Birthday girl Claire on target

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Pendle Forest Hockey Club’s third team won a place in the Lishman Plate semi-finals after a 2-1 win at Brookfields on Saturday.

The thirds travelled to Blackburn to play at a rain-soaked Witton Park.

Forest started brightly, and for the first 20 minutes played really good hockey, switching down the flanks via their solid defenders, much to the appreciation of stand-in manager Lisa Crewe.

Forest got the goal they deserved when Emily Dunleavy powered down the right and crossed a ball across the top of the D for Cath Hutchinson.

Hutchinson produced a moment of class as she dribbled to the back line, dinked the ball over the defender’s stick and then lifted it past the keeper to give Forest the lead, and earn herself a 19th goal of the season.

Forest pushed on and earned themselves a couple of penalty corners. Diane McInnes hit out to Rosie Southworth, who hammered the ball goalwards. Brookfields keeper was switched on though, and managed to block Southworth’s initial strike.

However, birthday girl Claire Birkett managed to nab a tap in at the far post, putting Forest 2-0 up with her 10th goal of the campaign.

As the weather got worse, the pitch became water logged across the middle, which slowed the game down considerably. Forest tried to play their passing hockey, but the cold and wet hampered their style, and despite the best efforts of Emma Ziegloser and Rachel Bradley, they just couldn’t find the net.

Deborah Batley came closest, hitting the post.

From the start of the second half, Forest lost their grip on the game, allowing Brookfields in.

There were moments of quality for Forest, but a number of errors due to the pitch conditions. Brookfields earned a number of penalty corners, and but for outstanding stops from Debbie Lancaster in goal, could have had three goals.

As it was, they managed to score once with a well-hit shot from the edge of the D that wrong-footed Lancaster.

At 2-1, Forest looked edgy and they had to use some unconventional defending, not least when Southworth dived full stretch through the water to tackle and clear!

Forest kept battling, with Southworth and Amy Trickett being instrumental in keeping Forest in the lead with hard work and solid tackling.

Forest were somewhat relieved to hear the final whistle, and Trickett was voted as player of the match.