Blackpool were always going to have an extremely tough game against the league leaders. Blackpool were after a win to stave off relegation whereas City of Manchester were looking to secure promotion. Blackpool Council had rudely bumped Blackpool off their home pitch at Stanley Park, in order to host a Youth Games Weekend or somesuch rubbish, despite being happy to take the £30+ we give them each week when nobody else would want to hire the astro on a Saturday. So off to Lytham’s old pitch at Andsell, which is an old-style sandy pitch with wonky touchlines and bobbles all over. Initially we moaned but then we thought it could work to our advantage as Manchester are used to playing on a lovely fast and true water-based pitch at Belle Vue so it could be more of a disadvantage for them, or so we hoped.
In the end it turned out to be a very even first half with both sides having multiple attacks. Blackpool’s defence was severely tested but held tight and were helped when one of the opposition strikers pulled his gluteus maximus muscle and offered little pace for the rest of the game, having to stay on the pitch due to a lack of a substitute.
The second half saw more of the same, but Manchester managed to grab a goal from a well-worked short corner routine slipping it left and striking past a diving Kilshaw with the shot too hard for Latimer to stop at the near post. Blackpool weathered more attacks and then started to fight back with real desire themselves. The bobbly Andsell pitch did no favours to the twin strikers of Wright and Morgan and half-chances came and went.
Ultimately the final whistle came and Blackpool were most disappointed to have no points after such a spirited performance. Luckily the other relegation threatened teams also lost, so Blackpool still have some hope of staying up as long as they beat bottom placed Sale in their final game of the season at home next week, although they will still need Lytham and Triton to both lose on Saturday and then for those two teams not to conspire and fix a draw in their rearranged game the week after the season ends. We can but pray!
© Peter Latimer 18/03/09