FOR the first time in five years, Souths has managed to earn men’s Premier League Hockey competition points against Lithgow Panthers at the Lithgow Hockey Complex.
And even better for Souths was that it came in the form of an 8-2 result on Saturday.
While Panthers had scored 20 goals in their last two outings and Souths had not played in a fortnight, the two blues were switched on from the outset.
They scored four times in the opening half of the grand final rematch with Adam Campbell, Ben Ferguson, Rhiley Carr and Jono Baillie all finding the mark, while importantly they also shut out Panthers.
When Baillie made it a brace for the day four minutes into the second stanza to make it 5-0, a Panthers comeback looked even more unlikely.
However, Panthers showed why they have such an imposing record on their home turf as two goals in the space of five minutes hauled them back into the contest.
Firstly Tom Piggott then Jacob Townsend scored to make it 5-2 with 20 minutes remaining.
But Nick McEwan swung momentum back in Souths’ favour as he bagged a double and set up Ferguson.
It was the two blues’ best result against Panthers in Lithgow since a 2-all draw in August, 2013.
“I’m extremely happy with how the match went today, this was probably the best match we have played in years,” Souths coach Ray Winwood-Smith said.
“Andrew Cranston and Jonathon Cole, our inside forwards, played exceptionally well this afternoon, very good quality hockey.
“We only had two subs so we had to rotate a lot, but we put in, dug in and worked together as a team and as a result we did really well.”
In contrast, Panthers captain-coach Trent MacDonald was a frustrated man.
“It wasn’t good, we played terribly today,” he said.
"Everything just fell away from us, we had too many turn overs and threw the ball away, we just couldn’t hold onto it.
“It’s really disappointing, we came into this match positive.
“It was just our attitude, it was like some of the guys didn’t want to be there.
“It’s not good enough, we pride ourselves on good style, but you know we’ve learnt a lesson today and we can only go forward from here.”