Leylandand Chorley men’s 1sts’ unbeaten league run ended with a shock 1-0 defeat to Formby men’s 3rds.
The Reds peppered the Formby goal but were unable to recover from a shaky start.
But despite the narrow loss to ninth-placed Formby Leyland are still 12 points clear at the top of the North West Hockey League Division Four North table.
The opening 10 minutes proved to be critical for Leyland as the hosts punished a series of errors and took an early lead.
Leyland allowed a hopeful ball from the back to travel the full length of the field to an unmarked attacker.
And after two missed tackles the Formby forward’s tame shot trickled between keeper Ande Wilding’s legs and into the back of the net.
Mark Collier saw an effort go narrowly wide and Simon Myers was fouled in a promising position.
This led to a flurry of penalty corners for Leyland. But for once the prolific Mark Swann was unable to beat the in-form Formby keeper.
A couple of well-timed tackles and deflections denied Nick Dunn and Andy Dunn at the back post, before a drive into the D narrowly evaded David Rimmer.
The second half was more of the same with Leyland camped in the Formby half, James Gallacher and Terry Fredericks expertly breaking up any potential counter-attack.
Gary Swann almost levelled the game from a rare penalty corner but saw his flick deflected off the line.
With 10 minutes to go, Mark Swann teed up an unmarked Rimmer in the D but his deflection flew agonisingly wide.
As time ran out, Leyland threw everything forward and were nearly caught on the counter-attack when a Formby drive into the D was deflected goalwards but Wilding made a fantastic reflex save to thwart the hosts.
L&C continued to press but were unable to find a late equaliser.
Leyland and Chorley men’s 2nds started 2015 with a 2-1 comeback victory over Southport men’s 3rds.
The Reds fought back from a goal down as Andy Townsend and a late Craig Wilson strike sealed the points.
But despite their home triumph, the Reds are still 10th in the North West Hockey League Division Five North North table.
After the first flurry of changes, Leyland and Chorley lost their shape.
Southport exploited this and the pressure eventually told as a well-struck shot from the top of the D sailed past helpless goalkeeper Rob Booth.
Leyland and Chorley responded and midfielder Phil Rimmer’s precision pass through a crowded D picked out Townsend’s run and he deflected the ball past the keeper.
The break did nothing to interrupt Leyland and Chorley’s flow but they spurned several chances.
However, with 10 minutes remaining Tom McLellan received the ball and drove to the backline.
His ball across the face of the goal was poked past the wrong-footed goalkeeper by the awaiting Wilson.
Leyland’s impressive defence snuffed out some late Southport scares and the Reds held on to start the year on a high.