Blackpool needed three wins from their final three games to avoid relegation and their final away trip was to Wales to face Northop Hall who were after four wins to guarantee themselves promotion.
The first half was played into a stiff Welsh wind and upwards on the sloping pitch, however David Wright scored within the first few minutes from an extremely tight angle surprising the keeper at the near post. Northop Hall responded with several attacks and were awarded several short corners, one of which they managed to sneak in by the post.
James Slater picked up a temporary injury when Rob Abbott blasted a ball right into his thigh, so Paul Atherton came on in replacement for his second game for the 1st team. Dan Woodman and Rob Abbott were bossing the midfield and Blackpool looked good for more goals.
Half-time came at 1-1 and Blackpool were determined to make good use of the wind behind their backs and the slope down towards the opposing goal. The team worked together from the solid backline of Kilshaw, Brookes, Latimer and Pasqualino providing a platform for the hard-working and skilful midfielders to take turns in running at the Northop defence and playing some neat pass and moves.
Dave Morgan proceeded to score four unanswered goals leaving the opposition battered and confused, and continue his rich rein of form with ten goals from four games and challenging Wright for the top scorer’s honour. The midfield of Jack Boniface, Dan Woodman, Rob Abbott, James Slater and youngster Jacob Currey impressed and played as a unit. Northop Hall imploded, lost their captain to a yellow card midway through the half, and were generally shocked and surprised by the fighting Blackpool display.
Blackpool weren’t finished with scoring, and Jack Boniface took his opportunity of being unmarked in the D after a quickly taken free hit from Peter Latimer. The final goal was appropriately finished by a solo effort from David Wright, although strictly he ought to have passed to Rob Pasqualino, who had taken over from Morgan up front, unmarked on the P-spot but was overheard explaining “I’m not letting Dave overtake me as top scorer”! Northop lost another player to a yellow card late in the game for a trifling offence, and even their keeper gave up, taking off his helmet before the final whistle.
This magnificent win together with an improvement in their goal difference gives Blackpool real hope of overtaking one of several teams just three or four points ahead of them, although two wins from their final two games is still a necessity, with a tricky tie against league leaders City of Manchester next week.
But you can start humming the tune from the Great Escape …..
(edit – something strange going on with one of the early paragraphs appearing in the middle or at the end)
Towards the end of the journey a message came through that we should no longer head for the lovely new water based pitch at Plas Coch but instead rendezvous at a Holiday Inn outside Chester. We wondered whether this was a tactical move knowing that we used to play on a water based pitch at Stanley Park but it soon became obvious that they were equally unhappy about it blaming “bloody Wrexham”, and we eventually showed up at the pitch in Mold it became clear why – a sandier surface you’ll never have seen, situated at the foot of a hill with a gradient to match it and large expanses of astro-turf either side of the pitch itself.