After an away win the previous weekend, Preston Hockey Club men’s 1sts hoped to continue picking up points at home to Deeside but ended up going down to a 3-1 defeat.
The Cheshire team were also languishing in the bottom half of the National Conference North League, ahead of Preston only by virtue of their superior goal difference.
Having played each other in a pre-season friendly, the two teams new each other’s strengths well.
The sides cancelled each other out evenly for the first 20 minutes, with both adopting a patient approach to their build-up play, neither wishing to overcommit and overexpose.
A long-pass game helped break the deadlock, which eluded everyone but Deeside forward James Pratt, who collected the pass and finished past Preston goalkeeper Matt Potts from the narrowest of angles.
Preston saw chances of their own but suffered a set-back when forward Nick Jeffs mistimed a tackle and was sin-binned.
The sides went into half-time with Preston trailing 1-0 but with the game very much in the balance.
Opportunities for Tom Galloway and Keenan Quill, early into the second half gave the Lancashire side hope and there was some good attacking play.
But experienced campaigners Deeside held firm.
Preston’s task was made doubly difficult in the 48th minute when Deeside grabbed their second, Tom Fearnall the scorer this time.
Preston’s persistence was relentless and coach Peter Nicholson will have been pleased with the application of his players.
The home side twice saw efforts crashing against the bar, first a powerful drag-flick from Adam Wilson, the second a deflected effort by Quill both frustrating the home crowd.
The breakthrough was finally found as the game entered the final 10 minutes.
Dave Greenough slapped home a broken-down penalty corner.
But it was too little too late as, and over-stretched Preston conceded a third making it 3-1 as the final whistle went condemning them to a fifth defeat of the season.
This weekend sees the visit of Loughborough Students.