Pendle Phoenix entertained high-flying Thornton Cleveleys searching for a prized scalp as they attempted to cement their top three place in North Lancs Two.

However, they faced a Thornton side in dominate mood who took full advantage of a Phoenix team who were missing several key players.

Pendle were looking to build on their recent success with back-to-back victories over Eagle and Crosby St Marys that had taken them up to third in the table.

But with five players out due to work and family commitments, they knew it would be an uphill struggle.

Phoenix were attacking on the back foot but Rob Lawless and James Redford were able to find small holes in the Thornton defence. However on each occasion these were quickly closed and excellent cover defence kept Pendle at bay.

But Thornton began to penetrate Pendle’s defence and they were soon 19-0 up.

Phoenix weren’t going down without a fight and after strong runs from Sterling Ross, Jay Ashger and Liam Canning, Pendle found themselves in the Thornton 22 and James Redford scored in the corner.

Thornton hit back with a fourth try to make it 24-5 but back came Pendle and after Stu Riley was held up short of the line, Redford was on hand to collect the ball and score his second try of the game. Rob Lawless was unable to add the extras but Pendle reduced the arrears to 24-10.

With the last play of the game Pendle were looking to see the game out but Thornton had other ideas. And they scored a soft try and added the extras as the referee blew the whistle to seal a 31-10 victory.