Blackpool Men’s 1s 3-1 Bangor University Men’s 1st

by Peter Latimer

Having played over 350 minutes of hockey without a win, Blackpool needed to make some drastic changes in order to stabalise and find their equilibrium in Division 3 for this season. Blackpool had a full strength side and so it became rich pickings for Captain Kieron Morrow who had no choice other than to change the formation of the team to try for a win. With changes across the middle and on front Blackpool started of well, taking to full advantage the sublime pace of Stanley Park’s surface. After losing 4-0 away to a similar side two months previously the home side knew it was not going to be easy to overcome a side favouring long and quick passes. However, the lack of fitness from Bangor saw them lose the ball on many an occasion to a passionate Tangerine side. Time after time Blackpool broke down both flanks to penetrate the opositions ‘D’. A brave keeper dispatched shots from front-man Dave Morgan and backup, K Morrow. Eventually, a short corner was rewarded and the trio of K Morrow, Abbott and Gerard worked well to gift Gerard a smooth shot into the back board. 1-0 down, Bangor were beginning to look ever more unstable in the middle, often relying on the single central playmaker who was always crowded out or tackled by the new partnership of L Morrow and Pasqualino with a touch of authority. Minutes after the first goal, Blackpool were rewarded with another short corner, this time, Gerards shot being saved on the line by a defender. Towards the end of the first half, Blackpool were becoming frustrated due to the flurry of chances they were gifted, with only one to show for it, voices were becoming raised. Two minutes to go, a free hit on the edge of the ‘D’ resulted in a close goalmouth scramble involving keeper Kilshaw and his defence and several desperate Bangor players. Despite brave Gettings’ best efforts, the ball was jabbed over the line to level the scores. The second half, with the sun low in their eyes, Blackpool began a little shaky, letting Bangor close to the goal several times. Heads now firmly screwed on after the initial scares, Blackpool began to play with the passion they are famous for. Bangor were becoming more and more weary and the new formation Blackpool had employed was beginning to pay off with a lot of play in the oppositions half, soon rewarding several short corners. Now, Blackpool pushed too hard to Bangor’s dislike and led once again through a similar goal from Gerard much to the delight of the crowds assembled around the pitch. Blackpool were playing like they had done at the beginning of the season creating several one-on-ones for Morgan but with quick defenders Morgan was rushed to pushing wide. A run down the right flank from Whitley picked out K Morrow who turned his bemused defender and shot past the keeper to give Blackpool a much needed and much deserved two goal cushion. Playing more defensively to stem the flow of the advancing Blackpool, Boniface and Chadwick both had shots deflected away. The sideline was much relieved to see Wright miss a diving open net to stretch Blackpool’s lead. Late on, Bangor had a second wind which for the last five minutes saw the midfield and defence stretched, but good tackling from Woodman, Latimer and Man Of The Match, Abbott kept the ball well away from the goal. Now middle of the table with a little more breathing space, Blackpool travel to South Cheshire, one place below in another must win game. On Sunday Blackpool play in the semi-finals of the Lancashire Cup after a fantastic run of victories, against Second Division Urmston which will certainly prove to be a difficult game.

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