Two goals from Dave Rimmer, and further strikes from Gary Swann and Wayne Johnson, ensured Leyland and Chorley Hockey Club men’s 1sts were on the right end of a seven-goal thriller against second-placed Southport 2nds.
Things looked bright early on, as Gary Swann scored from a well-worked penalty corner and Johnson deflected a drive into the D past the helpless keeper at the back post, to give league leaders L&C a comfortable two-goal lead.
But Southport had other ideas and came surging back as they capitalised on some poor passing and control in midfield to drive forward and pull a goal back after 20 minutes.
Leyland failed to get their composure and more uncharacteristic mistakes allowed Southport to break down the right and, with the defence out of position, the equaliser was hammered home into an empty net.
Things quickly got worse as Southport took a shock lead, as a penalty corner strike somehow eluded keeper Wilding.
Leyland regrouped and equalised on half-time, when Rimmer was in the right place at the right time to turn in Simon Myers’ drive from the top of the D.
In a tense second half, both teams struggled to create many chances, Southport the unluckiest as a shot rebounded off the inside of the post.
As the tension grew, Swann and Johnson exchanged passes to free up Myers at the top of the D, his drive attracting defenders and, despite several fouls, he was able to drive the ball into the D for Rimmer to grab his second, and what turned out to be the winner.
Southport continued to threaten but Fredericks and Andy Dunn were able to make timely interceptions.
At the final whistle Leyland were relieved, and somewhat fortunate, to get the win that stretched their lead at the top of the table to 10 points.