Pendle Forest started their play-off campaign with great intent as they beat Boston Spa – winners of North Division Two South East – 5-1 at Marsden Heights on Saturday.
After four minutes, Forest were awarded a short corner.
A ball in from the top of the D from Lisa Crewe towards the right post found defender Olivia Purtill, perfectly placed, to deflect the ball into the goal from close range.
This was followed 10 minutes later with a second goal, after a ball was slipped to the right side at a penalty corner, allowing Charlotte Hartley to strike the ball across the goalkeeper, finding the bottom left corner of the goal.
Boston Spa came back with some attacking play down the wings.
Their clean passing showed some flowing play, and they found a crack in the Forest defence when a bouncing ball caught the inside of the keeper’s pads and crossed over the line.
Not rattled by this, Forest ploughed on, and while building the ball out of defence, a stick tackle resulted in a Forest free hit, which was swiftly taken, but the whistle blew again and a green card was issued to a Boston player for not being five metres away from the free hit, with both teams having previously been warned.
Forest had the advantage, and close to the half-time whistle, a strong ball carry by Hartley into the D saw her bundled onto the floor with a chance on goal.
A penalty flick was awarded, and Crewe steped up and convincingly found the top left corner of the net, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Taking control after the break allowed Forest to use all available players, while still keeping the team shape.
After continually pressing and battling in front of goal, Hartley managed a second with a reverse stick flick over the goalkeeper to put Forest 4-1 up.
Forest still had to be aware of the breakaways, and the frustration of the oppostion attack led to some aggresssive tackling, in which one instance was deemed a slide tackle offence by Olivia Bythell, who was in turn sinbinned for 10 minutes.
By this time Forest were in full control, and the day’s performance was topped off when the ball was again put away, when Crewe went around the back of the defence, played the ball across goal for the keeper to make a save, sending the ball straight back to Crewe for a tap in to give Forest a 5-1 win.
Their second play off fixture is to be held at Deeside on Saturday, April 22nd, after the Cheshire side squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 away at Morpeth in their first play-off game.
The final game is against Morpeth at Wakefield on the 29th.