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HOCKEY: 'Lacklustre' performance leads to defeat for Neston
NESTON South Wirral's struggles continued as they went down 3-1 to Winnington Park at Parkgate in North Division Two.
Winnington are a much improved side since Neston were comfortable winners in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, but the home team did themselves no favours in a lacklustre first half display.
After Matt Siggins saw his early effort smothered by the Winnington keeper, Neston's game lacked any sort of rhythm, and the visitors capitalised when Tom Hughes finished smartly from the top of the circle.
Midway through the half it was 2-0, as Dan Jones was aided by some weak tackling and a blatant kick, before he cracked a superb reverse stick effort past Rich Lowry in the Neston goal.
Neston came to life after the interval and they played with much more intensity and desire, creating several promising situations.
As has been the case too often this season though, they struggled to test the keeper from open play.
Siggin's had his low flick saved, but Rogier Van Der Ouderaa made no mistake when he reduced the deficit from a slick penalty corner routine.
With Neston now looking the stronger, they were dealt a hammer blow, as Lowry - undoubtedly the best keeper in the division - uncharacteristically allowed Paul Stackhouse's tame effort to squirm past him to make it 3-1.
Now sitting fourth from bottom, Neston will be keen to get back to winning ways when Wrexham visit this Saturday.
Elsewhere, the mercurial Sally Bell was the ladies first team saviour as she bagged her second goal with the last touch of the game in a 2-2 draw with a resolute Wilmslow side.