After narrowly losing last week, Pendle Forest got back in the groove, climbing back to third with a comprehensive win at home to Cannock.
Cannock brought a fast and furious start to the game, immediately testing the Forest defence in and around the D.
Finding their footing and earning a free hit on the 25-yard line, Freya Bythell lifted a perfectly weighted ball into the D, and a precision perfect strike on the half volley by Steph Bedford was fired into the back of the net.
Having gained the lead, Forest needed to keep up the momentum. They began to drive down the wings, with great ball carries by Thea Cormack and Liv Bythell finding space behind the Cannock defence.
The team pushed up as a unit, and a midfield interception by Liv Purtill allowed Bedford to release the ball onto Charlotte Hartley, whose solo run outpaced the Cannock defence, and she placed the ball past the goalkeeper with ease to put Forest 2-0 ahead at half-time, with the Forest goalkeeper Laura Kendall not even having touched the ball.
Cannock didn’t have the same intensity after the break, and this allowed forwards Hayley Baines, Fran Ratcliffe and Meg Murphy to make inroads into the opposing D with great movement, causing the defence problems.
Cannock thwarted a weaving ball carry by Freya Bythell, giving away penalty corner, and earning the opposition a green card.
Constant hard work by Hartley finally rewarded her, when the well-worked corner was fired in by Lisa Crewe and converted with a reverse stick deflection by Hartley, giving the goalkeeper no time to react and putting the game out of Cannock’s reach.
With the pressure off and a change in formation by coach Ian Bythell, Forest settled further into the game.
Cannock left a player high to try and score on the break, but great marking in defence and composure on the ball, particularly by player of the match Sam Parker, meant that Kendall was only required to make the occasional save.
A late penalty corner for Forest this time allowed Crewe to set up a chance of her own, dodging a player on the edge then striking the ball across the keeper, finding the bottom left corner.
Cannock managed a consolation goal, but Forest came away with a comfortable 4-1 win.
On Saturday, Forest are at Wakefield.
After last week’s disappointing loss, Pendle Forest seconds hosted Windermere and returned with a vengeance, scoring twice inside five minutes.
New acquisition Becky Miller, Pendle’s player’s player with an outstanding performance, scored both openers, making a statement on her debut.
Miller’s first came from a 16-yard hit. Sarah Towers found Becky Whitman on the right, her first time ball to Francesca Ratcliffe saw her take on several players and pass to Mandi Bell, who struck the ball across the top of the D to Judith Hind, drawing the keeper then slipping to the waiting Miller.
The second was a similar play from Ali Gill in midfield to the same play makers.
Karen Wignall made it 3-0 minutes later, Lucy Day crossing the ball to Cathy Killgallon on the back line, who passed to Wignall to slot home.
A penalty corner saw Amy Trickett get her second of the season. Trickett injected to top D, following up the initial strike on the near post.
Naylor’s goal came from a Killgallon assist, keeping the ball in on the back line and pulling it back to the flick spot for Naylor to nutmeg the keeper.
Pendle’s pressure continued in the second half. Hind got on the scoresheet, followed by another from Wignall minutes later.
Another penalty corner saw Trickett inject short to Killgallon on slip, her straight strike rebounding off the boards at the far post for Pendle’s eighth.
Killgallon, not content wit two assists and a goal, fired home the ninth from great interlinking play in the D.
A depleted Forest third team failed to stop a strong Lytham first team in their away fixture.
Forest were on the back foot from the word go to a young, fit and fast Lytham.
They trailed 1-0 at half-time, and Lytham added a second before Claire Woodcock pulled one back.
Lytham scored a third in the second half.