Pendle Forest extended their unbeaten start to the Investec Womens Hockey League Conference North season with a 4-2 win over Timperley on Saturday.
And that means they have now lost only one of their last 100 outings!
Forest and Timperley were joint third on equal points before the game, and the visitors stretched Forest in the first few minutes with diversity and tempo.
Against the initial run of play, Forest gained the first penalty corner.
A deceptive pass by Lisa Crewe from the top of the D was converted by Thea Cormack, with a deflection at the right post across the goalkeeper with only two minutes gone.
Despite this, Forest were under the cosh in defence with Timperley showing more eagerness to steal the ball.
They came close to an equaliser when a one on one in the D produced a flick over a Forest defender, narrowly clearing the bar.
Towards the end of the quarter, Forest gained the upper hand again when Steph Bedford’s quick reactions followed up on an initial shot, putting Forest further in the driving seat.
Timperley’s efforts finally paid off when a penalty corner slip allowed a powerful flick to fly past the defence into the net, making it 2-1 at the end of the first quarter.
Timperley continued to test keeper Laura Kendal, and she managed to parry a shot onto an opposition foot, keeping Forest ahead at the half time break.
With all still to play for, Timperley gained a penalty corner, and a drag flick at goal drew a defending stick to block, but instead helped deflect the ball past the keeper, levelling the score at 2-2.
Forest needed to dig deep and tracking back by player of the match Liv Bythell helped retrieve the ball and play Timperley at their own game.
Openings came down the left, with link up play from Sam Parker, Hayley Baines and Crewe testing the Timperley defence and rewarding Forest with a penalty corner.
Crewe made the conversion with a drag flick inside the left post.
Shortly after, quick stick work in the D allowed Cormack to earn a penalty flick, when the ball was stopped on the line by a defender’s leg. Crewe stepped up and gave Forest a 4-2 lead.
Into the last quarter, Forest had to see out the game.
The defence were tested but organised.
Freya Bythell was green carded for not being five metres, but with the pressure off, Thea Cormack held the ball in the corner, drawing in several players and running down time.
Soon after she followed up on another penalty corner deflection only to see the goal disallowed, but Forest were jubilant to secure the win.
Pendle seconds remain top of the table after a win at promoted Lancaster Nomads.
Pendle started sluggishly, allowing Nomads to press high and control the match.
Defending several penalty corners, Pendle were finally undone after losing Mawgan Naylor for breaking the line, a scrappy goalmouth scramble seeing the ball hitting the post twice before being nudged in.
Pendle moved up a gear after conceding and started to play their own match, receiving penalty corner after penalty corner, though none were converted.
A through ball to an unmarked player in Pendle’s 23 produced a one on one with Pendle’s keeper Jayne Kirkpatrick, who came out on top.
Going into the second half in deficit, Pendle knew they had to step up a gear.
Pendle were finally rewarded with a goal from a penalty corner. Cathy Killgallon injected to Janet Mitchell-Stanworth at the top of the D, and her straight strike deflected left to Lucy Daye, who nutmegged the keeper, striking the backboard.
Pendle continued to press. Brilliant play in midfield and good runs and stick work from player of the match Zoe Kidney, carved the defence open, creating several chances in the D, and from yet another penalty corner, for a foul on Amy Trickett, Trickett surprised the defence by injecting the ball to slip, Killgallon’s first time strike going across goal and in at the far post.
In front for the first time, Pendle controlled the play for the last 20 minutes but with no extra goals.
Pendle Forest thirds lost 2-1 to Longridge seconds in an emmotionally charged match, as Longridge brought a mass of supporters in a fitting tribute to a team mate who passed away suddenly.
Despite fine performaces from Pendle individuals, particularly player of the match, Lehanna Taylor, the locals just did not gel as a team, with a goal from Ann-Marie Lambertt – a tap-in after Cath Hutchinson squared across the D – not quite enough for Forest.