Blackpool were easy 14-0 victors over Northop Hall in an impressive display of skills and teamwork, and keep their 100% record continuing to next week’s tricky tie in Cockermouth.
We wondered whether our fixture had been swapped for Knustford 1st’s when at 1.15pm they were the only other team on the Stanley Park astros. But then Springfields 1st’s turned up for their rearranged Div 1 home match, but still no sign of Northop Hall. Rumours of M6 and M56 closures milled about, but then at the designated 1.30pm start time our opposition finally arrived.
We generously allowed them some warm-up time (or were obliged to due to league rules) but we were determined to push our advantage from the start.
And we certainly did. 3-0 up within about 5 minutes, from great pass & play moves and clinical finishing, firstly from Simon Thomas, then Ian Swaine and Steve Whitley from a short corner.
After such a great start, the whole Blackpool team were buzzing and full of confidence and Northop’s heads were already dropping. Kieran Harris scored the fourth following a quick counter-attack.
To their credit, Northop kept their shape and tried to attack. They had an unlikely one-on-one when Rob Abbott’s pass round the back was too softly hit and intercepted by a rival attacker, but keeper Nick Rainbow was able to make an important save.
Ian Swaine completed his hat-trick by half-time with two more goals, Simon Thomas grabbed a second and Dave Morgan scored his first of the day, so that the scoreline read 8-0 at half-time.
Despite calls of doubling the score, it’s never as easy as that, with everyone trying to get in on the act. There were times when even the defensive back-line of Brookes, Latimer and Boniface were to be found hunting round the D or even having shots on goal. To his credit, Brookes was on target, and a deflection by Thomas made it a certain goal and won him his first hat-trick for the 1st team (following another for the 2nd’s a few weeks back).
Steve Whitley also managed to snatch a hat-trick with another two goals, the last of which was supplied after excellent work from Sam Goudie on the right wing, fresh from the subs bench.
Around this time Blackpool were reduced to 10 men when Atish Mistry was yellow carded for tackling after not retreating 5 yards at a foul, although he seemed oblivious to the reason why. He was even made to walk to the furthest corner of the pitch by umpire Wright, who’s obviously more up to date with the rules of hockey than the rest of us.
With a quick rearrangement of personnel, moving Goudie back to right back anyway, Blackpool pursuit of goals continued unabated with three goals scored durnig this period. This included two more for Morgan who therefore completed his own hat-trick, and an amazing fourth player to do so on the day.
Swaine could have had a fourth goal of his own when he stepped forward to claim the role of penalty flick taker following Whitley being up-ended within the D. He flick was more of a push and easily saved by a knee pad much to the joy of the whole Northop team. Subsequently he was soon substituted for young rising star Nathan Woodman.
He almost scored with his first touch of the game by diving headlong for a cross in front of goal. However he was to make up for it with a lovely touch to steer a Whitley cross into the corner of the goal for his first league goal for the 1st team.
Despite four hat-tricks, from prolific strikers Ian Swaine and Dave Morgan, and also from the attacking midfielders Simon Thomas and Steve Whitley, Northop awarded the Man of the Match to keeper Nick Rainbow, much to his delight. Now I know he made 5 important saves (well 4 as I had one covered myself) but I got the feeling that they didn’t like us asking who MoM was.
We realise that the corresponding match in Wrexham will be a different affair as Northop seem to have a different team playing home to away this season, but Blackpool were proud in the way they played and the way they continued looking for, and scoring, goals. Next weeks club trip to play Keswick will be far harder for both 1st and 2nd teams, but both sides are looking forward to the challenge.
© Peter Latimer 24/10/10