Goals aplenty in first half as Wanderers win

Matt Johnson scored one of three goals for Orange Wanderers in their men’s Premier League Hockey win over Lithgow Zig Zag. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0516menhockey8HOCKEY
Nanjing Night Net

A THRILLING opening half has helped Orange Wanderers to a 3-2 men’s Premier League Hockey (PLH) victory.

Playing in the Parkes Gala Day on Saturday, the Wanderers were up 3-2 over Lithgow Zig Zag at half-time and the score remained unchanged through to the final buzzer.

“We had a win. It probably wasn’t one of our most convincing second halves, but we won,” Wanderers coach Pete Shea explained.

It was an action-packed first half with Zig Zag’s Dan Sheppard scoring in the game’s opening 90 seconds.

This didn’t deter the Orange side as they were able to put on three goals in response.

Adam Skelton was first to score for Wanderers before Connor Morris and Matt Johnson added to the tally with their field goals.

The Orange side had a further three scoring opportunities in the first half but couldn’t convert.

“We were 3-1 up and we had an explosion in our defensive circle and it cost us a short corner and they (Zig Zag) put it in,” Shea said.

Evan McGrath was able to convert the short corner chance for Zig Zag to reduce the margin to one in the final 90 seconds on the first half.

Shea said his side delivered an up-and-down performance in the second half.

“We lost our structure in attack and the mid-field,” he said.

“Our defence guys worked pretty hard. We conceded a few short corners but didn’t let them score.”

Shea praised Matt Johnson and goalkeeper Troy Kelly, who played his first PLH game with the Wanderers.

The win moves Wanderers onto third on the men’s PLH ladder, two points ahead of fourth-placed Bathurst Souths.

The Wanderers’ victory did come at a significant cost, with English import Todd Freedman breaking his collarbone during the match.

He is expected to be out for at least six weeks.

“Todd Freedman played his best game for us before he came off injured,” Shea said.

In other men’s PLH matches on Saturday, Bathurst St Pat’s stayed on top of the ladder with a 4-1 win over Parkes United, Lithgow Panthers downed Bathurst Souths 5-1, and Dubbo accounted for Bathurst City 3-1.

ORANGE WANDERERS 3 (Connor Morris, Adam Skelton, Matt Johnson) def LITHGOW ZIG ZAG 2 (Dan Sheppard, Evan McGrath).

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