Button sews up cracks for visitors

Photo: David Hurst'Leyland and Chorley Mens Hockey V Ptreston 5ths at Old Worden Lane All Weather Pitch.'Tim Button
Photo: David Hurst'Leyland and Chorley Mens Hockey V Ptreston 5ths at Old Worden Lane All Weather Pitch.'Tim Button
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Leyland and Chorley men’s 1sts travelled to Carlisle 4ths and battled back to earn a 3-3 draw.

The Division Five North North league leaders were tested by the home side, but extended their lead at the top to 12 points with a hard earned draw.

Leyland struggled to find their form in the early stages – a combination of miss directed passes, poor control and bad decisions forced the Reds on the back-foot.

But Carlisle lacked a cutting edge as defensive pair Tim Button and Iain Lindsay along with debutante Harry Bevan managed to thwart the threat.

Leyland fell behind in the 20th minute to a penalty corner strike.

But this fuelled Leyland into life, and they equalised five minutes later.

Some slick passing between Nick Dunn and Gary Swann in the middle of the pitch allowed Craig Wilson to advance in space on the right wing.

His return pass to Swann allowed him to smack a low hard ball into the D, and a Carlisle defender was forced to turn the ball into his own net under pressure from Adam Thornton at the back post.

Leyland ended the half in front after some great link-up play from Dunn, Swann and Mark Collier.

Collier’s shot was parried by the keeper and Andy Hey was on hand to turn the ball home.

But Carlisle levelled immediately at the start of the second half.

An opposition midfielder drove down the right and ran through Leyland’s defence to earn a penalty corner.

Carlisle used the same routine as the first and smacked the ball into the back of the net.

Leyland found themselves in a real battle and captain Dunn saw yellow for a foul outside the 25 and could only watch on as several snatched opportunities arose for both teams.

Carlisle took the lead in the 55th minute – a long ball down the left found an unmarked attacker on the base line and they out paced Leyland’s defence with some quick that led to an unstoppable strike into the bottom corner.

Leyland were facing their first defeat in the league this season. But the Reds rallied and immediately launched successive attacks.

But the in-form Carlisle keeper pulled out a string of excellent saves to deny Wilson, Adrian Thornton, Hey and Collier. In the 67th minute Leyland found a way through after a flurry of short corners.

And Button flicked the ball into the top right corner from the set-piece.

LCHC were inspired and Adam Thornton broke down the left, his pass found Wilson in space and he smacked a shot goal bound.

Wilson appealed for a penalty flick but the umpire judged that the defended hadn’t deliberately stopped the ball with his body and gave a hit for a lifted ball.

And Leyland maintained their unbeaten status after some late, last ditch defending.