West Herts Hockey Club’s men’s side remain top of East Premier A despite suffering a 5-4 defeat against Wapping.
The Stags hammered the visitors 8-1 earlier in the campaign but knew the in-form east Londoners represented a real threat.
Wapping went ahead early in the contest and then doubled their lead soon after from a short corner.
West Herts grabbed a goal back as a speculative Shea O’Sullivan shot was deflected into the roof off the net.
The Stags defensive unit still hadn’t settled by the end of the half and another probing attack gave Wapping a 3-1 lead at the interval.
The second period saw West Herts hit their stride and they pulled a goal back. Matt Buckland and Daniel Scott did well to tee up O’Sullivan who moved forward and slotted home.
The Stags then levelled the contest. A great ball into the area from Dan Webster found brother Max and he showed great skill in a tight space to find the net with a reverse stick shot.
It seemed as though the home side were now in control of the match but their optimism was short-lived, as Wapping took advantage of sloppy marking to net twice.
The league leaders pushed forward and went close several times before Dan Webster finally found the net from a short corner with a minute and a half left.
A late surge was launched by the hosts but the Stags were unable to find an equaliser.
Despite the defeat, the side remain a point clear at the top of the table with three games remaining. The Stags face bottom of the table Norwich City on Saturday.
The ladies’ first team produced one of their performances of the season to defeat St Albans Seconds 3-1 in the East Premier.
Helen Humphrey broke the deadlock and a second goal was added as Becky Perry found the net following a short corner.
Shortly before the break, the Stags added a third goal as Perry notched her second via a penalty flick.
In the second half, the West Herts side continued to dominate but could not find a finish to good approach work. St Albans netted a consolation goal late on but it was an impressive display from home side.
The men’s second team boosted their hopes of survival in East Division One as they clinched a 4-2 win against Upminster.
A hat-trick from Callum Till and a poacher’s effort from Pete Corbridge secured the points for West Herts who face two of the promotion challengers in their next two fixtures.
Elsewhere, the Thirds were beaten 3-0 by Berkhamsted and Hemel Hempstead in East Division Three South-West while the Fourths lost 3-1 against Hertford Seconds in Division Four South-West.
The Fifths were beaten 3-1 against St Albans Fourths in East Division Five South-West while the Sixths went down 2-1 against Bishop’s Stortford Fifths in Division Eight-South West.
West Herts Sevenths clinched a 7-0 win against Letchworth Sixths. The goals were shared around the side with a brace apiece for Hayden Langford and Callum Woodage and singles for Tommy Almond, Ashwin Batey and Tom Watts.
The ladies’ seconds overcame Broxbourne Seconds 3-0 in Five Counties Premier while the Thirds thrashed Broxbourne Thirds 6-0 in Division one.
The Fourths overcame Bishop’s Stortford Fourths 5-2 in Division Three and the Fifths were beaten 7-4 by Saffron Walden in Division Six.