PENDLE Forest Firsts finally returned to action after the long winter break to host a well-trained Durham side who beat them on the opening day of the season.
And in the pouring rain and freezing winds, Forest were caught in the cold as they slipped to a fifth defeat of the season to stay one place bottom of the Vitality Women’s Conference North.
At first Durham struggled to even reach the D on several occasions and it was Forest whose attacking spirit found itself just short of catching a first goal with Charlotte Hartley just wide of the post.
In the second quarter, it was clear that Durham’s tactical plan was to put the ball directly at a Forest foot in the D, handing themselves a penalty corner. With the defensive line unseen, Durham placed a neat ball into the right post allowing his post player to ease the ball into the goal.
A player injury for Forest saw substitute Morgan Naylor in left back and Sam Parker moved into midfield. The home side pushed ahead and a mixture of runs from Thea Cormack and Alice Charles as well as overhead balls thrown into the D by Freya Bythell, still failed to get Pendle Forest past the excellent movement of the Durham goalkeeper.
Much like the weather, Durham were upbeat and physical on the day and despite a barrage of batting tackles from them, it was Forest’s Freya Bythell who was green-carded.
In the last minute of the third quarter, Durham were awarded a penalty corner and after a scramble in front of goal the ball luckily fell on one of the visitor’s unmarked players at the back post who tapped in to make it 2 -0.
The tireless work of Liv Bethel, Sam Parker and Morgan really didn’t deliver much of Durham’s attacking play in the final quarter, despite a constant turnover of a collection of subs.
They finally managed to sneak past on a break and another corner was given and despite a clean save from keeper Freya Bennet there was no chance to grab the rebound which flew into the back of the net. to complete the score. Forest have a big game this afternoon when they travel to a Fylde side who are only one place above them in the table.
PENDLE FOREST 2NDS 0
LANCASTER UNI 1ST 1
PENDLE Forest Seconds were back in full for visiting league leaders Lancaster University.
Not repeating the mistakes of previous weeks, Pendle started on the front foot and narrowly missed the lead in the opening minutes after earning a penalty corner, the keeper deflecting the ball away from an expecting Judith Hind on the post for a faucet.
Francesca Ratcliffe and Cath Hutchinson came closest to scoring in the first half with a few one-on-ones with the keeper and a controversial goal disallowed by Hutchinson after the referee whistled early not allowing the advantage in front of goal .
The second half proved more difficult for Pendle against the onslaught of the elements rather than the opposition. The wind picked up and heavy rain sank energy levels, giving Lancaster the chance they needed. A penalty corner was given and hit clean under a diver Jayne Kirkpatrick to give the visitors the advantage against the run of play.
Pendle’s work rate never went down, pressing high, passing players and good ownership of space. Emily Dunleavy scored her player offside and player of the match, Lehanna Taylor’s effort to clip a ball down the right that ended in a forward roll to the side of the field.
Kirkpatrick made two more decisive saves to keep Pendle in contention, but an equalizer was not equalized in a game that Pendle felt deserved at least a point. The Seconds will travel to Kirkby Stephen this afternoon.
n Pendle Forest Thirds will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host Longridge after last weekend’s 7-0 defeat at Lancaster Seconds.