Preston Hockey Club men’s 1sts started the first game of the second half of the season with a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Hallam in the Men’s Conference North league.
Goals came from in-form Adam Wilson and Dave Greenough to give the South Meadow Lane outfit all three points.
Preston set out to play against a tenacious Yorkshire opposition who, the previous week, had frustrated Durham University on their own turf and came away 1-0 winners.
However, Preston were determined not to fall into the trap of the ‘sit-back and break’ tactics, as they began bravely and took the game to the opposition.
James Sutcliffe and captain Robin Taylor swiftly moved the ball around the back.
Sinclair, Julian Lopez and Wilson made good use of the ball in the midfield and interchanged to open up the Sheffield defence from early on.
Lopez came close with a reverse-stick effort which was well saved by the Sheffield keeper.
At the other end, Preston were committed and resolute in holding the Sheffield attack at bay.
Ben Scott and Jonathan Platt played their part in eliminating any potential danger from down the flanks.
With the game heading towards the half-time break at stalemate, Sheffield won a short corner.
The resulting set-piece took a huge deflection into the air and agonisingly for Preston, made its way over the line.
It was a disappointing blow for the home side, who had controlled much of play in the first half.
At the break, head coach Peter Nicholson urged his side to be patient and wait for the opportunities to arise. Preston charged out on the front foot and piled on the pressure.
A couple of decisions did not go their way.
But in the 47th minute, Sam Sinclair earned a short corner.
Wilson flicked the ball hard into the corner to level things up.
At this point, the home side sensed blood, and pushed hard to take the lead.
Their endeavours were rewarded two minutes later when Ben Scott made a run down the right, hit the ball to Lopez, who squared the ball where Dave Greenough was on hand to push the ball between the keepers legs.
With their tails up, Preston then almost had the game finished as a contest a minute later, as Jack England stole the ball from the Sheffield defence and unleashed a powerful reverse-stick shot that was parried over by the Sheffield keeper.
With five minutes left, Sheffield removed their keeper and played with 11 outfield players in order to search for an equaliser but Preston held on.
Nicholson said: “The team are now beginning to believe in themselves.
“Their work ethic is superb and the general game play is improving week on week.
“We look forward to playing second-placed Bowdon next Sunday”
Elsewhere in the men’s division Preston men’s 2nds beat Wakefield 3-2 and the men’s 3rds beat Kendal 1sts 6-1.
Preston men’s 4ths lost 3-2 to Blackpool 2nds, the 5ths beat Blackpool 3rds 2-0 and the 6ths lost 4-2 away at Keswick men’s 3rds.