After two disappointing defeats, Blackpool Mens firsts looked to get their season back on track against Bebington at Stanley Park. Despite the unhelpful weather, Blackpool began the game with some flowing hockey and the visitors rarely touched the ball inside the opening ten minutes. Blackpool’s dominance was rewarded when Mariano De La Lastra fired home with a powerful reverse strike after being played through by Peter Latimer. Ian Swaine continued his great form in front of goal when he doubled the lead after 20 minutes. Bebington couldn’t find any answers to the host’s superior hockey and despite a number of heavy challenges, Blackpool remained focused and added a third just before the half time break when Blackpool played a neat move at a penalty corner allowing Dan Woodman to feed Dave Morgan who beat the keeper from close range.
With the weather improving, Blackpool began to expand their play and the second half provided a flurry of goals. Morgan grabbed his second after some good build up play with Ben Mortimer and soon after it was five as Steve Whitley somehow squeezed the ball home despite a barrage of tackles from Bebington defenders. De La Lastra notched up his second goal of the match with an unstoppable drag flick at a penalty corner, which was only to be outdone a few minutes later by Morgan who completed his hatrick by smashing home from an impossible angle whilst diving through the air; certainly a contender for goal of the season.
With Bebington clearly frustrated at their performance, tempers began to fray but surprisingly it was Blackpool who were first reduced to 10 men as Rob Dingle was yellow carded for repeated technical fouls. This did little to slow Blackpool down as Morgan slapped home is forth, and Blackpool’s eighth after he and Woodman linked again at a penalty corner. Whitley was then denied a clear opportunity to score, resulting in a penalty flick and a yellow card for a Bebington defender, but Swaine’s flick was comfortably saved. However, in keep with the rest of the game, the hit out after flick, was intercepted and Slater and Morgan linked up to allow the later to score his fifth. The drama was to continue as Swaine was controversially sent to the sidelines for verbal abuse, but there was just enough time for the returning Dingle to covert De La Lastra’s cross to put Blackpool into double figures and, just as importantly, give Nick Rainbow’s men a clean sheet.
Report by Rob Dingle