the game.
“I’m the perennial optimist. They can see the things they do wrong. I wish they’d see the bits they do right,” Shea said.
“Their game just lacks a bit of fluidity at the moment. So, in that way, they were a bit patchy.
“Adam Skelton and Hayden Dillon are in the middle of the field against some really good players and they’re stepping up.”
BATHURST ST PAT’S 8 (Matt Naylor 4, Jaden Ekert 2, Brodie Cooke, James Martin) def ORANGE WANDERERS 3 (Nick Sharp 2, Rowan Baker)