LEADERS Blackpool Men were held 3-3 at Southport in a top v bottom encounter which could damage their Lancashire division four title hopes.
After the hosts’ shock opener, Blackpool fought back and eventually equalised from a short corner as Dan Woodman fed Dave Morgan.
After half-time, Southport regained the lead before Blackpool camped in their hosts’ half.
It looked like it wasn’t going to be Blackpool’s day when a penalty claim was turned down after a shot struck a defender’s arm on the line.
However, the pressure finally told when Steve Whitley finished a good move in which Woodman and James Slater combined.
Blackpool took the lead a minute later, when Mike Thom fired home after the initial shot was saved.
The drama was far from over as Southport missed a controversial penalty before equalising, then Blackpool were denied the chance of a winner when Kieran Harris’ drag flick was ruled dangerous.
Blackpool now only lead the division on goal difference and title rivals Lymm have a game in hand.
Blackpool Seconds, meanwhile, did their division eight promotion prospects no harm with a 4-0 win over Mossely Hill Thirds.
Mossley defended well until David Wright scored the only goal of the first half after combining with Martin Hayes.
Some fine passing moves then resulted in a hat-trick for Wright before Hayes completed the scoring in style.
Andy Mortimer and Rob Pasqualino impressed in midfield for the second-placed victors.
Blackpool Thirds at least denied Preston Sixths a double over them but had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Preston opened the scoring despite starting the match without a goalkeeper, who arrived late.
Josh Payne, Mat Bancroft and ex-Preston player Craig Nuttall defended well for Blackpool but it took some good saves by Dave Belshaw to keep the half-time scoreline at 1-0.
Adam George and Alex Rowe led the way as Blackpool applied the pressure, which paid off with a goal by Chris Pickles.
Belshaw denied the captain of Preston, whose keeper also made two top stops as it remained 1-1.
n SECOND-PLACED Lytham Ladies were anxious for victory over Lancashire Central League title rivals Morecambe but had to settle for a point after letting a two-goal lead slip.
Lytham’s strong start was soon rewarded when Georgina Read scored with a reverse stick shot.
They then had to defend well before Natasha Singleton’s break led to the second, finished by Gemma Trickett from Read’s cross.
Morecambe pulled one back after half-time and Gemma Holderness came within inches of getting a third for Lytham.
The end-to-end action saw Morecambe pull level with three minutes remaining to maintain their title challenge with games in hand.
Lytham Thirds drew 2-2 as well, having also conceded a late equaliser at Pendle Forest.
Sweeper Rebecca Evans was outstanding for Lytham, who led twice only to be pegged back.
Grace Reddy scored both only for Pendle to make it 1-1 at half-time and then equalise again with two minutes left.
Abi Eagles also worked hard in midfield, while Fran Beeby pressurised the Pendle defence.
Lytham Men remain in the relegation zone despite two big wins over the weekend, 7-1 against Sheffield University Bankers and 6-0 against Chapeltown.
The Second team edged a hard-fought 3-2 victory over bottom club Cheshire, while the Thirds shared the spoils 2-2 with Bolton.
Bolton scored first but Matt Harwood got on the end of Martin Currie’s precision pass to make it 1-1 at half-time.
Lytham took the lead from Richard Isherwood’s short corner but Bolton were soon level and both sides had chances to win it.
An injury-hit Lytham Fourths gave a spirited performance away to leaders Kendal Firsts.
Playing with ten men for most of the match, Lytham were four down after 25 minutes but then defended valiantly to deny Kendal any further goals.
Aaron Gee and Mark Green did well in a defence ably marshalled by Doug Green, while Josh Landsmann impressed in attack.
n Becky Worthington’s hat-trick helped Blackpool Ladies to a 5-2 win over Preston Thirds, with all the goals in the second half.
blackpool had the better of a tentative first half, in which Caroline Marshall and Kandy Chamberlain controlled the midfield.
Worthington opened the scoring and Selina Boyes soon doubled the lead.
Becky made it three before Preston pulled one back. Abi Wensley restored the three-goal cushion only for Preston to add a second before Worthington’s third followed delightful skill from Christy Martin.
Keeper Hannah Bower was in top form in Blackpool Thirds’ 2-1 win over Southport Seconds.
Taegan O’Hara netted the only goal of the first half following a scramble.
Southport pushed forward after the break and equalised only for Danni Wiggans to score the winner after exchanging passes with Brittany Wiseman.