After a long Festive break, Pendle Forest returned to play at their nearest rival contenders in the league, Ben Rhydding, claiming their 45th-successive win to go nine points clear in North Hockey Women’s League Division 1.
Being on home turf, Ben Rhydding started the more comfortable of the two teams.
Forest started off very defensively, and although playing deep, they were patiently waiting for an opening, which came when Lisa Crewe managed to convert a penalty corner and put Forest 1-0 up.
Nearer half-time, Ben Rhydding had a penalty corner of their own, which ended up in the back of the net, but was deemed to have deflected in off a foot of one of their players and was disallowed.
With frustration beginning to rise, the home team became more physical and were warned just on the half-time whistle.
Forest now had more of a hold on the game, and although Olivia Bythell was green carded for continuing play after the whistle had blown, Forest soon extended their lead when once again Crewe converted the penalty corner when the ball deflected up off a stick and found the roof of the net.
Ben Rhydding continued to push forward as a unit, and they showed some skilful play, although the Forest midfield and defence, in particular player of the match Deb Bythell, were disciplined and accurate.
They forced Ben Rhydding back out, regularly thwarting their attacks.
Determination from both teams saw Hayley Baines in a collision with a home defender, resulting in a head injury, forcing both players to the sidelines.
Baines was then involved in a green card incident and on the sideline once again, along with an opposition defender. A general warning from the umpires then followed for both teams to calm down.
Ben Rhydding finally tested keeper Laura Kendal with a stunning strike off the back foot but, still alert, she made the save and cleared the lines.
Crewe then sent a long ball to Charlotte Hartley whose tireless running and skill finally paid off when she took on the keeper and slotted the ball away to make it 3-0.
Forest host Bowdon Ladies seconds on Saturday.