Forest complete perfect season – now for the play-offs!

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Pendle Forest completed the perfect campaign as they won their re-arranged fixture at home to Lancaster 4-0 to finish the season with 22 wins from 22 games in the North Hockey Women’s League Division 2 North West, for the second-successive year.

After last week’s abandoned fixture, due to a waterlogged pitch, Lancaster travelled down again, this time with a game plan.

They seemed to favour the right hand side of the pitch with their early breakaways. but Forest had a plan of their own. and found a breakthrough after 15 minutes when excellent stickwork by Charlotte Hartley at the top of the D found Kayleigh Vickers at the back post, for her to neatly slot the first goal away.

Without further ado, a lay-off from Hayley Baines gave Freya Bythell the chance to drive into the D, and without a challenge, gave her time on the ball to produce a lightning shot, striking the ball high into the net.

Lancaster kept battling hard, and after an altercation both teams found themselves down to 10 players, with Olivia Bythell and her counterpart green carded.

Following a mix up on the side line, Forest were then down to nine when Wignall was also green carded for coming onto the field of play too early at a substitution.

Leading 2-0 at half-time, Forest found themselves level with the number of goals scored from their previous season, but still with work to do.

It wasnt long before Baines, in open play, swept the ball in with her classic reverse stick action, beating the keeper with speed and precision.

Lancaster set the press in the second half, but Forest still managed to find the gaps out from defence and smoothly up to the forward line, frustrating the opponents.

This caused them to bundle over a couple of the Forest players, but then a quick free hit by Crewe on the left side of midfield deceptively found player of the match Freya Bythell running in at speed at the far post, and sliding the ball through the narrowest of gaps to make the score 4-0.

Further aggravation from Lancaster led to a yellow card sending off for verbal dissent. and with little time left, Forest saw out the win to make them undoubted division champions.

Forest now face the promotion play-offs, as they host Boston Spa on April 8th, before a trip to Cheshire to face Deeside Ramblers on the 22nd, and, finally, take on Morpeth at Wakefield on the 29th.