Forest show real resilience to preserve their unbeaten run

Charlotte Hartley in action against Wakefield                                  PICTURES: Ian Bythell
Charlotte Hartley in action against Wakefield PICTURES: Ian Bythell
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Pendle Forest made it 83 league games without defeat – but had to do it the hard way, as they dropped points for the first time this season.

Forest went 2-0 down at home to second place Wakefield on Saturday, but fought back to draw 2-2 and remain out in front at the top of the North Hockey Women’s League Premier Division.

Hayley Baines in action against Wakefield                           PICTURES: Ian Bythell

Hayley Baines in action against Wakefield PICTURES: Ian Bythell

Straight away you could see Wakefield had a well-drilled team.

Plenty of running by the forwards and midfield stretched the Forest team all over the park.

They managed to start playing themselves back into the game, gaining a penalty corner, but, meanwhile, Forest had left themselves wide open at the back, and a quick clearance by Wakefield saw them play the ball down the wing, and with a three on one scenario, they squared the ball and the top D strike left the Forest keeper Laura Kendal with no chance.

Forest battled away through the first half, and quickly-taken free hits found Wakefield losing discipline, picking up two green cards for obstructing play at a free hit.

Tactically, by half-time, Forest were working better as a unit, and the opposition were only ahead by narrow margins.

Still with more to give, Forest came back out more composed in the second half, particularly player of the match Freya Bythell, who helped with possession and movement, beginning to slowly wear down the opposition.

Wakefield’s back line was still working hard, cutting out aerial balls as well some competitive aggression, making it difficult for Forest to push through on to the keeper.

Against the run of play, Wakefield travelled down the left wing and crossed, they got the touch and followed up on the loose ball, managing to edge it out of reach of the keeper and over the line.

By this point Wakefield had resorted to playing long balls up to the forwards and another opportunity arose when, they found themselves in on goal. Kendal came charging out and made a game-changing save.

Forest took the opportunity for a quick positive team talk by former England international Charlotte Hartley, with only 12 minutes to go.

Throwing everything at it, Forest took it up a level. A goal was needed and the opening came when the two forwards, Lisa Crewe and Hartley, connected seamlessly. Hartley took the ball to the back line, and in a one-two with Crewe, swept the ball into the back of the net.

Crewe finally found the outlet when she sent a deceptive pass from the sideline to Steph Bedford, who calmly wrong footed the defender and struck the ball, finding the back board.

Forest were elated to have got themselves back on a level playing field, and saw out the match for a well deserved 2-2 scoreline, having given all they could in that last 10 minutes.

Today, they travel away to Sheffield Hallam.

Elsewhere, Pendle Forest seconds beat their third team 7-1 on Saturday, dominating play from the whistle.

They openedg the scoring minutes in from open play with a goal from Amy Trickett, and a second came from Judith Hind from a similar play.

And it was 3-0 at half-time after Zoe Kidney executed a stunning cross to Hind, who calmly lifted the ball, reverse stick, into an open goal.

Pendle seconds started the second half as they’d finished the first, defender Mawgan Naylor scoring a rare goal from a pass from Kidney on the right.

Hind got her hat trick minutes later in a goal mouth scramble.

The thirds pulled one back when Rachael Bradley’s cross from the back line was deftly touched in by Claire Birkett, but the seconds added further goals from Hind and Kidney, from a straight strike, injected by Hind.