Leaders Pendle Forest were held at Harrogate in the North Hockey Women’s League Division 1 on Saturday, but extended their unbeaten run to an astonishing 70 games in the process!
Two wins for closest rivals Newcastle University over the weekend saw their lead cut to four points, but Forest still have a game in hand and two wins from their last four games would be enough for the title, on the back of last year’s promotion success.
This away fixture against Harrogate featured many twists and turns.
Forest appeared comfortable in the first half, although they were finding it difficult to penetrate the packed Harrogate defence.
Charlotte Hartley did get through on goal once, but an earlier infringement was blown before she could take the shot.
Freya Bythell also had an early opportunity from a short corner, but her drag flick just went over the crossbar.
Harrogate continued to intercept the ball well, upsetting the Forest flow, but were unable to put the Forest goal under any pressure and Laura Kendall had no shots to save in a goalless first half.
The second half saw Harrogate come out with more force, and they imposed themselves on the game with a strong stint of play, edging forward towards the Forest goal.
Forest were being out thought and out played, and were lucky to find the breakthrough from a rare short corner after 55 minutes when Freya Bythell sent a ball to Olivia Bythell on the right hand side of the D, and she slapped the ball past the goalkeeper.
Forest needed to work harder, and the game became more physical.
Olivia Bythell saw the sideline for two minutes for dissent, and immediately following this, a shot off the back foot found its way across the goal and into the back of the net to equalise for Harrogate.
With tempers flaring, a Harrogate player was sin binned for not being the required five metres away at free hit.
Forest were eager to keep up the tempo in this period of play, but a quickly taken free hit was deemed dangerous, and this time, Steph Bedford saw the sideline from a green card, but this was upgraded to a yellow in her way for further dissent.
Despite Forests efforts to push on further, the Harrogate defence stood firm and saw out the game for a 1-1 draw.
On Saturday, Forest play Leeds Adel, at 11-30 a.m. at Marsden Heights Community College.