Forest give promotion hopes a shot in the arm

Pendle Forest first team line up before their play-off win over Leeds Adel (s).
Pendle Forest first team line up before their play-off win over Leeds Adel (s).

Pendle Forest beat Leeds Adel 5-3 on Saturday to give their North Hockey Women’s League Division 1 play-off hopes a huge boost.

The victory means Forest will be promoted if they beat Newcastle tomorrow at Weetwood, Leeds – and if they draw, and Leeds lose to Alderley Edge.

After their first defeat of the season in last weeks play-off fixture against Alderley Edge, Pendle Forest were in fighting mood.

The game started explosively when, in the first 90 seconds, Leeds Adel split the Forest defence and eased the ball over the line.

Still in shock, Forest took the ball into the heart of the Leeds defence, gaining a penalty corner, and in reply, Lisa Crewe’s deceptive shot put Forest level.

With the score at 1-1, the umpiring was sharp, and an innocent knock back of the ball for the opposition’s free hit saw Dani Hornby take to the sideline for two minutes.

This was shortly followed by a deliberate foot stop from the opposition, who was also on the end of a two- minute sin bin!

Within the next five minutes, Leeds went ahead again, with the same sharp passing in their attack.

Forest began to spread the ball around, and, gaining ground down the right, Freya Bythell found Cathy Waters on the end of a cross, using her reverse stick to place the ball into the net with ease.

Strong midfield support again found space down the right wing for Bythell to cross, and using her reverse again, Waters slotted Forest’s third goal for a 3-2 lead at half-time.

Not resting on their laurels, Forest gained an early penalty corner in the second half.

A deflection allowed Thea Cormack to retrieve the ball and pull it back to Hornby, whose hard strike found the top left corner with a defensive deflection.

Tireless defensive work from player of the match Olivia Bythell in midfield, helped Forest to keep pushing ahead.

Their next goal was a solo effort from the half way line by Crewe, who weaved her way through several players, firing the ball home for a 5-2 lead.

Still battling, Leeds had further shots on goal but they were easily dealt with by goalkeeper Laura Kendall, although a late strike from a penalty corner saw the final score at 5-3.

Forest are currently lying second in the round-robin table, with the top two going up.

Meanwhile, Harry Schofield, a Pendle Forest Junior has successfully worked his way through the Lancashire Under 16s Junior Development and Junior Academy, culminating in being selected for a tournament held in Formby against other northern counties.