Windermere Men's 1s 2-3 Fylde Men's 1
North Hockey League West Division 2
After last weeks cancellation by Liverpool Uni, Fylde’s 1st team had to wait until the trip to Windermere to open up the league campaign. Now playing in North Division 2 after successive promotions, they came away with a hard-fought 3 points. Fylde have plenty of new faces in their 1st team squad for this campaign, with 3 (defenders Ian Brown and Harry Gordon and forward Simon Holt) making their Fylde 1st team debuts on Saturday, plus midfielder Laurence Sidwell re-signing for the season.
Windermere took an early lead when a long aerial deceived Rob Jepson at the back, leaving the Cumbrian sides’ striker with a simple one on one finish. But after seeing out the opening spell of pressure, Fylde got a handle of the game and soon started playing some organised hockey. Into his third season as Captain, Simon Major found himself with a half chance on the top of the D, whose shot fell to James Oakes to grab his first of the season. Fylde continued to look for another, Laurence Sidwell impressing in midfield and Ollie Santamera driving the away side forward, but struggled to turn that into any clear chances. Against the run of play, Windermere won a contentious penalty corner, which was duly dispatched, flicked low and hard into the bottom corner. HT 1-2
Fylde came out fighting in the second half and it didn’t take long for them to find an equaliser. A poorly executed penalty corner was quickly adjusted with Major finding Jepson, whose shot was fired in off the rebound by Jordan Payne. 2-2. From this, Fylde quickly switched to a more defensive style and looked to catch Windermere on the counter. With 15 minutes left to play they did exact that, Oakes and Payne involved in the build up before Josh Boyne volleyed home for what would be the winner.
Windermere fought hard to the end and possibly deserved a share of the points, were it not for some superb goalkeeping from Nick Rainbow and resolute defending by the Fylde backline. In particular, Rob Jepson was outstanding in a man of the match performance. A series of corners and two 5 minute suspensions for Jepson and Santamera made for a nervy end, but Fylde saw it through for 3 points. Youngsters Holt and Gordon both impressed, Gordon making some vital tackles in the final moments and Holt showing composure beyond his years to retain the ball under pressure.
Lockdown allowing, Fylde host West Derby next week at Mill Farm.
Fylde Men's 2 3-3 Wigton Men's 1s
North West Hockey League Division 2 North
Following a 10-1 victory against local rivals Preston on the previous weekend, Fylde faced a free-scoring Wigton side who have had back to back promotions since their creation a few years ago.
The call from the Fylde captain was to maintain our defensive structure from the frontline as Wigton started fast. A youthful side with plenty of passing and moving - Wigton had the majority of possession in the first 10 minutes. Fylde weathered the storm with some excellent saves from debutant keeper Cameron McIntyre. Fylde pressed from the front as they grew into the game and took the lead when Fylde won the ball in the midfield and launched a counter attack. Some great play from a long corner found Dylan Jordan in the D who neatly finished into the bottom corner.
Wigton immediately responded with a fast break down the left wing, overloading the Fylde defence they switched the ball to the opposite side and played the ball into the danger zone. After a few scrambles for the ball it ricocheted to a Wigton forward who finished nicely to make it 1-1. Following a dominant display of possession from Wigton, Fylde broke forward and were awarded a Penalty Corner. As always, Sempers stepped up and flung a drag-flick into the top corner put the home side back ahead.
As the first half was coming to a close Wigton were pushing for an equaliser. Just before half-time their pressure payed off, after a good save from McIntyre the ball dropped to the Wigton centre forward who made it honours even at the break. At half time Fylde called for more width from the forwards to ease the pressure of the youthful Wigton press.
