Fylde coast hockey end-of-year round-up: Fylde Men go into break on a high as Lytham Ladies lose top spot

Blackpool stalwart Ian Swaine scored his first Blackpool goal
Blackpool stalwart Ian Swaine scored his first Blackpool goal

Fylde Men went into the festive break on a high after a 4-1 home win over Didsbury Northern 3 kept them second in North West 2, just a point behind Timperley 2.

READ MORE: Last week's hockey review
Jack Cropper opened the scoring after just five minutes with a drag-flick from Fylde’s first penalty corner.

Chris Toward’s two goals from open play took his league tally for the season to 16.

Utility man Ian Swaine scored his first in Fylde colours, finishing off a fine team move by looping the ball high into the goal.

It looked like Fylde would go on to put a big number in their goals-for column but to Didsbury’s credit they didn’t give up and pulled a goal back before half-time.

The second half was an anticlimax, with no further goals, though Toward went close to a hat-trick but shot wide. The league recommences on January 19.

Lytham St Annes Ladies lost top spot in division two north west to Fylde 2 following a 1-0 defeat in their top-of-the-table clash with Garstang.

Previously beaten only once this season, Lytham knew from the start they were in for a battle.

The game was fast-paced and the heavens opened, preventing either side settling into a rhythm.

Lytham played some dangerous balls into the D but couldn’t convert any, while tracking back to cover Garstang’s quick breaks. The home side made their pressure pay with a goal before half-time.

Lytham pressed high in the second half and Amie Knighton made some charging runs from right-back, though LSA could not force an equaliser.

The Lytham team ended the game disappointed at being beaten by a good side and at slipping to third in the table but already looking forward to the home rematch next year.

Fylde Ladies 2 replaced LSA at the top after a resounding 7-0 win over Preston’s first team at Mill Farm.

A thoroughly professional performance saw Preston pinned in their half for much of the game as Fylde signed off for 2018 with goals by Becky Ingham (2), Libby Aitcheson, Rachel McCrea, Freya Sharman, Sally Livesey and Jayne Wilson.

Preston worked hard but Fylde’s emphasis on passing rather than running with the ball gave them the edge.

Fylde end the year a point ahead of Garstang and with Lytham a further point back in third.

Fylde 3 were disappointed to bow out of the Caley Trophy at the quarter-final stage, losing 4-2 away to a Lancaster and Morecambe senior side they had beaten in the league a fortnight earlier.

Fylde 4 were also in knockout action and advance to the Lishman Cup semi-finals with a 3-1 win away to a strengthened Preston 2.

Preston started on the front foot and took the lead only for goals by Beth Wolstenholme and Lexie Fraser, superbly set up Sophie Bridges, to turn the tie around by half-time.

Fylde had plenty of second-half chances before Izzy Harkins sealed victory right at the end.

Natasha Hartley-Smith’s reading of the play, interceptions and fantastic passes saw her named player of the match.

Lytham St Annes Ladeis 2 lost their cup-tie against Garstang 2 on penalty strokes after a goalless draw.

Lytham St Annes Men faced several of their former players as they lost their last game of the year 3-0 at home to second-placed Preston 2 in North two west.

The hosts were without substitutes and their tactics were to keep it tight at the back.

Most of Preston’s pressure was soaked up in the first half but Lytham trailed at half-time to a shot on the rebound following a short corner.

The hosts conceded twice more in the second half as they tired, though they had chances of their own as Evans made penetrative runs down the right and Smith shot inches wide.

Lytham 2 ended 2018 with a 1-0 defeat in Ulverston, where hosts South Lakes 2 overtook them in North West five north north.

Frustrated by the umpiring, Lytham had two players shown cards, though an inability to confirm any of their short corners cost them.

Fylde Men’s 2 suffered a nightmare before Christmas, losing 10-0 at Bolton in division three north

The only positive for Fylde was another strong performance by Aaron Sadler.

Fylde 3 went seeking revenge over a high-flying Formby 4 in division five north north but again lost narrowly to the second-placed side.

Fylde started very strongly, but Formby defended well and opened the scoring only for Pip Munden to equalise.

Formby pushed their hosts back and took a half-time lead with a penalty flick.

Mick Hayes and Rob Pasquilano were very influential for Fylde and it was the latter who set up Holmes for the equaliser.

However, a poor clearance enabled Formby to make the final score 3-2, despite strong defence from Matt Hook, Matt Atherton, Harry Gordon and debutant Chris Nicholls. Jake Merritt was man of the match.

Fylde 4 have much reason for seasonal cheer after a 7-0 win at Leyland and Chorley 3 in six north.

All the goals came in a frenzied first half, four of them shared by the Pickles brothers Will and Chris.

Phil Hope, Eamon Hasoon and Dan Howe also scored for dominant Fylde ahead of a subdued second half for the fourth-placed club.