‘We wanted to hit them hard early’: Horner’s haul propels fast-starting premiers past Souths | Photos

Four goals from Brandon Horner has helped Lithgow Panthers administer men’s Premier League Hockey rivals Bathurst Souths with a serious dose of their own medicine.

Back in round four the two blues walloped the defending men’s premiers 8-2 in Lithgow but, during the opening game of the 2018 PLH gala day in Orange, Panthers went about rectifying that blemish with a blazing opening 35 minutes.

Horner bagged a first-half hat-trick to sit along side goals from Taylor Dolbel, Mick Charlton and skipper Trent MacDonald to race the men in black out to a 6-1 lead – Souths’ only joy coming off the stick of Ben Ferguson – at the break.

Souths fought back gallantly in the second term, an effort aided by a 10-minute yellow card to Panthers star Nic Milne, with goals to Daniel Carter and Jono Cole, but the damage was irreversible.

MacDonald said his side made the long trek to the Orange Hockey Center with a point to prove, one they made emphatically via the 7-3 end result.

“Obviously we don’t like being beaten. We’ve got a good reputation,” MacDonald said.

“But they’re always a tough game. We just wanted to hit them hard early.”

Horner was that hurricane to hit Souths early, his stick work in front of goal sublime as Panthers rocketed out of the blocks.

“He’s played Australian 21s, NSW, plays in Sydney a lot of the time … I wouldn’t say they didn’t show him respect, but they were very loose on him early and you saw the damage he caused,’ MacDonald added.

“They sort of beat us in Lithgow quite convincingly, so we came out hard in this game and knew if we’d put a few on them we’d go alright.”

Souths gun, Carter said his side wasn’t giving up on the points despite being five goals down at the break.

A goal off his stick made it 6-2 10 minutes into the second term, and when Milne was sent packing for dissent shortly after the two blues had a golden opportunity to make a fist of a comeback.

The Bathurst boys had three genuine shots on goal in that time with a man advantage, and ultimately only canned one of them, a short corner conversion from Cole to make it 6-3.

But Horner’s fourth goal 12 minutes from time proved the final dagger.

Carter said Saturday’s shellacking was the first time in 2018 the two blues have been caught with their pants down.

“I think they made their opportunities count where we had shots on goals and did capatilise. What was it … 6-1 at half-time? That’s hard to come back from,” he said.

“We fought back a little in the second half but their quality forwards put the goals away and we were chasing our tales from then on.”

“It’s a learning curve for a lot of the boys. It’s not broken, we just need to work on a couple of things.”

  • LITHGOW PANTHERS 7 (Brandon Horner 4, Mick Charlton , Trent MacDonald, Taylor Dolbel) def BATHURST SOUTHS 3 (Jono Cole, Dan Carter, Ben Ferguson)

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