Harris hammers two in battling Welsh win

Lytham Ladies 2nd hockey team(blue and white) v Garstang
Lytham Ladies 2nd hockey team(blue and white) v Garstang
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Blackpool Men kept the pressure up at the top of Kukri North West division four with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over Northop Hall in Wrexham.

Blackpool captain Rob Abbott needed to shuffle his pack because of absentees, calling up Simon Allen from the Seconds.

The visitors held firm early on and took the lead against the run of play when Dave Morgan scored from a Simon Thomas pass.

Blackpool then dominated the next 20 minutes but found the home keeper in top form.

It remained 1-0 at half-time after a Northop Hall had a penalty flick saved by top keeper Rainbow.

Slick passing saw Blackpool take control after the break and good work by Steve Whitley down the left resulted in Simon Thomas diverting Morgan’s shot into the net from two yards.

As Blackpool continued to press, Morgan set up Kieran Harris to net the third after Ian Swaine’s shot was blocked.

Northop pulled one back but Blackpool made it 4-1 when Harris added a second after a rampaging run down the right by Jack Boniface.

The visitors ended the game on the defensive after both Whitley and Harris were sinbinned. Northop did manage to add a second despite a superb double save by Rainbow.

Blackpool are now 15 points clear in second place and just a point behind leaders Lymm.

n Elsewhere the hockey programme was hit by the return of wintry weather, though Lytham Ladies’ Seconds managed to beat the freeze but not Garstang’s senior side.

The visitors won 3-0 despite a much-improved Lytham performance, in which Rachel Casey and Heidi Williams led the way.

Garstang were far from their best but their hosts could not capitalise on the first-half sin-binning of Fran Summers.

Lily Helme created a series of chances for Garstang and Summers returned to set up the opening goal for Catherine Godbold.

Hannah Hesketh and Gabi Little defended well for Lytham but could not prevent Garstang doubling their lead with a clinical penalty corner strike from Claire Aspden.

In the second half, Godbold had a penalty superbly saved by Eleni Cullen following a foot-on-the-line infringement but made amends by driving home the third goal, set up by Becky Goldsmith.

A late spell of Lytham pressure forced a double save from keeper Skelton, with Katie Warren and Case going closest to a consolation goal .

Lytham Men had a disappointing weekend of away defeats, the senior side going down 8-3 at Alderley Edge, the Seconds 4-2 at Didsbury Northern Thirds and the Thirds 2-1 at Prescot Seconds.

The Thirds at least came back strongly in the second half, having trailed 3-0 at the interval. They were rewarded whe Richard Isherwood deflected in a Phil Hope strike for a consolation goal.

n THE Thirds flew the flag for Blackpool & Wyre Ladies and were disappointed with a 1-1 draw away to Lancaster Fifths after dominating the first half.

Lara Cherry was in fine shooting form for Blackpool but found the Lancaster keeper on top of her game too.

Persistence paid off when Taegan O Hara managed to put a loose ball over the line only for Lancaster to equalise against the run of play. Lynsey Shewin was Blackpool’s player of the match.