Leyland & Chorley suffer a set-back

Mark Collier on the ball for L&C men
Mark Collier on the ball for L&C men
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Leyland and Chorley Hockey Club men’s 1sts started 2016 with a defeat as they lost 5-3 at Rochdale.

Rochdale dominated the opening 20 minutes of the first game of the new year without really testing the Leyland 

Although unable to convert any of three short corners, L&C took the lead late in the half as Robbie Unsworth’s close-range strike rebounded to Keith Gradwell, who lifted the ball over the keeper.

A minute remained, but the away team were unable to see out the half with the lead intact, as a penalty corner was scrappily converted just before the break.

Rochdale started the second half in furious fashion and netted two quick goals, but their feisty diminutive midfielder was shown a green card.

Leyland found themselves unable to gain a foothold in the half and conceded a fourth, before Mark Collier found the net with a sweet strike after more good approach play down the right wing.

Both sides scored again, and L&C player Gary Swann was shown a yellow card.

With seconds to play, L&C added a third.

A swift switch-around at the back freed up Matt Wilson on the left wing. He fed Collier, who held up the ball well while Wilson sprinted into the circle.

Collier fed the ball through, and Wilson fired the ball over the keeper’s leg.

L&C 3rds lost 3-1 to league leaders Rochdale 2nds. The visitors were restricted to one short corner goal in the first half, and the battle recommenced in the second period.

But Rochdale added a second, and then L&C key defender Steve Smith left the field with a facial injury.

Leyland regrouped and Rhys Hilton’s pass sent Tony Stevens through on goal.

Stevens drew the keeper and then teed up James Lane to score.

Rochdale made it three late on.