One goal against Fylde 2 was enough to secure Lytham Ladies’ eighth straight win in North Hockey League division two and close the gap on leaders Lancaster to a single point.
READ MORE: Last week's hockey round-up
The goal came early, after which Lytham continued to dominate but were wasteful with penalty corners.
Amie Knighton marshalled her defence well, with Rebecca Pearson and Emily Adams producing confident displays for second-placed Lytham, who will travel to Liverpool Sefton 2 this weekend.
Lytham St Annes Men halted a run of two defeats with 2-2 home draw against University of Liverpool.
The visitors started well at AKS, finding gaps in midfield and opening up a two-goal lead from a short corner and a penalty stroke.
LSA started to create chances and Matt Shawcross broke the line to claw one back before captain Will Stone drilled a shot between the keeper’s legs to make it all square at half-time.
The game opened up in the second half, when Lytham had the better of the chances and top scorer Shawcross failed to convert a penalty stroke.
Liverpool pressed late on as two Lytham players hobbled off and the teams shared three cards but the hosts held out.
LSA 2 gave a good account of themselves against North West five north north leaders Formby 3 at AKS, losing to the only goal.
With a lot of up and coming juniors on the pitch, LSA chased every ball in this even game, losing to a disputed goal in the first half.
Outstanding goalkeeping denied Formby further goals, while LSA couldn’t cash in on a series of shots and short corners in the second half.
LSA Under-16s fell behind against Carlisle after a slow start but soon improved for a 5-1 win.
LSA had no keeper until Maisie Rogers arrived to save the day and it remained 1-0 at half-time, though Becca Walker soon equalised after a run from halfway.
Great link-up play resulted in two goals from player of the match Hannah Beeby to put Lytham in control at 3-1.
And with Anna Tankard and Lily Ganchi thwarting the Carlisle attack, excellent skill from Minnie Rogers resulted in Walker’s second and Lytham’s fourth.
The scoring was completed when Tasha Webster made a skilful run through the defence and spun around to push the ball past the keeper.
Blackpool Ladies missed out on a place in the Lishman Cup final after a 4-1 defeat by Fylde 4 at Stanley Park.
They had beaten the same team in the league a week earlier but were second-best this time. Fylde took the lead and added a second as Blackpool chased an equaliser. Laura Girvan pulled one back before half-time after linking up with Lara Cherry.
Fylde restored their two-goal advantage with a blistering shot into the roof of the net, and although captain Beckie Vale drove Blackpool forward, the visitors had the final say with a fourth goal.
Blackpool player of match Beccy Meadowcroft and Vicky Hives were tireless in defence.
With so many players unavailable, it was hardly a surprise that Blackpool Men suffered a thumping 15-3 defeat away to Prescot in North West division one.
Blackpool found themselves five down in 15 minutes but battled hard and started to string passes together. However, they had no answer to sublime finishing from Prescot, who went into the break with an eight-goal advantage.
Despite conceding again after the restart, Blackpool had the better of the next 15 minutes as Rob Dingle and Dan Howe scored consolations in the rain, the latter with a maiden first-team goal.
Prescot put their shaky spell behind them with a barrage of goals in the last 10 minutes, though Blackpool had the final say with a penalty flick by captain Ian Swaine.
Elaine Higginson took centre stage as Garstang Ladies Hockey Club’s second team reached the Caley Cup final following victory against Preston’s first team.
She made some great saves as Garstang claimed a 3-2 victory on penalties after the game ended goalless.
Garstang were without key defenders Kathryn Watson and Jemima Towers as well as forward Megan Coar.
After a nervy first 30 seconds Garstang went into full attack mode and claimed an early penalty corner with Hannah Crawshay slamming a shot from the top of the ‘D’ which saw the ball bounce off the post.
Garstang piled on the pressure and had a shocked Preston on the ropes with some great runs from Grace McGarvey.
A pattern emerged of quality attacks by Garstang being met by a good Preston defence and, above all, a superb keeper who kept Preston in the game.
The Garstang midfield was near dominant with good work by Steph Roe and Georgie Hampson well backed by defenders Charlotte Willis, Josie Guthrie, Jemma Hampson and Ellie Moss.
The other forwards – Summer Muirhead, Wendy Howarth, Lydia Williamson and Mel Gee – had a field day with the ball just not falling for the latter to display her striking power.
Preston still looked dangerous on the break but, on 33 minutes, Muirhead beat her marker and broke into the ‘D’ before being blocked by the keeper.
Garstang made nervy start to the second half and let Preston back into the game, only for Willis and Georgie Hampson to steady the ship.
Garstang’s passing quality declined badly for a period as Preston got back in the game and saw them win their first penalty corner which was eventually cleared.
Crawshay was again close to scoring but was frustrated by the keeper’s foot save before another penalty corner ended with the ball being slid outside the goal.
At the other end, a Preston penalty corner forced a first-class save from Higginson before another Jemma Hampson clearance put Garstang on the attack.
A Garstang goal was disallowed while clumsy tackling gifted Preston a penalty corner which was cleared before time elapsed to signal penalties.
Garstang went two goals ahead but were then pinned back by Preston scores.
However, Higginson then produced some excellent saves to give Garstang victory against a Preston side which had only lost one game all season.