BATHURST City's bid to be part of the 2020 women's Premier League Hockey finals series got a whole lot tougher on Saturday as they suffered a 2-1 loss to Confederates at the Cooke Hockey Complex.
With four of the seven regular rounds completed, City finds itself sitting in sixth spot with just one win to its credit. While the perennial finalists are not yet out of contention, winning is now a must.
Though two of City's games are against teams sitting above them on the ladder - St Pat's and Parkes - there is still reason to hope.
There were bright moments against Confederates with some nice one touch passing, City won it's share of 50-50 balls, had six shots on target and earned four penalty corners. It is just the execution once inside the circle which needs to come.
"Those last passes just didn't come off, yet those first three passes were excellent," City coach Jill Long said.
"Overall in places I thought both teams played some beautiful hockey. We came back and scored one, but we really needed another two or three, but at the same time our shooting was very good.
"In defence I thought Choppy [Kirsten Howard] played very well and Brooke [McFadden] was strong in the mids even though she was injured.
"I'm not too worried, it's a short season and we're looking forward to next year I believe more than this year."
... there are only three games to go now. Every win helps.Feds co-coach Nic Milne
While City is now under pressure to make the finals, Confederates has risen into second on the ladder and coach Nic Milne is getting closer to seeing his side maintain their intensity for 70 minutes.
"The trouble with the girls at the moment is they play really good hockey for 15 minutes, half an hour then they switch off," Milne said.
"Last week we didn't start real well ... so the main goal this week was to start well. I think we did start well, but not as well as we probably could have.
"We knew they [City] weren't going to sleep, we knew they were going to come out hard, so I said to the girls at three-quarter-time if we hold the ball, we win the game. There were a few little panic moments on the field when we threw the ball away, but that happens.
"It's handy to come away with the four points because, and we were talking about it before the game, there are only three games to go now. Every win helps."
City had the first chance of the match as they attacked from the start and earned a penalty corner. The attempt that came from the set play was on target too, but Brooke Pilcher came up with a brilliant trap.
Five minutes into the second period and it was a similar scenario when Feds earned its first penalty corner. This time it was City captain Kelly Baker who came up with a block on the line and when Eva Reith-Snare fired in a second attempt, goalkeeper Maddy Tattersall made a top glove save.
The teams went to half-time locked at nil-all, but 75 seconds after play resumed Feds got on the board via Reith-Snare.
When Reith-Snare worked a nice penalty corner variation with Ellen Warner eight minutes later - holding up the ball and throwing it left rather than working with Heidi Townsend on the right as had been the case for their other attempts - Feds pushed out to a 2-0 lead.
City did manage a reply from their own set piece with just over three minutes of the quarter left, Baker blasting in from the top of the circle.
The hosts worked hard for an equaliser in the final quarter, but the closest they came was with four minutes left when goalkeeper Kathryn Cox saved an Emily Thompson effort.
- CONFEDERATES 2 (Ellen Warner, Eva Reith-Snare) def BATHURST CITY 1 (Kelly Baker)
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