Lytham St Annes Ladies and Fylde Men start hockey year in style with back-to-back wins

Lytham St Annes in action against Lindum
Lytham St Annes in action against Lindum

Lytham St Annes Ladies started the year with two victories at AKS, climbing to fourth in North Division One.

Lytham St Annes Ladies started the year with two victories at AKS, climbing to fourth in North Division One.

Following on from their friendly win over Lancaster, this double-header weekend tested LSA’s fitness and determination – and they met the challenge head on.

They pressed Saturday’s opponents Lindum hard from the first whistle, opening the scoring with a strong, lifted shot from Beth Dowbiggin; a brilliant debut goal.

Lytham continued to dominate the first half with excellent passing and solid defending and it wasn’t long before Georgia Perkins doubled the lead from a perfectly- timed penalty corner routine.

Lindum began to find gaps in the second half and forced Lytham to work hard, though the hosts were unlucky not to score again when Gabby Little’s powerful effort was disallowed because the ball skimmed her foot.

Even so, this 2-0 win was one to be proud of from a side that did not concede a single penalty corner.

Virtually the same squad went into Sunday’s match against Wilmslow full of determination as their pace and fitness soon started to show.

They began to dominate and Georgina Read opened the scoring with a thunderous strike from the top of the ‘D’.

Becca Walker slipped Gabby Little in for a brilliantly-timed goal and she soon added her second, a superb shot from the centre of the ‘D’.

Wilmslow pulled one back before half-time but LSA added two more after the break as they took the visitors’ defence apart.

Anna Tankard deflected the ball home with her back to goal before Perkins deflected home a penalty corner to complete the 5-1 win with a carbon copy of her goal from the previous day.

Tasha Webster shared the player of the match award with Tankard and Little as LSA made it six points in two days.

LSA 2 defied strong winds to beat their Longridge counterparts 5-1 in the Lancashire Central Premier Division.

Ella Martin soon opened the scoring with a fine strike from the top of the ‘D’ following a short corner.

Fran Beeby doubled the lead from another perfectly-executed short corner.

Longridge retaliated but Lytham were determined not to concede, Harley Greene even wiping out her own keeper, Hannah Shore, who bravely continued.

Good passing from another short corner resulted in the third goal from Livvy Robinson, while Jess McIntyre made it 4-0 at half-time from Lana Cherry’s cross.

Beccy Meadowcroft was forced off after a blow to the head before Martin scored her second with a perfect deflection to make it five. Longridge scored a late consolation as Shore was player of the match for third-placed LSA.

Lytham 3s scored all their goals in the second half to return from their visit to Leyland and Chorley 3s in Lancashire Central Division Two with a 3-0 win, withstanding late pressure from their hosts.

Lytham St Annes Men conceded a first-minute goal away to Alderley Edge 2 and went on to lose 3-0.

LSA paid for failing to take their chances in this West two fixture as they conceded a second before half-time and the third late on.

Fylde Men were made to work for their first victory of 2020, a 5-3 success away to Neston 2 in North West Three – which they followed up 24 hours later with a 7-0 home win over Bebington.

Jordan Payne opened the scoring at Neston with a deflected strike, and when Simon Thomas volleyed home from a penalty corner, it was 2-0 inside 10 minutes.

But Neston were much improved from the reverse fixture and bounced back quickly to level the scores.

Nick Rainbow made several saves to keep the score 2-2 before Fylde scored twice in the final five minutes of the first half. Josh Boyne fired home after smart play by Jay Currey and Payne’s second made it 4-2 at half-time.

Neston dominated the early stages of the second half and again reduced the deficit. They had opportunities to equalise as Simon Major somehow broke down a three-on-one attack.

The hosts also had a goal disallowed before James Oakes made up for earlier misses with his 11th of the campaign to seal the victory.

Fylde then dominated Sunday’s game with new coach Jack Cropper in control for the first time and handing debuts to Laurence Sidwell and Charlie Parker.

Boyne fired home the opener from a bouncing pass by Currey and captain Simon Major deflected in the second before Oakes finished off some good work by Thomas. Sam Bury made it 4-0 at half-time after Boyne’s driving run down the right.

The second half followed the same pattern as Payne scored his third of the weekend and Sidwell capped an impressive debut by scoring from a tight angle.

Thomas completed the scoring for Fylde, who still top the division by three points from Timperley 2.

Fylde 2 also maintained their promotion push in their first game of the year, a 5-1 home win over the Northern first team in NW Two North.

Early pressure saw Phil Hope score twice and goals by Chris Walker and Ben Mortimer made it 4-0 at half-time.

Northern pulled one back before Hope completed his hat-trick as Fylde moved up to third place.

Fylde 3 produced arguably their best performance of the season, losing by the only goal at home to Didsbury Northern 5, who are nine places above them in North West Three North.

Man of the match Chris Holman and Rob Thomas defended well, while Stephen Pope pulled off several saves.

Kristian Brandwood controlled midfield and Duke Jones caused problems down the right but Fylde couldn’t force an equaliser.

Fylde 4 travelled with only eight players to visit Kirkby Lonsdale 2, who loaned them two. Dan Howe was dangerous up front, while Jack Williams and Connor McClelland impressed in midfield but could not deny Kirkby a 2-0 win.

Fylde Ladies’ National League campaign is yet to resume after the break, while the seconds returned to North Two action with a 3-0 defeat away to their Alderley Edge counterparts.

Fylde 3’s double-header weekend started with a 5-3 home win over South Lakes’ firsts in West Three North.

It was 1-1 at half-time after a goal from the game’s youngest player, Fylde’s 14-year-old Natasha Hartley-Smith, whose side then took control with a flurry of goals by Megan Coar, Emma Savidge and Olivia John-Haslam. South Lakes pulled two back before Laura Girvan sealed the win.

Lancaster and Morecambe were Sunday’s visitors and they won 2-0, frustrating Fylde with their packed defence.

Fylde 4 had two draws on the road in Lancashire Central division one, sharing the spoils 2-2 at Garstang 3 and 2-2 against Clitheroe and Blackburn 2.

In division two, mid-table Fylde 5 didn’t let a downpour prevent them from defeating Garstang 4 8-0. Charlotte Fuller and Phoebe Caunce scored twice each, with Hannah Doyle, Lottie Pickup, Katie Thompson and Katherine Wholey also scoring.