Leaders puile misery on for Preston HC

In action: Preston's Adam Wilson
In action: Preston's Adam Wilson
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Bottom club Preston men’s 1sts ran out of steam against National League (North) leaders Bowdon, going down 3-0 at Westview Leisure Centre.

For the entire first half, Preston had pinned Bowdon down for the full 35 minutes.

The Bowdon keeper pulled off three top-notch saves in the first 15 minutes, deflecting goal-bound strikes from Owen Fletcher, Adam Wilson and Joe Kulbacki.

There was controversy when Preston’s Tom Galloway was brought down on the penalty-flick spot just as he was about to turn the ball into an empty goal.

But the umpires ruled that a fair tackle had been made and no penalty was awarded.

Preston were unable to keep up the intensity in the second half and Bowdon showed why they are currently league leaders and destined to return to hockey’s Premiership at the end of this season by clinically finishing each of the three chances they created in the second half.

Simon Egerton, Bowdon’s experienced centre-forward, was a real menace to the re-structured Preston defence which missed captain Richard Sullivan, who is injured and unlikely to be fit for a month.

Preston’s Jonny Platt put in his best performance at centre-back for several seasons but was unable to stem the flow of Bowdon attacks in the second half.

Other Results – Preston 2nds – drew 4-4 at Stockton 1sts (Navin, Heywood, Bowman, Watson); 3rd XI – drew 0-0 at home to Lytham St Annes 2nds ; 4th XI – lost 4-3 at Lytham St Annes 3rds; 5th XI – won 3-1 at home to Kirkby Lonsdale 1sts; 6th XI – lost 5-2 at home to Didsbury Northern 7ths (Griffiths, Weir).

Relegation-haunted Garstang Ladies 1sts faced their old foes Clitheroe at home, and suffered a 2-0 defeat.

Things were looking good for Garstang when they penetrated Clitheroe’s area for much of the first quarter.

Unfortunately for Garstang, seven penalty corners came and went with nothing to show for them. Against the run of play, Clitheroe found themselves outside Garstang’s danger area, with a free-hit awarded by the umpire.

But play carried on and the ball found its way into Garstang’s net and the umpire allowed the goal to stand, leaving the home players incensed. After a re-group, Garstang continued to put pressure on Clitheroe’s defence.

But their lack of composure in front of goal came back to bite them and 16 penalty corner chances went unconverted.

Clitheroe then converted a set-piece in the dying minutes to complete Garstang’s misery.

Meanwhile, Garstang ladies 2nds were 3-1 winners at Lancaster Nomad.

Liz Sudell put Garstang in front, only for the Nomads to level within three minutes.

Following a penalty corner, Jess Reid restored the visitors’ advantage.

The second half started with a Garstang attack and Nomads storming back to win a penalty corner. But Garstang settled it when Nicky Charter fed Helen Mather in front of goal and she made it 3 – 1.