Blackpool got off to a dream start after Rob Abbott stormed through the midfield into the D, slipped the ball past the oncoming keeper to Dave Morgan who scuffed at the ball and was lucky to see it trickle into the goal with no Bolton defenders around. As the Bolton captain was overheard shouting at his team “that’s the softest goal ever”.
Minutes later Bolton broke on a counter attack, and with the Blackpool defence playing too high it left a one-on-one between Bolton’s captain and Blackpool’s keeper Graeme Kilshaw. Kilshaw slid out and got possession of the ball but unfortunately also decapitated the Bolton forward at the same time. With the attacker prone and emitting groaning noises, the umpires confered, awarded a penalty flick and gave Kilshaw a yellow card. Pete Latimer bravely took up the mantle of becoming kicking back, and in his first task with the goalie’s helmet on, he stood on the line thinking he could be a hero and stop the equalizer. Alas it was not to be with the flick firmly struck straight into the centre of the goal.
The score was kept at 1-1 whilst Blackpool were down to 10 men with some resolute defending from the whole team. Once Kilshaw was back on the pitch, Blackpool attacked in waves, with two more goals following in a short space of time, both from Steve Whitley in a new role as striker, assisted by Dave Morgan and James Slater respectively. Bolton were obviously surprised and riled and began to argue with the umpires’ decisions.
At half-time, Blackpool felt that the game was theirs with a vital three points, however they under-estimated the passion and commitment of Bolton. They were sucked into playing an expansive game, with large holes all over the pitch. Gradually Bolton started to gain momentum and won several short corners. They eventually scored from one of these pushing the ball underneath the goalie.
Now just one goal behind, Bolton pressed harder, Blackpool struggled to retain possession, and it was almost inevitable that Bolton were to score an equaliser. With less than ten minutes remaining, Blackpool tried to regain the lead, and were close on a couple of occasions. Bolton also pressed for the win but in the end both sides had to settle for a point.
The point has lifted Blackpool off the bottom of the league, on goal difference, but they are still three points from theoretical safety, and it was more like two points dropped rather than one gained. One can only hope that the absense of the Boniface and Morrow brothers on a cheap skiing holiday has not cost the team vital points that could save them from relegation.
© Peter Latimer 28/1/08