In the second half, Fylde got off to a good start with the majority of the possession with some strong tackles and passing play to peg Wigton back before an injury to Tom Davidson caused Fylde to re-shuffle their defence and midfield. As Wigton were pushing for a winner, Fylde countered and some fast attacking play from Dylan Jordan, Aaron Sadler and Luca Sempers - Fylde were awarded a penalty corner for a dangerous tackle on Sempers. A yellow card awarded for the Wigton man and Sempers stepped up once again to fire the ball into the top corner to make it 3-2.
Fylde were now on the defensive as Wigton pushed for an equaliser. Some great defensive effort from the whole squad found Wigton frustrated in possession and as a result found themselves 3 men down, with Sempers and Chris Walker also receiving yellow cards which put them out for the rest of the game. It was now 9 men of Fylde vs the 8 men of Wigton as the away side pressed high up the pitch. The final few minutes Fylde looked in control until a bully was awarded and Fylde sportingly chose to give the ball back to Wigton in the Fylde half. As Fylde struggle to break the Wigton press, the ball was thrown into the Fylde D where the Wigton player swiped wide. Wigton were awarded a Penalty Corner due to an encroaching defender while the Wigton player received an aerial ball. A drag flick out of nowhere flew passed the heads of the Fylde defence into the goal to make it 3-3.
Fair result for two teams that will be pushing for promotion this year.
Fylde Men's 3 0-3 Windermere Men's 2s
North West Hockey League Division 4 North North
Fylde 3's got off to a difficult start against Windermere 2's. Windermere brought a strong side who took control of the match early on with some very strong movement around the pitch and quick passing between players. Fylde struggled to find their form and were put under a lot of pressure throughout, with each player having to be on the defence constantly. Fylde debutant Chris Dunkerly started off with a very impressive show, making crucial tackles and interceptions to deny the Windermere attacks. Unfortunately, the attackers kept pressing the Fylde players to score 3 goals in total, all of which from open play.
The match ended 3-0 to a deserving Windermere side, which will hurt the Fylde players, but a game where no short corners were conceded, Fylde can be proud of holding a tough match. Man of the match Ollie Greenwood was the player who impressed the most with his endless work rate, tackles and desire to progress upfield.
Kirkby Lonsdale Men's 2s 2-0 Fylde Men's 4
North West Hockey League Division 4 North North
9 cars and 11 players travelled an hour up the M6 to Kirkby Lonsdale, played for 70 minutes, then travelled an hour back, such is the state of Covid-19 hockey right now. However we're delighted to have those glorious 70 minutes of league hockey every week.
Fylde fielded the bare minimum 11 players, but looked an experienced outfit with a strong spine (or in other words had 7 aged over 40). Kirkby put pressure on from the start but Fylde eventually found their composure with some nice passing in midfield. Fylde's plan were severely disrupted when Nigel Sadler pulled his hamstring and had to limp off, leaving a hole in Fylde's midfield and a man down for the remaining 50 minutes of the match. Kirkby opened the scoring when a ball hit into the D wasn't fully stopped by defender Pete Latimer, deflected off his foot, and hesitated too long expecting to hear a whistle, allowing an attacker the time to take a well struck shot into the goal.
Fylde had to defend several short corners from Kirkby and were under the cosh for a large spell of the first half, however they did create chances using the left wing of Richard Clarke and right wing of Oscar Harkins. Lone striker Dan Howe was unlucky not to score when on a solo run he rounded the goalkeeper and his goal-bound shot was saved on the line by a defender.
The second half was more open and Fylde having more possession in midfield, with Martin Stringfellow very composed on the ball. However with Fylde pushing up the pitch this led them open to counter attacks and it was Kirkby who doubled their lead.
Fylde kept on pushing and were unlucky not to score with a couple of short corners, and a shot which hit the post. Oscar Harkins was awarded Man of the Match for his relentless pursuit of the ball despite being the youngest player against much older opposition.
A 2-0 defeat wasn't a bad result, with only 10 players for most of the match, against a decent side. We look forward to resuming the normal chilli & chips post-match tea that Kirkby serve in a local pub next season, once Covid-19 disappears.