Although he identified several things his side could have done better, Bathurst St Pat’s coach Shane Conroy was overwhelmingly pleased to come away from Orange Hockey Centre with four competition points.
Despite Wanderers’ record, Conroy said his side was well aware how dangerous the Orange side can be on their home field, where the turf is notoriously different to what visiting teams are used to.
Wanderers did push St Pat’s all the way, but the Bathurst side’s experience showed as it closed out a tight 3-2 victory to maintain its unbeaten status.
“The turf is quite different to what we’re used to, we’re not that familiar with it so we’re pleased to get the points,” Conroy said.
“Wanderers were strong, they’re a young side and they were quite impressive through the midfield. There’s plenty of potential there.
“We probably had enough chances to be a bit more in control of the game than we were, we needed to be more patient in front of goal, but we did enough to get the win so that’s pleasing because we probably shouldn’t have to come back to Orange now.”
Wanderers coach Mark Pengilly, while praising St Pat’s ability to close out the game, was actually quite disappointed his side went down.
“I do actually think we probably could’ve won that game,” he said.
“St Pat’s did a great job to close it out, they’re a strong and very experienced side, but we created our chances too.
“But the improvement we’ve made since the first few rounds has been massive. After the first couple of rounds, there was no way we’d have been able to match it with St Pat’s so that’s really pleasing.
“That comes from losing a lot of players and having a new, young side. It took some time but the guys are really starting to gel well together.
“Our basics have just got so much better and we have been working hard on them. In the first few games they were, honestly, quite ordinary, but our ability to control the ball and get good passes away has improved out of sight.”
Jaden Ekert opened the scoring for St Pat’s in the eighth minute, before the side’s traded goals.
Caiden Reddan scored the first of his double at the half-hour mark before Justin Mellor put the Saints back in front just after half-time.
“That was actually a pretty incredible goal,” Pengilly said.
“It was on the baseline and you wouldn’t normally shoot from where he was, but he put it in anyway.”
Reddan nailed another in the 53rd minute, before Ekert completed his brace and ultimately sealed the win for St Pat’s five minutes later.
- BATHURST ST PAT’S 3 (Jaden Ekert 2, Justin Mellor) def ORANGE WANDERERS 2 (Caiden Reddan 2)