Following the 3 day round trip which culminated in defeat to West Cumbria in the previous week, Captain Bancroft pleased the legions of fans in attendance by selecting an attacking 4-3-3 formation, which hopefully would play to Blackpool’s attacking nature.
Blackpool got off to a shaky start, possibly a hangover from the previous weeks excursion, and Morecambe threatened the Blackpool goal. However as the opening passages continued, the early misplaced passes from the Blackpool midfield slowly started to click, and following good work down the left from Craig (aka Carlos Puyol, fresh from International duty away to Belgium) the ball was fed to a rejuvenated Andy Mortimer who made space down the left before picking out James Slater to slot the ball home and relieve the early pressure.
In the next attack, Blackpool earned a short corner, and following a textbook injection from Paul Atherton, Alex Diver struck the ball into the bottom right hand corner. Blackpool then took advantage of a shell shocked Morecambe side, with 2 goals in 2 minutes, Sean Lester capitalizing on a goal mouth scramble, followed by a goal from Alex Diver who benefited from good work down the right by Matthew Atherton and James Slater, before firing in.
Captain Bancroft made his first power play of the game, with Ben Mortimer replacing Matt Atherton for his 2nd team debut, and within 3 minutes Ben Mortimer found himself on the end of a Chris Hocking slip. Blackpool’s momentum carried on, as Chris Hocking placed the ball into the top corner, and James Slater scored with a trademark finish to take the tally to seven. Not to be out-done by the younger Mortimer, Andy Mortimer took the score to eight following a jinxing run, before rounding the keeper and hitting the backboard.
25 minutes in and the Blackpool defence were brought into action as Morecambe tried to play themselves back into the game. Bancroft and Cain soaked up a lot of pressure, however following a defensive mix-up, Morecambe capitalized on fortune, and slotted the ball past the stranded Kilshaw. Bancroft, who expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision to allow play to go on, earned a 10 minute rest.
With Blackpool down to 10 men (temporarily), they settled to a more defensive formation, however nobody had told Chris Hocking, as after picking up a defensive clearance he fed the ball through to James Slater who sealed his hat-trick with just 30 minutes gone. Slater then repaid the favour moments later as Chris Hocking made it 10-1 just before the break. A Solid start for The Pool, with the defence of Taylor, Bancroft, Cain, Rowe and Puyol keeping it tight, allowing the midfield and strikers to get on with the job in hand.
Blackpool started the second period as they did the initial half, weathering a Morecambe storm, however a great performance from Rob Cain, ensured Kilshaw a quiet day at the office. When called upon however Graeme Kilshaw made some important saves, including one delightful diving number off a penalty corner.
Once again it was a counter attack that allowed the tangerine wizards to increase their lead. Alex Diver linked up well with Paul Atherton before the ball fell to Chris Hocking who took three bites at the cherry before he became the second man of the afternoon to have to buy a jug. Within 3 minutes the Blackpool Cricket Club profits were going to be receiving a much needed cash injection as Chris Hocking earned Blackpool a penalty stroke, with Umpire Wright adjudging a Morecambe defender had used his foot on the goal-line. Alex Diver stepped up to slot the penalty stroke into the left hand side, to make it a hat-trick of hat-tricks, 12-1.
Another penalty corner ensured that it was thirteen for Blackpool, as Andy Mortimer played the defence a happy tune, as he dummied the pass when stopping, drew the ball right before taking the strike himself. Blackpool weren’t happy with their tally as Vice-Captain Paul Atherton re-introduced himself into the game, and found himself on the end of a ball from the right, created after good link-up play from Phil Taylor and both Mortimer’s. Blackpool sealed the game and made it a fantastic fifteen when Andy Mortimer became the fourth hat-trick hero when taking advantage of some good advantage play from the Umpires.
The scoreline wa harsh on Morecambe who played well in the second half; however a Blackpool side with a point to prove to the doubters rallied well following a disappointing defeat to Keswick in the previous round of matches. With other results going Blackpool’s way, the Tangerines see themselves sitting at the top of the table.
© Alex Diver 19/10/08