Pendle Forest closing in on league title after 15th win

Charlotte Hartley
Charlotte Hartley

Pendle Forest made it 15 wins from as many games as they extended their lead at the top of North Hockey Women’s League Division 2 North West to 13 points on Saturday.

Forest attackers made some good inroads into the Formby defence during the first half, but their shots didn’t quite seem to be hitting the mark.

In a breakaway, Formby were awarded a penalty corner that did go into the net, but was disallowed for crossing the line too high.

Olivia Bythell worked hard in the centre, rarely allowing the opposition through her path, but Forest had to be patient.

With the score 0-0 at half-time, they were unexpectedly forced into stepping up in the game five minutes into the second half.

A controversial decision by the umpire for a penalty corner allowed Formby to take the lead from a deflection into the net.

This was just what Forest needed to fire them into action, and shortly after, the Forest pressure was apparent.

Hayley Baines followed up on her inital shot with a flick over the goalkeeper to get Forest back on track.

Then Thea Cormack’s quick stick skills in the D put Forest 2-1 up after she nutmegged the keeper.

Following on from this, Karen Wignall then peeled off her player right in front of goal, to then neatly slot into the net.

Forest were now pulling away comfortably, and a solo effort by player of the match Chartlotte Hartley led to it becoming 4-1, as she took the ball around the keeper, after already having weaved her way through three defenders.

Wignall almost scored again, after a superb long ball from Lisa Crewe through a narrow gap found her stick, only to ping wide of the left post.

As the rain hammered down, with Forest having finally found their footing in this game, Crewe sealed the win with a deceptive shot from a penalty corner, which lifted into the net from a defenders stick.

Forest are at home again tomorrow, against local rivals Blackburn and Clitheroe.

Forest’s thirds were determined to get back to winning ways after defeats in their last two games, as they made the trek to play Lancaster and Morecambe.

Forest got the first chance to score after superb defending by player of the match Paula Markham lead to a forward straight pass to Emily Dunleavy, who in turn found Fran Ratcliffe up front.

Ratliffe flew into the D and struck first time, forcing the Morecambe keeper to make a fabulous save. The ball deflected to Cath Hutchinson, who did put the ball in the net, but a foot foul ruled the goal out.

Morecambe gained the advantage of penalty corners, but despite their organised set pieces, Forests debutant goalkeeper Jane Lofthouse, who last played for Burnley 20 years ago, pulled off some great saves.

The second half saw Forest grow in confidence and really take the game to their opponents.

Forest’s move for the goal they deserved came from the back. Markham sent the ball straight for Ratcliffe, who squared inside for Hutchinson, whose a diagonal across the D allowed Birkett to slot home.

Forest had further chances but one goal proved enough.