Precious Gem’s 11

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LYTHAM Ladies remain top of the Lancashire Central premier division despite Sunday’s 3-2 defeat by Garstang, which followed a 21-0 hammering of their own second team.

Saturday’s goal-fest showed the gulf between Lytham’s top two sides, Gemma Trickett scoring 11 as the more experienced side turned on the power,

Georgina Read netted four, Charlotte Evans and Sophia Crawshay two apiece, and Gilly Harrison and Kate Gledhill bagged the others.

It was always going to be far tougher the following day, when it took superb goalkeeping by Clare Turner to keep Lytham on level terms.

Trickett gave Lytham the lead in a fierce contest but Garstang were level by half-time courtesy of a penalty flick.

The pace was just as relentless in the second half, when Turner again displayed brilliant reactions despite Garstang taking the lead.

Gemma Holderness and Amy Horrocks linked up well as Lytham drew level with Trickett’s second, but as the clock ticked down an attack down the left led to Garstang’s winner.

Lytham Ladies Thirds lost 3-0 to Chorley & Leyland Seconds despite a bright start which saw Fran Beeby and Lucy Gardener go close.

But after falling behind on 20 minutes, gaps began to appear in the Lytham defence and Chorley were two up by half-time.

Lytham’s mother and daughter team of keeper Jane and Becky Evans showed great determination to restrict Chorley to a single second-half strike, while Abby Eagles gave a determined performance from start to finish.

n Blackpool Men carried on where they left off before the winter break with an 8-3 derby win over Lytham Seconds.

Blackpool made the perfect start when Steve Whitley’s shot was steered in by James Slater at the back post.

Despite some rustiness from both teams, Blackpool doubled their lead when Kieran Harris fired in a drag flick from a short corner. Lytham made it 2-1 at half-time, scoring at the second attempt after Nick Rainbow saved the initial shot.

Blackpool stretched their lead on the counter-attack, when right-back Jack Boniface started the move with a fine run before Ian Swaine finished in style from Dave Morgan’s pass.

Morgan grabbed two himself and there were second goals for Swaine and Harris before Steve Whitley made up for missing a sitter with the final goal. Lytham never gave up and scored two consolation goals, the first from Dave Burns following a skilful dribble from halfway.

Blackpool Seconds are back in the division eight promotion race after winning 3-1 at Southport.

Chances were limited in a tight first half, in which Southport struck first from a powerful short corner.

Blackpool looked more determined after the break and Jay Currey equalised. An emphatic counterattack led to Martin Hayes giving Blackpool the lead.

They then had to defend strongly, with Phil Taylor blocking several short corners, before Chris Hocking’s goal sealed the win. Defenders Paul Atherton, Simon Allen and Ben Mortimer also stayed strong for Blackpool.

Blackpool Thirds were a little off the pace in their first game since mid-November against Liverpool Sefton.

Dave Belshaw kept Blackpool in the game with a number of fine saves as both keepers stood out, but he was unable to prevent two Sefton goals.

Young Chris Pickles continued to impress along with Martin Owers.

Lytham’s other men’s teams made a losing start to 2011 as well, but while the senior side went down 2-1 to Urmston the Thirds can take great satisfaction from their 5-2 reverse against the Kendal first team. Kendal are top of the league but Lytham led 2-1 early on thanks to a penalty corner from George Aldersley and a penalty flick by Richard Isherwood.

Lytham continued to have the upper hand for a while but Kendal’s superior fitness eventually showed. It was all square at half time and the Cumbrians pressed on for victory after the restart.

n Blackpool Ladies’ top two sides made a disappointing start to 2011, the first team losing by the only goal against Southport.

Kandy Chamberlain had a first-half goal disallowed but Blackpool struggled to break down a resilient defence. Both teams had chances but Southport made the breakthrough with ten minutes left, despite Sally Kelly, Caroline Marshall and Chamberlain having excellent games for Blackpool.

Blackpool Seconds couldn’t take their chances and lost 2-0 to their Longridge counterparts in an entertaining match at Stanley Park. Samantha Wilde was player of the match for Blackpool.

Blackpool Thirds left it until the last minute to secure a 1-1 draw away to Lancaster Fourths.

After missing several chances in the first half, Blackpool fell behind early in the second but kept on fighting until Hope Kneal-Kay and the excellent Mairead Lucas linked up well for player of the match Lynsey Shewin to finish.