Performance wise, it was far from pretty.
But the four points Orange Ex-Services banked after a 1-0 win over Parkes on Saturday well and truly glosses over any sort of unattractive hockey, particularly when it keeps the blue and golds’ 2017 campaign alive.
The hosts battled an in-form United in round 11 of the women’s Premier League Hockey season at the Orange Hockey Complex, Lilly Baker’s 65th minute conversion of a well-crafted short corner chance proving the difference.
But for virtually the entire contest, the story looked like it was unfolding in favour of the visitors.
A scoreless first half belonged to Parkes, the visitors on top in the territory stakes as an undermanned Ex-Services battled to keep pace with the likes of India Draper, Ash Ward and Jacqui Simpson.
The second period, too, was there for Parkes to strike a killer blow.
And they got no better chance than in the 47th minute.
HT | Servies and Parkes 0-all. Parkes throwing everything at the hosts. Hard to tell which side is going to crack first #PLH17— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) July 15, 2017
Awarded a short corner, Parkes constructed its best attacking play only for India Draper’s shot to the bottom right corner of the Servies goal to be blocked by a stray foot.
The referee then issued United with a penalty stroke, one Sarah Hartin stepped up to take.
The Parkes gun steadied as she faced Services stopper Erin Horan in goal, before striking for the bottom left side corner.
The ball ricocheted off the post, much to the disbelief of Hartin.
It proved a telling let off for the hosts, one Ex-Servcies seemingly rose after, to the point Baker’s winner five minutes from time proved enough to snatch an unlikely, but crucial win.
The four points keeps Ex-Services in the hunt for fourth place on the women’s PLH ladder, with Saturday’s derby with Confederates a massive one in the race for that final spot in the post season.
47 | Sarah Hartin's penalty stroke hits the post!!!! Still 0-all between Servies and Parkes. #PLH17— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) July 15, 2017
Both Servies skipper Chloe Barrett and Parkes veteran Denise Gersbach said luck played its part in the clash.
You don’t have to be an Einstein to work out which side it favoured though
“I haven’t screamed yes so loud before,” Barrett said recalling the missed penalty stroke from Parkes.
“It was luck, so we did get lucky there. That could have been a goal there and we might have dropped our heads a bit.”
“I thought it was in,” Gersbach added.
“That’s the luck of the day, it didn’t role our way.
“We certainly created enough chances to win the match, so it’s disappointing. We’ve been finishing it in recent weeks but just couldn’t today.”
Barrett, in her last game for the club in 2017 – she’s been travelling back from Wollongong to play this winter – said for Ex-Services the equation ahead of the remaining three games of the year was simple.
“We have to keep winning from now on. Every game is important for us,” she added.