In their first game back after the Christmas break, Pendle Forest extended their unbeaten start to the season as they beat Longridge 6-1 in a feisty encounter.
The North Hockey Women’s League Division 2 North West leaders were under pressure early on, with Longridge quick off the mark, but the defence were ready.
Kayleigh Vickers and Dani Hornby dealt well with the early pressure, and Forest reciprocated, finding chances of their own in the Longridge defensive zone.
Twenty minutes into the half, Forest managed to break through when Deb Bythell found Charlotte Hartley, who forced the ball home.
Five minutes later, a perfect pick up by Vickers from a Lisa Crewe through ball put Forest 2-0 ahead.
The game was high tempo and Forest could not rest.
Longridge were awarded a penalty corner, and a drag flick found the top of the net just before the break.
Forest came back out for the second half with purpose, and although the game was quite even at this point, they began to find the gaps.
A tackle by Hornby at the back started the build-up of the third goal.
Hornby passed the ball left to Vickers, who played a ball down the line to Crewe.
Skilful play by Crewe allowed her to slip the ball in front of the goalkeeper for Hartley to easliy see the ball over the line.
Crewe bagged her only goal of the game soon after, firing the ball home from a penalty corner.
As the game heated up, an altercation on the 23-metre line dealt Olivia Bythell a two- minute green card, with her opposing number being given a yellow for foul play, seeing her leave the field for five minutes.
Deb Bythell was also required to take to the sideline with a yellow following her comments after the incident.
With all players back on, the opposing player was still causing aggravation, this time seeing Jan Cormack green carded for a further off the ball incident.
As soon as she returned to the pitch, Forest were down to 10 again with Fiona Head taking to the sideline for two minutes for a poor stick tackle.
Continuing their work, Forest enhanced their lead when Hartley fought valiantly along the backline, drawing the ball back for Karen Wignall, who was perfectly positioned to put the fifth goal clinically away.
To finish off a well-fought game, Hartley produced an excellent reverse stick shot to complete her hat-trick and seal a convincing win.
The victory means Pendle Forest top the table by three points from Garstang Ladies, who have played two games more.
The first team play seventh place Lytham St Annes at home tomorrow at 11-30 a.m. looking to preserve their unbeaten run.
In the Lancashire Central Women’s Hockey League Premier Division, Forest’s second team game at home to Lancaster and Morecambe was postponed.
The second string look to return to action tomorrow at Springfields thirds.