L&C men’s title tilt on rocks at seaside

Nick Dunn was yellow carded for protesting against a disallowed goal
Nick Dunn was yellow carded for protesting against a disallowed goal
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Title-chasing Leyland and Chorley Hockey Club men’s 1sts lost their second match of the season 3-1 to Blackpool men’s 2nds.

Leyland travelled to Stanley Park in fine form but faltered against their promotion rivals.

But the Reds are still top of the Division Five North North table with two games to go and are one point off winning the championship.

Leyland could have taken an early lead as Nick Dunn intercepted a ball from the back and quickly moved the ball to James Bunyan.

He drove to the back post and picked out Adam Thornton but the ball trickled over his stick to safety.

The visitors were unable to create any clear-cut chances and Blackpool seized the advantage.

A quick attack down the left created space for the home side to drive into the D and Leyland’s keeper Ande Wilding could only block the ball.

The rebound fell to back into the path of a forward who squared the ball for an easy tap-in.

Blackpool doubled their lead almost immediately after an uncharacteristic mistake from defensive duo Tim Button and Ian Lindsay.

A quick pass into the D saw Lindsay collide with the Blackpool attacker and the hosts were awarded a penalty flick that they easily converted.

Leyland changed formation and were rewarded with their first short corner in the 25th minute after Collier was fouled.

A flick by Button was turned in by James Gallacher but the goal was disallowed as the umpire saw an attacking infringement and Dunn received a yellow card for his protests.

Leyland upped the tempo in the second half and immediately won a short corner after some excellent link-up play between Dunn, Thornton and Craig Wilson.

And from the set-piece Gallacher turned in a left-post flick from Button to halve the deficit.

Leyland carved out an excellent chance to equalise but Mark Collier’s shot was saved by the keeper.

And minutes later Blackpool restored their two-goal advantage thanks to a huge slice of luck as a smack into the D deflected off a Leyland stick and flew past Wilding into the roof of the net.

Leyland refused to lie down and with both teams reduced to 10 men after an off-the-ball incident the Reds threw everything into attack.

In a flowing counter-attack, full-back Jon Willet found himself free in the D but his square pass just missed Andy Hey’s stick.

In the 65th minute Hey had a glorious opportunity as Leyland created a two-on-one opportunity but his flick was saved by the in-form Blackpool keeper.

Elsewhere, champions Leyland and Chorley ladies 1sts continued their quest for the perfect season by beating Pendle Forest 3rds 4-0 away.

The Reds secured the Lancashire Central Women’s Hockey Association Division Two title in February and continued their dominant form with their 15th straight win.

And Leyland are still on course for a maximum total as their 100% winning streak continued.

Raelene Strickland added to her tally with a timely deflection and captain Sarah King found the back of the net.

Strickland pounced to bag another goal before half-time and player-of-the-match King smacked the fourth goal home after a superb solo run from the edge of her own D.