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Parkes Cobras slide out of Western Premier League finals spot in loss to Orana Spurs

Orana Spurs coach Ben Manson isn't one to get carried away but he can't help but feel a little excited about his side's prospects this season after moving within two points of top spot on Saturday.

A rampant opening half hour set the tone at Hans Claven Oval as Spurs struck four early goals on the way to downing Parkes 5-3 in the weekend's Western Premier League round nine fixture.

Justin Gibson and Jake Grady both scored doubles to underline their importance to the team while man of the match Duncan Cahill again pulled the strings in midfield to move the Dubbo side within touching distance of Orana Waratahs.

Spurs' win came in the first match of a double-header at Hans Claven, with Waratahs and Dubbo FC playing out a 2-all draw in the evening's top-of-the-table battle.

The results means Waratahs remains top on 20 points while the Bulls have 19 and now Spurs are just one point further back.

"It's exciting to be in the top three at the moment and be keeping our position," Manson said.

"We're six clear of fourth now, which is great, and we're going to keep pushing."

After the first 27 minutes on Saturday Spurs were up 4-0 and Grady had a double to his name.

The influential midfielder, who's been regarded as one of the very best players in Dubbo for a number of years, sat out the start of the season as he considered having a year off but in two games back in the WPL he's proven his class.

His first goal on Saturday came from a driving left-foot finish on the left-side of the box while his second came off his right on the opposite side much to the delight of Manson.

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The coach was also pleased for striker Gibson, who has impressed for his new club this season but has been determined to get his name on the scoresheet more.

Gibson's first was spectacular as it was a floating effort from way out on the left sideline and floated over the keeper's outstretched hand.

That goal came in the 12th minute and made it 2-0 after Grady's early strike.

Grady made it 3-0 on 24 minutes and then he turned provider just two minutes later when his cross was fired in by Jake Ferguson.

Parkes got on the board through Alec Bateson to complete an action-packed first half-four and that was how it remained until the break.

The match came into life again on 64 minutes when a Parkes player was sent off and just five minutes later Gisbon made it 5-1 when he was on hand to tap the ball home after an initial shot from Grady was saved.

As Spurs changed things up late on Parkes lifted and scored two flowing team goals through Brent Morgan and Blake Medlyn to round out the scoring.

Veteran Cobras defender Adam Parker said the side was left to lament yet another slow start.

"The boys were very laissez-faire in the warm-up and that really showed from the first whistle," he said after the game.

"Conceding four goals in the first 20 minutes was the result of this but the boys did show promise in the second half considering we were down to only 10 men due to a red card."

Since their inception in 2020, the Cobras have proved to be a tough, talented side that can match it with the best, but don't always do that for the entire game.

Despite that improving for most of 2021, Parker said the side were aware they just need to focus for the full 90 minutes and they could be anything.

"Yet again, we play for 90 minutes and we beat any team in the competition."

The loss means Parkes sits sixth, just outside the finals spots, heading into the back half of the season.

The Cobras will have the week off for the June long weekend before travelling to Mudgee to take on the Wolves on Saturday, June 19.

Orana Spurs 5 (Justin Gibson 2, Jake Grady 2, Jake Ferguson) defeated Parkes Cobras 3 (Brent Morgan, Blake Medlyn, Alec Bateson)

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