Garstang Ladies Hockey Club 1sts hosted Pendle in a table-top North Division Two clash and it was the visitors who came away with a narrow 1-0 victory.
The Reds started hesitantly with some poor passing and were pushed back by Pendle’s pace and good positional play.
They conceded the first of several penalty corners after only two minutes and Pendle scored from a ball that had not left the D, 15-year-old Freya Bythell on target.
Two minutes later the ball was again taken early but fortunately Garstang defended well. Alanis Parkinson in the Garstang goal was in top form and settled well.
Donna Richardson made the first of several excellent clearances for the top of the D and Georgie Brumwell and Lindsay Thornhill were absorbing a wave of strong attacks by Pendle.
After repeated penalty corners, Rebecca Worthington broke free and mounted the first good Garstang attack.
An excellent move up the wing by Brumwell reached Richardson who beat a Pendle defender with her stick skills.
University student Lily Helme came on after a long absence from the team and her sheer pace, added to that of Kiery Horne, was at last a counterbalance to Pendle’s pace.
After 20 minutes, Helme made a great reverse-stick shot on goal that prompted a good save by Pendle’s keeper.
Parkinson made a good save on her post and Worthington made some threatening attacking runs and was joined by a resurgent Thornhill.
Garstang started the second half with much better movement but conceded an early penalty corner, which was well cleared by Richardson. Another Pendle penalty corner shot was cleared well by Parkinson and moments later she made a good foot save and powerful clearance.
Helme had a superb turn and hit in the D but the shot just went past the left post.
Pendle then won a corner and put a wayward shot well over the bar.
This was a hard game for Garstang against the strongest team in the division and their fightback was almost rewarded.
But the visitors held on to claim the points.