Pendle Forest came from two goals down to win at Doncaster and maintain their 100% start to the season.
Forest travelled to Doncaster for their third fixture of the season, expecting a tough game, knowing that their opponents finished third in the league last year.
They started brightly, putting Doncaster under some early pressure.
Charlotte Hartley picked the ball up in midfield, took on the Doncaster defence and found herself one-on-one with the keeper.
The Doncaster keeper narrowed the angle, making Hartley put the ball wide of the post.
The Forest midfielders and forwards were dominant, Lisa Crewe and Hartley combining, with only the Doncaster keeper keeping them in the game.
Then excellent work in the midfield by Liv Bythell saw her play the ball through to Hartley, who beat her defender and crossed to Bythell, who went in for a sliding deflection, but again just wide.
Against the run of play, Doncaster took the lead when Forest keeper Laura Kendall saved the first short corner shot, but the second corner found the back board.
This is the first time this season that Forest had found themselves behind.
Doncaster put Forest under some serious pressure for a good 10 minutes, without really creating any clear cut chances.
Thea Cormack’s commitment in the tackle and quick stick skill enabled her to beat the Doncaster defenders for pace, setting up numerous Forest attacks.
Forest won themselves a succession of short corners, and Steph Bedford went close, but Forest couldn’t find the goal and went into the break 1-0 behind.
Forest came out strong and for 10 minutes were pressing Doncaster, but yet again, against the run of play, Doncaster went 2-0 up with a bobbling shot that beat the Forest defence.
The game became a physical battle at times, but Forest heads didn’t drop at any point.
Hartley broke into the Doncaster D and was cynically fouled and awarded a penalty flick.
Crewe stepped up and confidently put the penalty high into the back of the net.
Forest grew in confidence and within two minutes equalised.
Sam Parker fed the ball into Hartley down the left hand side, who in turn found Crewe at the back post and again coolly lifted the ball over the keeper into the back of the net.
Doncaster were shell shocked, and a midfield battle ensued.
The Forest defence found themselves getting involved with both the Doncaster forwards and the crowd as the game got more intense.
Forest earned themselves a short corner, and Freya Bythell gave them the lead with a well-practised drag flick routine.
Doncaster then had a couple of short corners but the Forest defence held strong.
Freya Bythell found herself sin binned with a green card for breaking down play, and one of the Doncaster players was also yellow carded for a series of offences.
Forest ran time down by keeping possession, frustrating the Doncaster side.
Man of the match was Thea Cormack.
Pendle Forest entertain Didsbury Northern tomorrow, kick-off 11-30 a.m. at Marsden Heights.
Meanwhile, Pendle Forest second team were away on Saturday against top of the league Longridge.
The home team started strongly and scored within minutes, despite strong defending by Mawgan Naylor, as their strongest player produced a reverse stick finish from close range under sliding keeper Jayne Kirkpatrick, a carbon copy of a goal in last year’s fixture.
Heads remained high and Forest pressed high to force Longridge into a defensive position.
A key defence error, just before half-time, led to a penalty flick which was clinically dispatched by Cathy Kilgallon, nutmegging the keeper.
Forest started the second half strongly, controlling the run of play and creating chances.
A penalty stroke was awarded to Longridge, who failed to convert, pushing past the post, but covered by the keeper.
Longridge battled in the goalmouth on several penalty corners, denying Forest another goal to clinch the victory.
A closely-fought match, was played in excellent spirits, and a draw was a fair result for both teams.
Player of the match was Naylor.