Souths Aces come up trumps in preliminary final | Photos

THREE unanswered second half goals against St Pat’s Blue has fired Souths Aces into the Bathurst Men’s Hockey Association first grade grand final.

Aces trailed by a goal after the first half of Saturday’s preliminary final at Bob Roach Field, but lifted after the break to post a 4-2 win.

Blue goalkeeper Corey Mark made some stellar blocks to try and keep his side in the contest – including a pair of sharp stick saves – but the experience within the Aces outfit came to the fore.

It means they will join St Pat’s White in the grand final.

Aces player Chris Stafford said he was confident his side could come back, but was not surprised at the hard-fought nature of the contest.

“We’ve been down in just about every game this season. Through the year, because there are only four teams, it’s generally been really open games,” he said.

“But here, in finals, it’s so much tighter. We’re obviously always confident because we’ve got enough Premier League experience in the side to get us out of a hole and jag a goal.

“It was a good second half and actually a pretty good game all round.”

Brent Naylor and Andrew McGregor both struck in the opening half for Blue as they looked for their second win in six games against Aces this season.

But the minor premiers, who have scored more than 100 goals this season, rallied in the second half to pick up the win.

SOUTHS 4 (Mick O’Connor, Bryce Hitchcock, Chris Stafford, Jono Cole) defeated ST PAT’S BLUE 2 (Brent Naylor, Andrew McGregor)

TOP GAME: Corey Mark impressed in goals for St Pat's Blue, but Souths Aces did enough to earn a grand final berth. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

TOP GAME: Corey Mark impressed in goals for St Pat's Blue, but Souths Aces did enough to earn a grand final berth. Photo: PHIL BLATCH