HOCKEY: CREWE Vagrants lost the chance to extend their lead at the top of the men's North League Division Two West when spirited Northop Hall nicked an equaliser minutes from time, on Saturday.
The men's first team failed to maintain their searing recent form and came down to earth in a 3-3 draw at Northop.
Crewe started well and for the first 15 minutes gained territorial supremacy, peppering their host's goal with shots. But efforts from James Capper and Dave Holland failed to hit home.
After riding the early storm, Northop hit back and keeper Ravi Kaler, along with Jon Woodhart, Paul Lambsdale and Nick Marshall came under fire.
They stood strong for a period, but the deadlock was broken on 16 minutes by a fierce shot on the run, sending Crewe 1-0 down.
Vagrants became ragged and looked in trouble right up until the break, but a breakaway saw Tim Alexander brought down and Holland calmly converted the penalty to equalise.
The marksman was back in action on the restart, and fired Crewe into the lead from a short corner. But the visitors sat back and paid the price, Northop making it 2-2.
Vagrants looked vulnerable, but deadly shooting from Andrew Ash-worth restored the unlikely lead. Again it was short-lived as Northop pegged them back to share the spoils. Crewe seconds were soundly beaten 5-2 at home to newly promoted Oxton thirds.
After early Crewe pressure it was the visitors who took the advantage, and as the hosts searched for an equaliser the lead was doubled before the break.
The contest looked over when it was 3-0 following the interval, but Crewe showed signs of a fight back when the on-form Andrew Ticehurst screamed a shot home to reduce the deficit.
However, Oxton soon restored their three-goal cushion. Rob Jepson hit a further consolation, but Vagrants conceded again before the end.
Ryan Griffiths scored the only goal for the third team as they went down 6-1 to third-placed Wilmslow.
Crewe Vagrants Ladies first team conceded two sloppy goals in the final 10 minutes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Wigton.
The 3-2 loss was a hammer-blow for the struggling side. The visitors took an early lead before goalkeeper Hayley Agnew saved a penalty stroke to keep it 1-0.
Dionne Johnson made it 1-1 at the break from a short-corner, and Crewe looked the stronger after the restart when Shez Tomkinson put them ahead, but an injury to Sally Cowap forced Vagrants players to change positions and Wigton capitalised with a quick double.
Crewe thirds drew 1-1 with South Cheshire. A Gillian Matthews strike was cancelled out.