Cathy Waters struck an equaliser to maintain Pendle Forest’s unbeaten start to the season in this top of the table clash on Saturday.
Forest went into the game tied on points at the top with their opponents, but second on goal difference.
They dominated the first 15 minutes, but some stick tackles and blocking moves from Kirkby Stephen, especially on Olivia Bythell, set the tension.
Bythell continued to show fair play and a mature attitude.
After 20 minutes, some silky stick skills from Hayley Baines and a strike from Karen Nuttall gave Forest a well-deserved lead.
Not long after, the visitors gained their first penalty corner, forcing a trmendous reflex save from Laura Kendal, forcing the ball wide of the post.
Minutes later a further penalty corner was awarded and the Kirkby Stephen attackers managed to force the ball home.
By this time, two green cards had been awarded and the visitors also had a player sin-binned.
Forest somehow still found themselves under the cosh and managed to concede another goal just before half-time.
Forest kept their discipline and eventually had a penalty corner for a blatant stick tackle, which Waters converted.
The flow of the game evened out, but two penalty corners in the dying seconds of the game for Kirkby Stephen heightened the tension once more.
Forest finally cleared the ball, hanging on to a deserved 2-2 draw.
Forest’s third team put in their best team performance of the season so far when they beat Southport seconds 2-0 to move up to third in the Second Division.
Olivia Purtill in the centre of midfield commanded the play for Forest.
Midway through the half Forest took the lead. Purtill played a ball wide to Dee McInnes, who combined with Amy Greenwood and Alice Parkinson before seeing her strike stopped by the Southport keeper. The ball fell kindly to Greenwood, who slotted the ball past the keeper’s right hand to find the net.
In the second half, Forest’s play was precise, but they couldn’t quite find their second goal, while player of the match Debs Trickett made two goalline stops.
Forest were rewarded with a second goal from the best move of the game as Purtill found McInnes, who sent a forward ball to Parkinson. Parkinson forced forward into the D and squared for Greenwood, who doubled her tally, giving the keeper no chance.