Blackpool went into their first game of 2009, knowing that anything less than a win would almost end their season at such an early stage. Following successive defeats to Promotion Rivals Leigh and Preston at the back end of 2008, Blackpool Seconds had to get back to winning ways.
Blackpool Seconds fielded their strongest line-up of the season after being able to include Irishman Simon Allen into their defence, and Jacob Currey in midfield in a bid to return to form.
Bolton, the visitors to Stanley Park started the brighter, even though they only had 9 players due to traffic issues, they played some good hockey in the opening encounters as Blackpool started sluggishly after having one too many portions of Turkey over the Christmas break. However within 10 minutes Blackpool started to play hockey, and after good work from the midfield both Strikers saw chances go close.
As Bolton’s remaining players made their way onto the pitch, the advantage that Blackpool no longer had, seem to actually encourage Blackpool to step up a gear, and after good play from the aforementioned Allen and Currie, Martin Hayes squared to Alex Diver for Diver to tap in a simple chance. Both teams continued to make chances as Half Time approached, however the defences were capable to withstand the pressure.
After Half Time, An Inspirational team talk from Captain Matt Bancroft, Pool set out of the blocks with intention. Within 10 minutes of the restart, Blackpool had extended their lead to three. First Alex Diver added a second after a reverse stick strike from 12 yards out into the far corner. Then with their next attack, Hayes and Diver combined again, before Diver played in Currey to make it three.
With the lead a healthy one, Pool started to relax, and lose their shape and this allowed the shell-shocked Bolton to settle back into the game. Rob Cain having his best game in a Blackpool Shirt played well at the back, mopping up a number Bolton Attacks. However Bolton did get back into the game, with a goal from a short corner, beating keeper Luke Brockbank and Matt Bancroft at the near post.
As the game moved into its final quarter a driving run from Rob Cain, who fed Hayes in the D who then played a through ball to Currey whose shot was blocked by a defenders boot resulting in a rare Penalty stroke for the Pool. Alex Diver stepped up and added Blackpool’s Fourth and his personal Third from the spot, sending the ball High into the Top Left Corner.
Bolton grabbed a consolation goal with 5 minutes remaining, capitalizing on Blackpool’s Lack of Discipline as Blackpool pushed up looking for more goals, leaving a 4 on 2 situation of which a Penalty corner was given and the visitors subsequently scored.
© Alex Diver 18/01/09