Pendle Forest entertained Fylde at the weekend – the closest thing they will have to a local derby in this division – and came away with the win.
The visitors came out all guns blazing and forced goalkeeper Laura Kendall to make some early saves, including a diving stick save at a penalty corner.
Forest had breaks of their own when Lisa Crewe sent some crossfield balls to Thea Cormack who travelled down the wing at speed sending in some useful crosses, creating chances in the D.
Into the second quarter, forwards Fran Ratcliffe and Hayley Baines were running well. Baines had an early chance at a penalty corner but the main focus up to half time was the evenly matched midfield battle.
After half-time, Forest seemed to get the upper hand as the opposition started to tire. Forest were able to find more space for the midfield to travel forwards and open up the game.
This was highlighted when Freya Bythell eliminated two players, drove to the back line, drawing out the goalkeeper and crossed the ball in for Steph Bedford to slap the ball into the back of the goal, putting Forest ahead.
It all came down to the last quarter and a crucial save by Kendall, from which she needed moments to recover, was vital for Forest to maintain their lead. Strong tackling in midfield then saw Liv Bythell sidelined with a yellow card but Forest held strong and stayed ahead with great clearances from man-of-the-match Crewe.
Forest were unlucky not to have two more goals when a well-timed deflection by Bedford glanced past the right post and a few minutes later, a super trap by Bedford again gave a chance to Baines whose shot just cleared the crossbar. All in all, it was a good test for the home side who once again came away with the three points.
Next week they play away to Cannock.
Forest thirds played Lancaster away and went down to a 3-1 defeat. The visitors began the better team but despite good play from Amy Maxwell, Claire Birkettand Emily Dunleavy, they were unable to break through the hosts’ defence.
Lancaster then pinned Forest back in their D for a good five minutes with four penalty corners being given for a variety of fouls, most it which were constructed by a crafty Lancaster front line.
It was only a matter of time before they scored, having cleared the D, the ball was hammered back in from outfield and clipped the stick to centre back, Rosie Southworth, sending if careering into the goal giving ‘keeper Jane Lofthouse no chance.
Forest rallied and played some nice passing hockey but could not find that killer ball to forwards Birkett and Rachel Bradley.
The Lancaster girls had the legs on Forest and used their speed to play quick one twos and they were shooting at Lofthouse again.
Lofty blocked well and cleared her lines but Lancaster cut out the ball and hammered it back in.
This time it struck the stick of skipper, Paula Markham, and crossed the line making it 2-0 at the half time whistle.
Forest again started the half well knowing they were capable of coming back if they played the hockey they did in their last match.
The introduction of player manager Ann Marie Lambert, and her enthusiasm helped, as did the fine defending from stand in sweeper Hannah Tofalos but it was Robynne Plants outstanding performance who deservedly took player of the match running tirelessly throughout.
Despite Forest looking the better side they couldn’t break down Lancaster who earned yet another penalty corner.
It was well worked but Lofty cleared the first strike with a sliding block, the clearance was followed up with another strike which struck Lofty’s helmet and soared into the net making it 3-0.
Never-say-die Forest came back again and deservedly got on the score sheet with a fine team goal that knocked spots off the Lancaster goals.
Tofalos linked in with Robynne Plant who hammered a straight ball to Lambert, who controlled well and splayed left for Cath Hutchinson who ran past her counter part with ease to send a diagonal to Birkett who had made the perfect striker’s run where she collected, turned, and slotted the ball past the keeper.