It was with some excitement that Blackpool kicked off their 2004 season with a friendly against the old foe of Preston. The squad was assembled with some big names missing, but some new names ready to take the fight to the opposition. The captain warned of complacency and demanded Blackpool quickly got into the game and did not allow Preston to play. For much of the first half that is exactly what he got.
Fluid passing and quick one touch moves saw Blackpool moving the ball about from one end to the other. Boniface, Gettings and Abbott linking well in defence and Whitley and Wright showing good form on the flanks. Morrow did raise his voice on more than one occasion when the defence failed to pick up men after Preston changed formation. Up front Morgan and the returning veteran Warren showed good work but the partnership is yet to completely bond.
The second half saw the skipper take himself off, unheard of in recent years, to watch the play from the touch line. This brought about three juniors getting a well deserved half, Mike, Ashley and Leonard all did what was asked of them in the face of mounting Preston pressure. Wave after wave of white shirts saw the Pool defence stretched to breaking point. With 4 minutes to go Preston scored but the goal was disallowed, this seemed to spur Preston on and in the dieing seconds a shot from the top of the D saw the ball slide under the keeper.
All in all a good start to the season against very good, committed opposition. Many players stood out during the 70 minutes but none more than Mitch, who was quite brilliant in goal and Jack Boniface who is putting in performances that warrant automatic inclusion in any starting 11.
© Kieron Morrow 13/9/04