Morgan’s steel for rusty Blackpool

Lytham Ladies 2nds against Garstang 1st team at KEQMS.'Lytham's Sophie Crawshaw and Garstang keeper Sarah Skelton.
Lytham Ladies 2nds against Garstang 1st team at KEQMS.'Lytham's Sophie Crawshaw and Garstang keeper Sarah Skelton.
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Blackpool Men won their first match of 2012 but the return of league hockey after the festive break was seriously affected by the weekend freeze.

Blackpool struggled to overcome Liverpool Sefton 1-0 at Stanley Park, having beaten them 8-1 earlier in the season.

On a hard pitch, Blackpool could not make a first-half breakthrough in their first game for five weeks in North West division three. The half produced only one short corner and few real chances.

Blackpool scored the match-winning goal early in the second half, when James Slater crossed from the right and Nathan Woodman touched the ball into the path of Dave Morgan, who finished off. The tackling was fierce and there were several off-the-ball incidents, so it was no surprise when both teams lost a player to a blood injury.

Sefton posed some real problems, and it needed some important saves by Blackpool captain and man of the match Nick Rainbow to secure the three points.

Blackpool Seconds travelled to Bury only to find the pitch frozen.

n LANCASHIRE Central League leaders Lytham Ladies’ match at Southport was frozen off but their second team, who are also in the premier division, beat Garstang 3-1.

As Katie Warren controlled the midfield, Lytham began to build pressure and Sophia Crawshay opened the scoring with a good strike from a penalty corner.

Garstang pushed hard and equalised, but Lytham stuck to their style of play and were rewarded when Crawshay struck home her second after good work by Rachel Casey down the left.

Garstang tested the Lytham defence in the second half but it held firm, and Crawshay’s hat-trick goal sealed the victory after Katie Warren had linked up with Nina Sethi.

Eleni Cullen made some excellent saves, including a one-one one, as Lytham saw out a few nervous minutes at the end.

Lytham Men beat Chester 3-2 in the battle of North League division one’s bottom two, while the third and fourth teams also saw action, with the latter particularly busy.

LSA Thirds gave a good account of themselves away to Blackburn’s promotion-chasing senior side in division six north before going down 4-2.

Lytham started strongly only to concede three goals in five minutes. However, LSA pulled one back by half-time through Richard Isherwood after some brave play by Mike Gannon.

Dan Baxter-Baird cut the deficit to one goal in the second half before Blackburn extended their lead. Richard Sharples, Andy Pothecary, and Gavin Gettings all had fine games for LSA.

Lytham Fourths had two games over the weekend, narrowly losing both. They fell behind at Didsbury Northern Fifths in division seven north but David Gee made it 1-1 at half-time.

Didsbury regained the lead only for Gee to equalise again. However, the home side grabbed the winner with five minutes left, though Steve Poole worked hard up front for LSA.

Gee scored both LSA’s goals again the following day, when they lost 4-2 at Leyland and Chorley Seconds. Gee scored the only goal of the first half, but the hosts had scored three by the time he added his second. Aaron Gee did well at left-back.