HOCKEY: Yardley 1st XI 3 Droitwich Spa 1st XI 4

BARRY Williams salvaged a precious win on Saturday to keep Droitwich's title hopes alive.

Williams late winner from a short corner sealed a Droitwich fight back after Spa had fallen 3-1 down at half time.

Victory also ensured that Droitwich kept their place at the top of the West Midlands Division One and bounced back from last week's loss to title chasing Walsall.

Captain Paul Atkinson was relieved to see his side win.

He said: "If we had lost then our chances of winning the title would have been over.

"It was an important goal for us, it means we still have a slender lead at the top."

Droitwich had started the match as the stronger team and Nick Adams put his team ahead.

However, the home side responded with gusto and scored three times before the break.

Gareth Thomas pulled a goal back at the start of the second half and Williams' penalty flick levelled the scores.

Droitwich went in search of the winner and Williams was on hand to finish off a short corner.

The captain criticised his team for not taking Yardley seriously.

He said: "We went over there with a relaxed attitude and it almost cost us.

We spent 25 minutes playing our worst hockey of the season.

"The league is so tight that to drop any points at this stage would be a real blow."

While Droitwich overcame Yardley their title rivals Walsall remained two points behind after defeating Kingswinford 2-1.

Third placed Rugeley also threw their hat into the ring as title contenders by thrashing Barlaston 8-2.

Atkinson is expecting his side to respond appropriately when they take on Barlaston at home on Saturday (12pm start).

He said: "Barlaston are another team which are struggling.

"If we treat Barlaston the same way as we did Yardley in the first half we'll lose, but if we play at our best we should win."