KENDAL Men conceded their first home defeat on Saturday at the Cinder Ovens.

Visitors Bowdon are one of the main challengers for promotion and the game lived up to its promise as a top of the table clash.

It was end to end stuff from start to finish with neither team ever establishing firm control. Kendal had the better scoring chances in the early stages and should have gone ahead after Jon Elleray made a piercing run down the right wing and drilled the ball across the Bowdon goal. Unfortunately there was no striker sharp enough to turn the cross into a goal.

Russ Miller played superbly in midfield, his speed and close control making him a constant threat to the Bowdon defence.

However, it was the visitors who struck first. When Francis Tidmarsh thwarted an attack down the right wing the ball went harmlessly across the back line. But the resulting hit-out was intercepted by Bowdon striker Jonathan Bloomer who, with only Chacko to beat, struck the ball against the post, gathered the rebound and made no mistake with the second shot.

The match resumed the end-to-end pattern and both Ewan Galloway and Jon Elleray went close before Russ Miller bundled the ball over the line for an equaliser and the teams went in to the interval all square.

There was no let-up in the pace as the second half began with both teams creating half chances but the defences staying on top.

Al Makin put Bowdon ahead again with a fast breakaway goal, but Kendal bounced back a second time through Jon Elleray. The goal came from the best move of the game with Nick Davis, Tom Howell and Russ Miller all involved.

Bowdon had the last word as James Shannon scored his second goal of the season and the final goal for a 3-2 win to the visitors.

Sadly for Kendal, skipper Rob Bradshaw was yellow carded in the closing minutes after an untidy encounter in midfield.

It was a thrilling match with the men in green producing a much better standard of play than last week and showing signs that they do merit their high league position.

There was further cause for optimism when they learned that league leaders and next week's opponents Southport had suffered their first defeat, against Cheetham Hill. This leaves Kendal only three points off the top.

Lytham St Annes.. 1, W'mere.... 5...

WINDERMERE Men are back at the top of NW division 8 thanks to a hard-earned victory at Lytham St Anne's and a result elsewhere going their way.

Arch rivals for several years, Lytham 5ths were their usual, obdurate selves and it was only in the second half that the Lakes side pulled away to a 5-1 victory.

Windermere had taken the lead through a Steven Heyns short corner, but then had to soak up a lot of pressure as Lytham's busy midfield hustled them out of their attacking rhythm.

Lytham equalised just before half-time by cutting in from the wing for a goal in open play, but Windermere regained the initiative at the start of the second half when Lytham were unable to clear the ball at a short corner and Mark Hartnett dug the ball free for Matt Hartnett to score.

Lytham pushed forward in desperation only to be caught at the back by the lively Gary Garside, who bagged Windermere's third goal at close range. But this only provoked Lytham into redoubling their efforts and midfield men Scott Santamera, Heyns, Sam Crompton and Dave Spiby were forced to help their defence cope. Windermere captain and man of the match Dominic Quill emerged as an inspiration figure in the heart of the action and, when a Lytham short corner was cleared off the Windermere line, with keeper Andrew Darling for once beaten, the fight began to drain out of the home side.

Heyns hammered home another short corner for Windermere's fourth goal and took command of the midfield as the visitors began to cut loose.

Several good chances were created before Garside rounded off a great display by firing in a fifth to complete Lytham's misery. With Urmston losing at home to Didsbury, Windermere now head the division on goal difference.