North Hockey Women’s League Premier Division champions Pendle Forest drew their final game of the season 2-2 at Alderley Edge.
Forest are already looking forward to life in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Conference North, but for Alderley Edge, it was crucial to at least get a draw out of the game to still have the opportunity of promotion.
The opposition put a couple of serious attacks together during the early moments of the game, alerting Forest to their intentions.
Midway through the half, Lisa Crewe whipped a ball in from the left, finding Charlotte Hartley, whose quick reaction angled the ball into goal from the top of the D, leaving the keeper looking over her shoulder and into the back of the net.
For a while, the play was in the central area of the pitch as both teams were intercepting attempts to break through on goal.
Alderley Edge then hit back, and having drawn out the Forest keeper, there was a scramble of shots in front of goal, but finally a solid block and clearance by Thea Cormack that, temporarily, took the pressure off the defence.
Minutes later the hosts were awarded a penalty corner and converted, as the ball squeezed between the keeper and a defender’s stick, putting the game back at all square at the half-time whistle.
Forest started to find the gaps and were gaining more penalty corners, but it was in the D where they were struggling to break through.
Finally Crewe put Forest ahead again when she sent a straight strike in on goal, which took a slight deflection off a defender’s foot, and finished in the back of the net.
Following this, Alderley Edge lost their momentum for a while and found it difficult to get the ball anywhere near the Forest defence.
Forest defended from the attacking line and kept the shape, with Hartley, Hayley Baines and Steph Bedford heading the unit from the front, backed up by a hard-working group in midfield and a solid defence.
But a lapse when Alderley Edge gained a penalty corner, late in the game, allowed them to equalise, leaving the final score at 2-2.
Forest will now have a well-deserved break ahead of an exciting new season in September.