Title dream dies for Pendle Forest in final day title decided at Wakefield

​Pendle Forest’s dream of lifting the league title was ended in a final day title decider at Wakefield.
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The hosts and league leaders, who were sitting three points above their visitors ahead of the match, were too strong as they sealed a 4-1 win to be crowned champions.

They wanted the early goal and coach Ian Bythell started with an attacking formation. They gained a penalty corner in the first few minutes but were unable to convert, they then found themselves on the receiving end of the pressure at the opposite end of the pitch quite quickly.

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In the D, goalkeeper Freya Bennett went out to make the initial save but Wakefield had another chance lifting the ball and hitting a defender’s body on the line which forced a penalty stroke. They converted and Forest were a goal down.

Pendle Forest go behind to Wakefield (photos: Ian Bythell)Pendle Forest go behind to Wakefield (photos: Ian Bythell)
Pendle Forest go behind to Wakefield (photos: Ian Bythell)

A few minutes later, another penalty corner saw Bennett come off her line quickly and did an excellent diving save, the rebound fell fortunately for the home side and this time they lobbed the goalkeeper and stunned Forest into being two goals down in only the first quarter.

Forest tried to find the outlets in the second quarter, reaching Cathy Kilgallen and Charlotte Hartley upfront, but the Wakefield defence were making it difficult.

They also protected the middle well. Sam Parker, Lisa Crewe, and Hartley began to find the cracks and gain ground but against the run of play Wakefield took the ball down the other end and put another goal away making it 3-0.

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Not deterred after coming back recently from a three nil down position in a match, Forest were determined to get into the game in the third quarter.

Pendle Forest on the attackPendle Forest on the attack
Pendle Forest on the attack

Bedford came close to scoring, with gasps from the crowd when she hit the post after some close passing skills at the top of the D between herself, Hartley, and Cormack.

Back at the other end of the pitch Wakefield were in action again, and when Forest could not find the clearance Wakefield scored their fourth goal.

Forest never gave up as they haven’t all season and seconds before the final whistle, the umpire blew for a penalty corner. The whole team moved up to the edge of the D, Crewe fired it into the zone in front of goal and Freya Bythell deflected the ball in for a consolation goal for Forest.

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The third team travelled to Lytham to meet their second string at the sea front pitch and we well beaten 4-0.

Pendle Forest were beaten 4-1 by WakefieldPendle Forest were beaten 4-1 by Wakefield
Pendle Forest were beaten 4-1 by Wakefield

The hosts were three places above Forest in the division so Forest knew it would be a tough day.

There was no doubt from the off that Lytham had a real home advantage with a very dry pitch which caused endless problems for Forest.

Lytham were as strong as expected so despite some great defending from Fiona Morrison and Anne Smith they soon took the lead.

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At 1-0, Forest were still in the game with the effort and skill of Annie Geoghegan and Eleonor Boyden clear to see.

Geoghegan and Boyden linked superbly to get a ball up to striker, Claire Birkett who just had the keeper to beat. Birkett carried well but the keeper was a match to the shot and Lytham were on the attack again.

The home side did score twice more before half time to put them three up much to the dismay of Forest who felt that decisions were repeatedly going against them.

The second half was much the same. Lytham had some great goalscoring opportunities but Lofthouse was a match for the repeated reverse stick strikes coming in from the left.

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Lytham followed up on one such strike and Smith literally put her body on the line when she dived to use her stick to clear the ball. However, a penalty flick was given as it was deemed that Smith used her body to block.

The Lytham striker took the flick well enough but Lofthouse blocked the shot to keep things at 3-0. As always Forest kept plugging away but sadly Lytham scored once more to make it 4-0.

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