Blackpool entertained Carlisle at Stanley Park for an early push back with a team falling apart from injuries and man-flu but could at least pick from a squad of 15 whereas Carlisle had to make do with only 10. In fact each of Blackpool’s three man defence had assorted ailments and only the brave central defender lasted the whole 70 minutes.
Blackpool started the stronger with some fine passing moves and attacking play on the new sand-dressed pitch. A first goal came from one of these moves after some great running from right winger James Slater who crossed to David Wright to strike firmly past the Carlisle goalie. Attacks came at both ends, and whilst Carlisle could not convert from several short corner chances, Blackpool counter-attacked successfully and David Wright scored his second after some great interplay with Jack Boniface.
Blackpool were unlucky not to go three up after the ball crossed the goal-line after a scramble in the Carlisle D, however the umpire decided that no Blackpool stick had touched the ball following the initial strike outside the D. Carlisle continued to attack themselves and Blackpool were forced to defend resolutely against further short corners.
On the stroke of half-time, Carlisle caught Blackpool on the break, with a striker going round a defender on the back line splitting the defence enabling the ball to be slipped back to an unmarked player for an easy goal. Yet again Blackpool had conceded at a vital time, however they were still confident of winning as the second half started.
Carlisle had other thoughts and had numerous attacks but the Blackpool line held steady, with keeper Nick Rainbow in impressive form. Finally an equalising goal was conceded when a Carlisle strike was unluckily deflected off Joe Boniface’s stick up and over the diving Rainbow.
The rest of the game saw attacks and short corners at both ends of the pitch with both sides desperate to win the three points on offer but in the end both sides had to settle for a draw. It was however a good natured battling game, ignoring the last minute handbags from the usual suspects. Another two points were there to be won and the solitary point is not enough to lift Blackpool from being 2nd bottom and so they will be part of the relegation battle for the remainder of the season, and the rearranged match with Sale on 10th January will be a crucial six-pointer.
Kudos for the Carlisle hardcore who dressed as Santas after their showers, came back for the post match grub before an inevitable messy evening in Blackpool’s nightclubs, especially as it was only mid afternoon. However Blackpool’s Smurfs the weekend before were a more impressive sight (proof available on Facebook).