Pendle Forest have been helping the England Over 35s team in their preparations for the European Championships Masters later this month.
Forest received a late call on Thursday, asking if they could put a team out on Sunday to face the national veterans’ side, who are in the final sessions of training before going to Rotterdam in just under three weeks.
The game was played at Brooklands in Manchester, a perfect opening clash for new Forest captain Laura Kendall.
Forest put England under a lot of early pressure, Freya Bythell and Steph Bedford playing aerial passes that gave the national side problems, while former England internationbal Charlotte Hartley hit the post.
Nicky Hill put Forest 1-0 up after good work from Olivia Bythell in the midfield, intercepting and releasing Hartley, who found Hill to score.
England were a little shocked, having beaten Brooklands 11-0 the day before, but Forest continued to press.
Hartley and Hill forced saves, before Hill netted a second.
Forest had been the stronger side in the first half , but fitness was going to be an issue, and England came out in the second half having to up their game, pressing higher up the field.
Forest were defending strongly, with great tackles from Jan Cormack and Deb Bythell, and saves from Kendall, while Sam Parker and Olivia Purtill worked tirelessly on each flank.
Forest still had two golden opportunities on the break that could have put the game out of reach, before England pulled one back with a hopeful ball hit hard into the D, that was deflected by a forward, wrong-footing Kendall.
Forest were tiring and England took their keeper off to play an extra outfield player, but Forest had another break through Freya Bythell, playing a one-two with Hartley, only to pushed the shot just wide.
England were chasing the game and finally equalised in the last two minutes, as and a deflected cross popped up into the air and an England player volleyed into an open goal.
A lot of positives will be taken away from the fixture ahead of the new season.