Freya on target as Forest pass toughest test

Pendle Forest Hockey Club (red) v Lytham Hockey Club at Marsden Heights Community School, Nelson. Freya Bythell scores. Picture by Paul Heyes, Saturday March 12, 2016.

Pendle Forest Hockey Club (red) v Lytham Hockey Club at Marsden Heights Community School, Nelson. Freya Bythell scores. Picture by Paul Heyes, Saturday March 12, 2016.

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Pendle Forest were on their travels again on Saturday as they faced their toughest opponents yet – Garstang Ladies.

Forest struggled all game to execute their natural attacking and creative play.

As it turns out, they were indebted to 15-year-old Freya Bythell, as she scored the only goal of the match in the fifth minute.

A short corner routine resulted in the goal, after Lisa Crewe’s shot rebounded off the keeper for young Bythell to score from an acute angle.

The first half didnt provide many clear cut chances for either side, but the personal battles that developed throughout the fixture brought this game to life.

A very scrappy first period didn’t suit Forest after their intial goal, as they were somewhat out battled, and numerous Forest players felt the physicality overstepped at times.

Their usual exciting play was disrupted over and over again, as the Garstang defence proved hard to break down.

Forest again owe much of the plaudits for the win to their keeper Laura Kendall, as moments after being involved in a collision with a home team attacker, resulting in an injury stoppage, she dived low to her right hand side to preserve the lead.

Forest did begin to force more chances as the game became more open, and had another cleared off the line, but this time were unable to convert.

Player of the match Deb Bythell led the way, as most of the game was played in the middle of the field.

Uncharacteristically, the usual Forest short corner routines were appearing to be ineffective, and the frustration began to show.

The game was stopped midway through the second half as the umpires deemed the excessive appealing to be too much, and both teams were ordered to calm down. Two players, one from each side, were showed a card, Crewe being the away team’s culprit.

Crewe returned to hit the bar with a fierce shot, and Bythell and Wiggers failed to convert half chances which would have killed the game off earlier. The pressure from Garstang started to mount, and nearly earned themselves a point, however Kendall was there yet again to round off another fantastic performance from Forest’s last line of defence.

This was Forest’s best win of the season to date, showing grit and determination to come away with the points.