A hat-trick from Dani Atherton helped Pendle Forest go joint top of the North Hockey Women’s League Division 2 North West after a 4-0 win over Clitheroe on Saturday.
Both teams were on equal points before the game, but there was no let up from Forest, and the intensity of their pressure showed.
Early on in the game, Clitheroe were warned for making several stick tackles, and eventually had a player yellow carded and were down to 10 players for a short while.
For a period, Forest dominated the Clitheroe half, and a strike on goal by Hayley Baines was stopped on the goaline by a defending foot, resulting in the umpire having no option other than to award a penalty flick. Atherton stepped up to put Forest into the lead.
The second goal was from a penalty corner with Atherton on strike again to put Forest 2-0 up.
Forest could have gone three ahead after Atherton rounded three players in the Clitheroe defence, but Jen Hobson put the ball wide of the post.
Going into the second half, they continued to use their substitutions regularly, and the young Olivia Purtill especially made some great runs down the left, and played with discipline beyond her years.
Forest could have added to their tally with chances for Hobson, Sam Parker and Sally Evans, but the Clitheroe keeper made some crucial saves.
Baines then forced her way in from the left but was blocked by the Clitheroe defence, on her route to goal, which led to another penalty flick, allowing Atherton a well deserved hat-trick.
Clitheroe managed to worry the Forest defence momentarily with a couple of breakaways resulting in Kayleigh McKane being yellow carded for a stick tackle, but the defence held firm and Forest scored a final goal when Hobson intercepted a hit out and then sent in a perfect cross for Baines to take a first time strike, powering it through the keeper. A deserved 4-0 win keeps Forest second in the league, but only on goal difference behind Kirkby Stephen.
The first team are away to Northern tomorrow.
The seconds lost 6-1 to Preston, from a division above, in the cup, with Judith Hind scoring.
The thirds didn’t have a game.