THE Parkes Cobras have managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to a spectacular shot from outside the box by Mitch Hutchings, giving the side a 3-2 win over newcomers Orange CYMS in the Western Premier League (WPL).
It means the Cobras are undefeated two rounds into the season and sit atop the ladder, despite coach Meaghan Kempson being away on representative duties and several key players missing.
CYMS got off to a flyer in the first half at Harrison Park in Parkes, and Hutchings said it took awhile for the Cobras to adapt to the style of football their opponents - who are in their first year in the WPL - were playing.
"They are a well structured team, they like to keep their space and play the long ball," he said.
"They weren't trying to play through the midfield, they had their big fellas up front and that kinda opened our game up a bit, because we do like to keep pretty tight - so we had to adapt to that.
"Our defence for the first 20-25 minutes was a bit sloppy, cause we had to stretch and adapt.
"Obviously we had to mark their players because we want to be there as they are touching it to try and win the 50/50 ball," said Hutchings.
With CYMS well ahead on the scoreboard, Hutchings said the side was pretty disappointed with their efforts in the first half, and had to respond accordingly.
"We went into the sheds at half-time knowing we had played a s**t half of football, and even in the first 10 or so minutes of the second half we were a bit sloppy; but then I couldn't fault our boys," he said.
"It was a bit of a case of not knowing what they (CYMS) were going to be.
"We knew they lost 5-1 last week, but we couldn't take that on assignment, we didn't think it was going to be a walk in the park and they weren't.
"It was a sloppy game but they absolutely gave it to us," said Hutchings.
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Behind 2-1 on the scoreboard with just 10 minutes to go, the Cobras were poised to strike, and a brilliant individual effort by Hutchings earned a penalty, which star striker Brendon Mandizvidza calmly slotted home for his second of the game.
The tension was high amongst the sides - both on the sideline and the field - and with just two minutes remaining, Hutchings, a former Western Mariners representative, struck a beautifully curled ball from outside the box into the top corner to give the home side a remarkable win.
Elsewhere in the WPL, Bathurst 75s continue to prove they will be a threat after a 2-2 draw against the Spurs, while Mudgee and Barnstoneworth also played out at 2-2 draw. Panorama continued their strong start to the season with a 2-0 win over the Waratahs.
The Cobras now sit at the top of the ladder ahead of a huge trip down the Escort Way to take on Orange Waratahs on April 23, and Hutchings said it would be a huge boost for the side if they managed to come away with the win.
"That will be a huge game against Waratahs. If we can get the three points on the road, that will set us up for the season so well."
For now, the Cobras will enjoy a few hot cross buns and a week off for Easter - and then prepare for their attack on the 2022 premiership.
PARKES COBRAS 3 (Brendon Mandizvidza 2, Mitch Hutchings) defeated ORANGE CYMS 2
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