PLAYERS from both sides dived and bled, tackled hard and ran harder, but in the end it was St Pat's who emerged from Saturday's women's Premier League Hockey derby with a 3-2 win over Bathurst City.
While 10 competition points separated the pair heading into the contest - the Saints having enjoyed a better run in 2019 - it was hard to tell over 60-minutes of tense hockey at Bob Roach Field.
City struck first, fell behind, fought back to level then fell behind again in a match befitting a Bathurst derby.
Saints coach Jaden Ekert was relieved as his side managed to beat City for the second time this season. He conceded rival goalkeeper Maddy Tattersall "had a huge game", but in the end felt the desire of his players gave them the edge.
"For some reason they are a side who just turn up for us, they're always hard, they're never easy and at not one point is a game against them ever easy," he said of City.
"When you play a game like that, when two teams want it just as much as each other, you are going to get a scrappy game. It's whoever puts in that bit more effort or is a bit more determined who gets the job done."
Tattersall made the first of a bagful of quality saves three minutes in when she got a glove to a Sarah Watterson tomahawk and turned it over the crossbar.
Two minutes later City had the lead when Casey Miles managed to tuck the ball past sliding Pat's goalkeeper Lilli-Rai Campbell, the striker also setting up an ultimately unsuccessful one-on-one for team-mate Bec Bosianek on the stroke of quarter-time.
Pat's drew level in the second quarter when Kristy Ekert blasted home a penalty corner strike and were it not for Alison Wilson clearing off the line, the Saints would have struck off the set play 30 seconds later as well.
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But 96 seconds out from half-time the Saints had the lead. Good patience inside the circle from Ruby Clarke - something which was missing from the blue and whites earlier - then Millie Fulton cleaning up a deflection made it 2-1.
Early in the third quarter Tattersall made smart one-on-one block to deny Fulton a second, while down the other end her team-mates applied their own pressure.
It finally led to a Lisa Quinn equaliser in the 40th minute - diving over the top of Campbell to usher the ball into the goal.
However, from the restart the Saints drove down field via Kristy Ekert and Amy Vanderhel put her side back in front at 3-2.
That was how it stayed until the final whistle.
"We made it hard on ourselves, we put ourselves under pressure when we didn't need too. Defensively we weren't awake today, there were errors we don't usually make," Ekert said.
"Trying to rectify those I think the girls tried harder and harder - it was like quick sand - the more we tried the more mistakes we made.
"But it was still good to play like that today and win because it shows how much heart we've got.
"In the first quarter we were slow coming out - I don't know if it was the cold - and then in the second quarter we turned it on and got ourselves back in the game. Then the confidence grew."