Blackpool were on a high before the match after hearing that their Lancashire Trophy semi-final opponents had forfeited the game on Sunday meaning that Blackpool were through to the cup final for the first time.
Rumours that Pete Latimer might streak if the team actually won the final were dampened by the 39 year old defender who insisted that he said he’d streak if he scored in the final, and the team won, with the knowledge that he’d never scored for the 1st team in 10+ years, although he got mightily close last week.
With the previous encounter against Didsbury being a close 2-1 win, Blackpool were in no illusions that this would again be a tough match, and that’s how it turned out.
Didsbury started the livelier putting together a string of attacks which tested the Blackpool defence. Gradually Blackpool were able to hold on to some possession and attack themselves but both sides were holding firm.
It was Blackpool’s second penalty corner which created the opening when after an initial shot was saved, Ian Swaine was on hand to strike again with too much force to be stopped.
Blackpool carried on creating problems in attack with several great saves being made by the Didsbury keeper. However he was breached for a second time when Dave Morgan squared a ball to Ian Swaine in the D who struck the ball with his reverse stick into the goal.
Didsbury came out after half-time guns ablazing and seemed even more determined to win the ball and the game became quite physical at times. Blackpool rode the storm with the defence holding firm and Man of the Match Nick Rainbow making some important saves to earn a clean sheet.
Dave Morgan has a frustrating second half. Several half-chances, which may or may not have contained a sitter depending on your point of view), an almost certain goal ruined by Simon Thomas’ back-stick intervening. That was due to a Didsbury defender interfering with Thomas’ stick, so a penalty flick was awarded. Morgan volunteered, despite Swaine being on a potential hat-trick, but due to the Didsbury keeper reading his thoughts, the shot was saved.
With only a two goal lead Blackpool were still vulnerable, and when an out of character outburst from Joe Boniface in front of the umpire led to a yellow card, Didsbury smelt blood and went for the kill. But Blackpool are made of stern stuff with a strong defence and a good team ethic where even the forwards help out.
Blackpool held on to win 2-0 but this was probably their most difficult game apart from their match against Lymm. They continue to win every match and are now 12 points clear of 3rd place so promotion is becoming closer, but of course being champions is the real aim, and perhaps even the league & cup double.
The weekend of the 26th/27th Feb is going to be huge. Lymm on the Saturday and Mossley Hill in the cup final on the Sunday. Bring it on ….
© Peter Latimer 16/1/11