Alderley Edge 2

Pendle Forest 2

PENDLE Forest ended another hugely successful season with a 2-2 draw at Alderley Edge - only the third time they have dropped points this season.

Having wrapped up the North Hockey Women’s League Premier Division title last week, Forest had little to play for but were up against an Alderley Edge side still in with a chance of securing promotion.

As expected, the home side started strongly and showed Forest their intentions from the off.

But the Forest defence held firm and midway through the first half, Lisa Crewe whipped in a ball in from the left that Charlotte Hartley controlled superbly and beat the keeper with an angled drive in to the roof of the net.

For a while, the play was contained to the centre of the pitch as both teams cancelled each other out, intercepting attempts to break through on goal. Alderley then hit back and having drawn out the Forest keeper there was a scramble of shots in the area before a solid block and clearance by Thea Cormack temporarily, took the pressure off the defence.

But minutes later the home side were awarded a penalty corner which was converted - the ball squeezing between the keeper and a stick on the stroke of half time.

After the break, Forest started to find gaps and were gaining more penalty corners, but it was in the D where they were struggling to break through.

Finally Crewe put Forest ahead again when she sent a straight strike in on goal which took a slight deflection off a defender’s foot.

With Alderley Edge trying to get back in the game, Forest showed great composure to keep them at bay - defending from the attacking line and keeping the shape with Hartley, Hayley Baines and Steph Bedford all heading the unit from the front.

This was backed up by a hard working midfield and a solid defence.

However, a lapse in concentration allowed Alderley Edge to win a penalty corner late in the game from which they scored to make it 2-2.

While Forest were disappointed not to win, a run of 18 wins, two draws and one defeat - which ended a remarkable run of 87 matches undefeated - has seen Pendle clinch a fifth successive league title and gain promotion to the National League for the first time in the club’s history.

This has still been a fantastic run of games for Pendle Forest and thanks should go to all coaches, club members and supporters who have been involved.

The season has now come to a close for the Firsts and Seconds while the Thirds complete their campaign at home Rossall on Saturday (12pm).

* Pendle Forest’s Annual General Meeting will be held at Belvedere Sports Club on Tuesday, April 2 at 7:15pm