THE Orange Wanderers have pounced on an opportunity and handed Lithgow Panthers their first loss of the 2014 men's Premier League Hockey season.
Playing in Orange on Saturday, Wanderers were too good for the previously unbeaten competition leaders and scored a 2-nil victory at the Orange Hockey Complex.
Wanderers co-coach Andrew Reddan said his side delivered a smart game.
"We got wind they (Panthers) would have some players out. We had the best side we could field, barring Mickey Dillon," Reddan explained.
"They had players out, but they weren't pushovers.
"We had plenty of opportunities. We could have beaten them 4 or 5-nil. Their keeper pulled off some great saves."
Nick Sharp opened the scoring in the ninth minute and the margin remained unchanged for the rest of the half.
It was 19 minutes into the second half before Keegan Brooke nailed his shot on goal to put the Wanderers up 2-nil for what turned out to be the winning margin.
"We came out strong and hard, which is something we haven't been doing this season," Reddan said.
"To hold them (Panthers) to blot was brilliant."
Sharp was a standout for Wanderers in the win and Brooke and Darryn Marjoram also earned best and fairest points.
The win moves Wanderers into the top four with six rounds remaining before the semi-finals.
"Three and four are the tightest spots this season and that's where we want to be," Reddan said.
He hoped the win would boost his side as they prepare for three consecutive away games against Bathurst St Pat's, Bathurst Souths and Panthers.
"They were on a bit of a high after. It was a good morale-boosting win," he said.
"We just want to try and maintain our position (on the ladder)."
ORANGE WANDERERS 2 (Nick Sharp, Keegan Brooke) def LITHGOW PANTHERS 0