Worrying slump goes on as leaders lose a thriller

Mark Swann in action for Leyland and Chorley against Warrington
Mark Swann in action for Leyland and Chorley against Warrington
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Leyland and Chorley’s poor league form continued as promotion-chasing Warrington inflicted a third defeat in as many games.

The Barrington Sports Division Four North league title had looked to have been wrapped up as L&C held a lead of 15 points over second-placed Didsbury Northern fourths.

But three consecutive defeats means the gap at the top is down to 10 points with four games still remaining.

Leyland and Chorley still have the upper hand as they need a maximum of six points to seal another league title.

On Saturday, L&C showed some early promise as Tim Button and Andy Dunn combined well down the right, but a lack of composure in the D saw chances squandered.

Warrington set up strongly in the middle and looked to break quickly and hit their forwards early.

And this proved a real success as L&C keeper Ande Wilding was required to make some smart saves to keep the scores level.

Leyland and Chorley took the lead on 15 minutes when quick interplay between Wayne Johnson and Matt Wilson down the left created space for Roger Swansbury, his drive into D took a slight deflection off Craig Wilson and the ball rolled past the goalkeeper.

But the lead lasted little over a minute.

A sloppy foul was given away and the defence failed to react as a quick ball was played into the D and Wilding was unable to stop a fantastic shot fly into the roof of the net.

As the half wore on, Leyland and Chorley started to gain the upper hand but they were finding it difficult to penetrate the packed defence, when patience and width was required.

This paid dividends on the half hour as play was switched at pace from the left, Mark Swann picked out Button in acres of space, and a quick drive along the baseline into the D caused havoc in the Warrington defence allowing Matt Wilson to tap home.

But L&C hadn’t learned from their earlier mistake and almost immediately Warrington equalised again, taking advantage of more sloppy defending, with Wilding left horribly exposed.

The second half started brightly for L&C with Gary Swann and Mark Swann finding space in the middle.

More width was offered from Matt Wilson and Johnson, but Leyland and Chorley were unable to turn their possession into an effort on goal.

Warrington took advantage midway through the half as they countered and with quick passing found themselves in the D.

A mix-up between Wilding and Dunn saw the ball break loose in front of goal and Warrington tapped home to take the lead.

Tom McLellan and Jack Gerrard both offered plenty of energy and continue to

develop.

Both players look strong on the ball and keep possession well, and this set up another Leyland and Chorley attack as Mark Swann was able to find an unmarked Craig Wilson in the D but his control let him down and the opportunity went begging.

Leyland and Chorley drew level on the hour when a spell of penalty corners saw Mark Swann equalise.

But with three minutes remaining, Warrington were awarded for a penalty corner for a high stick and slick movement saw the ball driven to the back post and deflected into the roof of the net to seal the points.

n The ladies second team scored an impressive victory over Garstang thirds,

winning 4-1. Player-of-the-match Lisa Evans scored a hat-trick with Kirstie Taylor scoring the

other.