Gazette hockey review: Fylde Men stretch lead at top of league and a welcome win for Lytham St Annes
Fylde Men pulled four points clear at the top of West three with a resounding 5-1 win over mid-table Bowdon at Mill Farm.
They soon found their momentum as Jordan Payne received Simon Major’s pass to fire under the keeper.
Captain Major then took James Oakes’ pass and drove into the D to smash the second into the corner. Bowdon pulled one back following a slip but Fylde responded by piling on more pressure.
Simon Thomas applied the finishing touch for the third and Josh Boyne expertly flicked home a penalty corner to make it 4-1 at half-time.
Fylde used the second half to try some new formations and Nick Rainbow impressed with a series of one-on-one saves.
Payne wrongfooted the keeper to complete the scoring with his second.
Second-placed Timperley slipped up again as Fylde stretched their lead with a game in hand. Fylde face Eirias and third-placed city of Manchester in a double-header next weekend.
Fylde will face Wigan in the final of the Lancashire Trophy next month after Prescot forfeited their semi.
The Conference North season resumed after a long break for Fylde Ladies with a 1-0 win at Cannock.
Fylde had won their last two games before Christmas but needed time to settle in this tough Midlands clash.
It was only in the second half that Fylde began to threaten, captain Sophia Crawshay opening up space at the top of the circle to fire the winning goal into the bottom left corner. Fylde began to manage the game, even coping while two players down, before celebrating a win which lifted them to fifth.
Lucy Eagling was outstanding and coach Tom Little said: “The girls worked incredibly hard over the mid-season break to ensure we were in the best condition possible for the business end of the season and we have kept a third clean sheet in succession.”
Fylde Ladies’ 2 had a home double-header in West two. They halted a three-game losing run as Lucy Barrow’s goal earned a 1-1 draw with Liverpool Sefton 2, then gave a battling performance in a 2-0 defeat by leaders Longridge.
A young Fylde 3 side lost 3-0 away to their Liverpool Sefton counterparts, who took their chances in West three north.
Fylde hit a post and threatened with the pace of Izzy Harkins, Jess Cole and Emma Savidge.
After four away games, mid-table Fylde 4 returned home in Lancashire Central division one and defeated Lancaster Nomads 2 3-2.
Fylde started strongly despite strong winds and Rachel Lees scored the only goal of the first half as Izzy Slater made some amazing saves.
Player of the match Olivia Merrick doubled the lead and later added her second, though Lancaster twice cut the gap to one. Fylde held out in the final five minutes for victory.
Fylde 5 remain unbeaten since Christmas after a 2-0 win away to Leyland and Chorley 3 in division two.
Thirteen-year-old Holly Whiteside made her debut up front and scored the only goal of the first half.
Hannah Doyle sealed the win, while Dawn Perruzza was the captain’s player of the match and Dani Howarth showed confidence in goal.
Fylde Men’s 2 are up to second in North West two north after a 5-3 victory at Formby 3.
After a delayed start, Fylde began brightly and captain Simon Allen scored for the second successive game.
The hosts hit back with two goals, and despite Phil Hope’s equaliser Formby went 3-2 ahead at half-time.
Luca Sempers levelled shortly after the break following a team passing move and he soon doubled his tally with a drag-flick into the top corner.
From another short corner, an action replay gave Sempers his hat-trick. Ben Mortimer, Duke Jones and Matt Atkinson stood out for Fylde.
Fylde 3 were blown away in the first half at windy South Manchester, conceding four goals on their way to a 5-0 defeat in North West three north.
Fylde were much-improved in the second half and central midfielder Tim Woodman was man of the match.
In division four north north’s battle of the bottom two, Fylde 4 claimed derby bragging rights over Preston 6 with a 2-1 Mill Farm win.
Fylde dominated possession and Ollie Greenwood impressed in midfield, though Preston converted a penalty flick to lead at half-time despite Craig Nutter almost saving it.
Fylde remained solid and equalised midway thorough the second half, when Tim Wilson drilled home a Martin Hayes cross after a fine passing move.
Hayes rifled home the winner 10 minutes later and made a crucial chargedown at the other end as Fylde withstood late Preston pressure.
Lytham St Annes Men recorded their third win of the season in West two, defeating Didsbury Northern 2 at windy AKS.
The hosts started cautiously before youngest player Aaron Copeland showed his skills and Will Dowbiggin opened the scoring from a penalty corner.
Leading 1-0 and with the strong wind at their backs for the second half, Lytham looked to break down Didsbury’s high press.
Midway through the half, Joe Ashton lunged to connect with Ash Jennison’s cross and scored the second.
John Barraclough stayed cool at the back but Didsbury’s pressure saw them pull one back. But LSA stayed solid for victory as Will Stone pipped Adam Dixon to the man of the match awards.
Lytham St Annes Ladies drew a 10-goal thriller away to Durham University 3 in North division one.
Determined to bounce back from the previous week’s defeat, Lytham made their brightest start of the season.
Their high intensity was rewarded with the opening goal by Gabby Little from a well-executed short corner.
Lytham then won the ball back and released Georgina Read to make it 2-0.
Durham caught Lytham off-guard to pull one back from a short corner, but it was 3-1 at half-time as Little slotted her second following a series of one-twos.
The hosts came out fighting for the second half, pulling one back after an attack down the wing. Both teams had chances before Durham levelled the match at 3-3.
LSA restored their two-goal lead as Gilly Shields’ tap-in from a short corner was followed by a Durham own goal trying to stop an Emily Adams strike.
But there was still time for Durham to score twice to make it 5-5 and secure this season’s second draw between the teams.
This was an excellent display by LSA, whose swarming defence was outstanding, and Grace Webster was named player of the match for her driving runs out wide.
Lytham St Annes 2 faced back-to-back away games at Pendle Forest in the Lancashire Central premier division.
Third-placed LSA defeated the Forest 3 side 3-0 but then lost 4-1 to leaders Forest 2, leaving a five-point gap between the sides.
Lytham St Annes 3 knocked Clitheroe and Blackburn 3 off the top of division two with a 2-0 win at AKS.
LSA took full advantage of the wind in their favour in the first half as Frankie Thomas scored from top D. Rachel Gibbs was strong in defence and LSA doubled their lead before half-time, Thomas linking up well with Jess Mason to score her second.
Despite playing against the wind in the second half, LSA continued to attack and defended superbly, Anna Filipo pulling off an amazing save in a top team performance.
This was only Clitheroe’s second defeat all season and they have been replaced at the top by Southport 2, while LSA remain fifth.