Having clinched their third promotion in three seasons last week, Blackpool travelled to top of the table Preston. With the league title at stake, neither team could afford to relax in the knowledge that promotion was already a certainty. A beautiful sunny day greeted the Blackpool players as they arrived at the Preston home pitch. Several of the away side, thinking they were back at the seaside, reached for their buckets and spades and began making sand castles on the very slow rather heavily dosed sand based pitch – a far cry from the superbly fast water based pitch Blackpool are used to playing on.
The team talk at the start of the game included “No short corners – we know how well rehearsed Preston are at short corners”. After 10 minutes and 15 Preston short corners, Blackpool were 2-0 down. The score remained at 2-0 until the break. Blackpool rarely threatening to enter the Preston half of the pitch, let alone put the defence and keeper under pressure. Preston winning 74 further short corners before the half time whistle blew.
The second half was much the same – constant pressure from the Preston midfield and forwards. Blackpool went down to 10 men when first Dan Woodman limped off with a pulled hamstring, shortly followed by Sean Lester with the same injury. With only one sub, Blackpool were left struggling further. Several more short corners later, and a couple of goals from open play and Preston finished at 5-0. Preston promoted as champions and Blackpool finishing in second place. No excuses for a poor performance from the Blackpool team, a disappointing outcome to what promised to be a real hum-dinger!