The Parkes United men's Premier League hockey side have pushed competition front runners Bathurst St Pats, but have fallen short in their quest for their first win of the season.
The side narrowly went down 5-3 on Saturday afternoon in Parkes.
After taking a 3-2 lead into the break, Parkes fell away from their game plan in the second-half to concede 3 goals to St Pats.
United utilised their pace and skill up front to capitalise on the counter attack but the experience of the St Pats side allowed them to remain in the contest as they managed to reply to all of United's goals with goals of their own.
Returning midfielder Hamish Orr was first to score early in the first half before Jaden Ekert levelled the scores with a penalty corner.
A Koby Johnstone overhead soon after allowed Jack Elliott to commit the goal keeper and slip a pass to the unmarked Jayden Pusterla.
But Pats again levelled the scores through Brent Naylor before Elliott put the home side in front, just prior to the main break with a drag flick off a penalty corner, making its way in to the top right corner.
As it has been for most of the United season, the second half started with the side starting slow and not helping themselves with turning the ball over as they come out of defence and through the midfield.
St Pats capitalised as Ekert first picked off a pass before launching a rocket from the top of the circle into the top corner, before he completed a hat trick with a diving tomahawk to have St Pats out to 4-3.
Charlie Schofield iced the game on the counter attack after United managed to sustain some pressure on the Pats’ defence but were unable to break through for a goal.
"Obviously it is a bit disappointing to put a second half effort like that in after we had managed to control the first half,” skipper Dan Wilson said.
“But against the top sides you can’t afford to have those periods where you switch off and we didn't control the ball for that 10-15 minutes after halftime, and the turnovers led to pressure on our defence and they managed to put three goals on us.
“They made some small changes at the break with their centre halves sitting deeper which cut off those overhead passes, but we just needed to maintain some possession and shift their defence around with our passing.
“But we couldn't string more than three or four passes together due to their pressure.
“But with our young side we will learn from that and try and take some of those learnings into this week’s game against Orange where if we play to our potential, we can pick up a win.”
ST PAT’S 5 (Jaden Ekert 3, Charlie Schofield, Brent Naylor) def PARKES UNITED 3 (Hamish Orr, Jack Elliott, Jayden Pusterla).