Blackpool wrapped up their season with a relatively easy win over bottom club Sale. The first goal seemed to take an age but in reality was more like fifteen minutes, scored by the team’s top scorer David Wright having been fed unselfishly by his striking partner Dave Morgan. Further goals quickly came from fast counter-attacking and fine finishing by Morgan and Liam Morrow making the half-time score 3-0.
Blackpool further extended their lead with prolonged attacks on the Sale goal finally led to Jack Boniface’s stick getting the final touch as the ball crossed the goal-line. A sloppy goal was conceded by the otherwise solid Blackpool defence but the win was secure far from the end.
This win lifted Blackpool two places and out of the relegation places by virtue of goal difference alone. However the two teams on the same points, Triton and Lytham St Annes 2nd team, play each other next week in their last game, meaning that Blackpool could still be relegated if the result of that match is a draw. For once, Blackpool will be cheering on their arch-rivals to win and keep both sides in Division 4 next year!
[post match details]
Blackpool were gutted to learn from the Lytham captain’s text message early Saturday afternoon that his team had drawn with Triton, meaning Blackpool were relegated for the 2nd successive season, and down to the regional leagues for the first time since the league restructure. Apparently Lytham had gone 2-0 down at half-time but clawed back to 2-2 and were unlucky not to take the lead, especially after Triton were reduced to ten men. At least it sounded like a spirited match rather than the limp 0-0 fixed result we feared.
However we still feel we were too good to go down, as shown by our fine run of form in the final few matches. The results in the middle of the season led to the ultimate relegation, but many of these games could have gone the other way, and a quick analysis will now follow:
27-Sep W 2-1 H Deeside (great result)
04-Oct L 0-6 A Runcorn (poor result, some players missing)
11-Oct W 2-0 H Triton (fair result)
18-Oct L 0-1 A Liv Sefton (unlucky not to get at least a draw with the goal only conceded when the captain was forced to leave the field to move his car in the temporary car park!) 1pt dropped
25-Oct L 2-4 H Northop Hall (could have had at least a draw) 1pt dropped
01-Nov L 0-4 A City Manchester (should have been 0-0 at half-time, and with some key injuries 2nd half was all over the place) possible 1pt dropped
08-Nov L 2-4 A Carlisle (level until final 15 mins, and again some key players missed) 1pt dropped
15-Nov L 1-4 H Lancs Uni (poor defeat with again the last 10-15mins making the difference) 1pt dropped
22-Nov L 1-2 A Oxton (several key players missing, including the vice attending his best friend’s wedding in Thailand and myself not able to travel due to my wife’s working commitments, but still the team were unlucky to lose) 3pts dropped
29-Nov D 2-2 H Lytham (2-0 up and dominant throughout) 2pts dropped
13-Dec D 2-2 H Carlisle (again 2-0 up and against 10 men) 2pts dropped
10-Jan W 3-1 A Sale (fair result, even on an iced up pitch)
17-Jan L 2-6 A Deeside (actually took the lead but fair result in the end)
24-Jan L 0-3 H Runcorn (poor result although Runcorn took their chances) 1pt dropped
31-Jan L 5-6 A Lancs Uni (took the lead 3 times only to concede quickly after each) 1pt dropped
07-Feb L 1-3 H Oxton (dominated the 1st half but could only lead 1-0 and let it slip in the 2nd half) 3pts dropped
14-Feb W 4-2 A Lytham (fair result)
21-Feb W 5-3 A Triton (fair result)
28-Feb D 4-4 H Liv Sefton (2 goals up and gave away possession in the last play of the game to give Sefton a penalty corner opportunity which they converted for the draw) 2pts dropped
07-Mar W 7-1 A Northop Hall (flattered by the scoreline but the result was fair)
14-Mar L 0-1 H City Manchester (dumped off our normal pitch by Blackpool Council so had to use Lytham’s reserve pitch which doesn’t favour attacking hockey, and this game was extremely tight against ultimately the league champions with them thinking they’d done well to come away with a draw) 1pt dropped
21-Mar W 4-1 H Sale (fair result)
Given those dropped points, the league table could have looked very different, with us pushing for (and possibly winning) promotion in this extremely competitive division. And all this isn’t to show why we shouldn’t have gone down (as we didn’t battle hard enough earlier in the season), more how little differences can add up to a lot over a whole season.
1___Deeside Ramblers III___22 14 _3 _5 79 41 38 45
2___Blackpool____________22 12 _9 _2 49 61 16 45
3___City of Manchester II___22 13 _3 _6 79 39 35 42
4___Liverpool Sefton II_____22 12 _5 _5 84 44 37 41
5___Lancaster Uni_________22 11 _5 _6 96 60 32 38
6___Northop Hall II________22 11 _2 _9 60 59 _2 35
7___Carlisle______________22 _9 _3 10 55 51 _1 30
8___Triton_______________22 _7 _4 11 46 76-30 25
9___Runcorn_____________22 _7 _3 12 51 65-21 24
10__Lytham St Annes II____22 _7 _3 12 43 69 -28 24
11__Oxton III____________22 _5 _4 13 36 47 -16 19
12__Sale________________22 _2 _1 19 28 94 -66 7