For the first time in 23 games, Bathurst City was kept scoreless on Saturday afternoon, Panthers claiming a win in the women’s major semi-final to make sure both Premier League Hockey grand finals will be in Lithgow.
“It does hurt, I can’t even believe this has happened, I didn’t see it happening. I had all faith we were going to come away with the win today,” Bathurst City coach Lisa Quinn said of the 2-0 defeat.
“We had a lot of play and a lot of attack and I felt like we had a lot of possession of the ball, we just didn’t put the goals away and that cost us.
“It was a lot of midfield play, I think it was three corners to them and one corner to us which just shows it was played in the midfield. The game was very stretched out, more than usual for some reason.
“Every girl gave their best today, everyone, but it just wasn’t enough. We need to go back to the drawing board, we have to pick ourselves up from this now.”
Minor premier Bathurst City began the game well as it dominated the attacking chances in the first 10 minutes.
Jess Hotham came close when she was released by an Andrea Seymour overhead, Quinn copped a stick to the head when denied by diving Panthers goalkeeper Bailey Stanies and a number of crosses flashed across the face of the circle.
But Panthers held on and when drawing its first penalty corner of the match, found reward with a powerful Amanda Saladine strike.
Just before half-time City had another chance from a penalty corner as Quinn deflected Seymour’s initial strike, but the ball hit the side of the goal.
Having led 1-0 at half-time, Panthers pushed further ahead midway through the second stanza as a penalty corner play again paid dividends.
The initial shot was blocked, but the ball found its way to Amy Dewar on the back post and she slotted home.
City had its chances as time ticked down – at one point Hotham chipped the ball over Staines only to have a defender clear it on the line.
“The first half was a bit more competitive and Bathurst City came out really hard. In the second half we knew we just had to step it up a bit and play our game,” Panthers’ Katie Dowler said.
“We had to control it in the midfield, we had a few players out so we had to try something a bit different. Bailey was great for us, she’s a great keeper and is going to be something special.”