It was a tough day for Parkes in the Ladies Premier League, going down 6-2 to ladder leaders the Lithgow Panthers at home on Saturday afternoon.
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The Panthers are the clear favourites to win the competition and proved exactly why with a dominant and clinical performance against a talented young Parkes side.
Right from the opening whistle there was an ominous feeling about Lithgow, and it took the visitors just three minutes to get on the board after a break down the wing.
Two goals in the second quarter from penalty corners for the Panthers were a wonderful display of both power and finesse, though defensive lynchpin Savannah Draper was very vocal as she looked to lift her side.
"The score definitely did not reflect how close and tough the game was; we certainly created many opportunities but didn't capitalise on them unfortunately," says senior Parkes player Wendy. Rix.
That really was the tale of the day, with Parkes certainly lifting their effort and intensity in the second half.
It was striker India Draper who was the catalyst for the improved showing, with some brilliant individual efforts drawing a number of short and long corners and a rare penalty stroke.
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Unfortunately for the home side, they were just nowhere near as clinical as their opponents when it came to taking advantage of their opportunities.
In the end, Lithgow were too tall, too strong and too skilful for Parkes, and their clinical mentality did not lapse for one moment despite Parkes throwing everything at them in the second half.
Lithgow sit comfortably in first place, undefeated across their five games, conceding just four goals and banging home 16 of their own.
They will host Confederates next Saturday afternoon, and the Orange side has really mixed their form of late, with a loss, win and draw from their past three games.
The question remains; can anyone knock Lithgow off their perch?
Good luck to Confederates and Ex-Services in the final two round games; the rest of the competition will be eagerly following to see if there is any sort of blueprint that can be followed.
Parkes on the other hand, is fighting to remain in the hunt for a finals appearance, despite admitting in the preseason they really just wanted to be competitive.
"We have two round games left and we really need the wins to help us secure a spot in the top five for a chance in the semis," says Rix.
Parkes will be travelling to Bathurst to take on Bathurst City next Saturday, before returning home the following weekend to host CYMS in the final round.
Both sides sit below Parkes on the ladder, and the senior players like India and Savannah Draper, Rix and Sarah Hartin will be crucial for ensuring the young side stays focused with everything on the line.
Lithgow Panthers 6 (Amelia Leard 2, Ashley Luka, Elissa Marshall, Caitlin Burns, Clare Bosmnan) defeated Parkes 2 (Andrea Gillard, Peta Fagan).
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