IT was not the result that either side wanted, but Saturday’s 1-all women’s Premier League Hockey draw between Souths and Bathurst City certainly hurt one more than the other.
While the draw at Bob Roach Field sees City still in the hunt for a major semi-final with one round to play, for Souths it signalled the end of its push to crack the top four.
Souths, who trailed 1-0 at half-time, applied a host of pressure to City after the break as the players fought for survival.
In total they drew nine penalty corners for the match and Souths’ circle penetration count topped that of their rivals, but City’s defence did enough to deny the two blues a match winner.
City coach Nick Klower was delighted with the way his defenders rallied, but also paid tribute to his rivals.
“They played tremendously well. Souths were pretty direct, first to the ball,” he said.
“You could really see the 50-50s in the second half were falling in their favour. There was plenty of intensity in going for the ball from both teams, but Souths were good in securing the ball and moving forward from there.
“From the defensive side of it, in shorts [penalty corners] our girls were tremendous. Kylie [Tattersall] made a lot of saves and the girls as a whole back there, I can’t fault them, they did excellent work.
“It was really good for us moving forward and looking at finals that we defended nine short corners.”
Though Souths was the more dangerous of the two in attack in the second half, in the first it was City who created more.
From City’s first penalty corner play of the match on five minutes, Souths goalkeeper Kate Brown came up with three blocks.
Five minutes later when Kelsey Willott burst into the circle Brown again came up with a save, but City’s Bridget Ellis pounced on the deflection to give her side the lead.
It could have been 2-0 if not for Tahni Isedale’s brilliant covering block with a quarter of the match gone and while City had another chance from a penalty stroke, Kelly Baker sent her attempt wide.
Three minutes into the second half City’s 1-0 advantage was gone when Nikki Braun blasted in from close range on the right post.
That gave Souths a sniff and they lifted accordingly, but 1-all was how it stayed.
Tattersall shut down a one-on-one when a smart ball saw Sophie McCauley get in behind City’s defence, while both Baker and Anna Cartwright made important tackles to deny Souths from penalty corner set plays.
City was not without its chances in the second half – earning two penalty corners, while Baker had a one-on-one with 95 seconds left.
But like Souths, City could not find a match winner.