Lytham St Annes Ladies’ title hopes were hit by Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by University of Liverpool in this second v third clash in North Hockey Division Two.
READ MORE: Last week's hockey round-up
Having found themselves 5-1 down at half-time last time the teams met, Lytham were determined to make a solid start.
However, their short corners were not as slick as usual and the visitors scored from a rare short corner of their own in the first half.
The second half followed the pattern of the fast, with plenty of Lytham attacks but no goals.
The hosts kept their patience at AKS, supported well and won countless short corners, but it was not to be as Uni completed the double over LSA.
The result enabled Lancaster to open up a four-point lead at the top with two games in hand, though LSA can close the gap with victory away to the leaders on Saturday.
Lytham Ladies 2 were beaten 4-3 away to their Leyland and Chorley counterparts in Lancashire Central division one.
Lytham started strongly and spent almost all of the opening 20 minutes on attack as strong tackling kept the hosts under pressure.
They opened the scoring when Ella Martin fired home from Malley Parsons’ cross. However, LSA found themselves 2-1 down at half-time, despite having the lion’s share of possession.
An unfortunate own goal stretched Leyland’s lead but LSA hit back when Heidi Pearson rounded the keeper following a strike by Minnie Rogers, who made it 3-3 with a deflection into the top corner from Parsons’ strike.
But despite their best efforts, LSA couldn’t add another and the hosts broke to seal victory in the last minute.
LSA 3 lost 4-2 at home to Southport 2 in division two. They too started well and had plenty of attacking play but trailed 3-0 at half-time.
Two Sally Stone goals then gave LSA hope, the first from a fine pass by captain Molly Turpie and the second following a strong run by Nikki Richmond.
But despite fine defending by Saba Keshan and Jess Mangnall, Southport scored a fourth to seal victory.
The hosts’ luck ran out at Ansdell Arena, where Turpie was shown green and yellow cards, and Richmond had a penalty flick disallowed.
Lytham St Annes Men took the lead through Tom Atkinson in the opening seconds at home to Deeside Ramblers 2 but were eventually beaten 3-2.
But having conceded nine to Urmston the previous week and seven when they last met Deeside, this was an improved display against the joint-leaders of North Two West. LSA conceded two soft goals at AKS but equalised with a confident penalty flick by Shawcross only for Deeside to convert a late winner despite some fine saves by Sharples and strong defending.
LSA 2 took to the AKS pitch next and defeated Leyland and Chorley 2 5-0 in North West five north north.
The hosts were comfortable in the first half and led at the break through Martin Currie’s strike.
Currie completed a hat-trick as LSA pulled clear in the second half to open up a 10-point gap between themselves and the bottom two, meaning they can go into the final three games free from relegation fears.
Rossall Ladies Hockey Club maintained their six-point lead at the top of Lancashire Central division one with a 7-0 home victory over Pendle Forest 3, the only team to take points off them all season.
Samantha Wilde opened the scoring in Fleetwood after a rare foray forward by Deb Wilson.
Jill Perkes-Wilson steered home Debbie Slater’s strike from a penalty corner and Emma Gilfoyle soon made it three with a neat touch from Tracey Housley’s pass
Slater scored her second with a penalty flick to make it 4-0 at half-time.
As stand-in keeper Elizabeth Mary Hall and Nicky Swaine kept Pendle at bay, Lucy Stefani scored the fifth.
Sam Evans got the final touch to Gemma Prestwich’s strike for the sixth and Sam Wilde rounded off the scoring with a penalty corner strike.
Blackpool Ladies strengthened their grip on third place in division two with a 1-0 win over second-bottom Leyland and Chorley 3 at Stanley Park.
Blackpool set a fast pace as player of the match Georgia Cherry, Abi Singleton and Vicky Hives ensured play was concentrated in the visitors’ half.
Laura Girvan scored the only goal, picking up a loose ball inside her own half and racing through unopposed to settle this well-contested fixture.
Garstang Ladies 2 beat Preston’s first team 5-0 to move within two points of them at the top of the Lancashire Central premier division.
Garstang soon took control, with Kathryn Watson and Hannah Crawshay putting Preston under pressure.
And it was Crawshay who opened the scoring on seven minutes, after Summer Muirhead’s shot was saved.
Crawshay then found the top corner to double the lead on 18 minutes.
Two up at half-time, Garstang added a third when Wendy Howarth’s pass was converted by Megan Coar.
Preston started to attack but their shots could not beat Elaine Higginson and Crawshay completed her hat-trick with 10 minutes left.
Garstang had further chances before Crawshay completed the scoring with her fourth.
Blackpool Men’s relegation to division two of the North West Hockey League was confirmed with a 5-2 defeat by second-bottom Wigan at Stanley Park.
Despite plenty of opportunities for the home side, it was the visitors who took their chances in a frustrating game which summed up Blackpool’s season.
Dave Morgan and James Smith scored the Blackpool goals.
Blackpool 2 picked up their first point of the season – the last of the 175 North West League clubs to do so – with Sunday’s 2-2 home draw against Leyland and Chorley in division four north.
Under beautiful clear skies, a Blackpool side boosted by the return of Rob Pasqualino in midfield had enough chances to seal victory.
The visitors opened the scoring with a reverse stick shot but Blackpool equalised when Jordan Payne, in his first match of 2018, crossed from the right for Jacob Lyons to sweep home.
In the second half, Blackpool had the better chances but the Leyland keeper made some vital saves and the visitors regained the lead.
A Leyland player was red-carded and Payne (right) made them pay by rounding the keeper to score.
A save by Toby Jeffery kept Blackpool on level terms in this end-to-end contest and ensured they ended their 17-game losing streak with their best performance of the season.
The previous day Blackpool 2 had lost 7-2 away to Didsbury Northern 5 in their final away game of the season.
Blackpool started well but found themselves 3-0 down at half-time.
Andy Mortimer had made several strong runs in midfield but was sin-binned just before the interval.
Blackpool were punished for their mistakes in the second half, but Mortimer’s return renewed their attacking purpose and he pulled one back after good work down the right by Will Pickles.
Keiffer Earnshaw was also sinbinned but there was some consolation for Blackpool as Phil Weir struck his first goal for the team.