|Saturday 01 December 2012
|South Lakes Men’s 1s
|Blackburn Northern Mens 1s
|NWHL Div 5 N
|Lymm Men’s 3s
|NWHL Div 8 N
Mitch Blakemore scored the first for Blackpool with a speculative shot from the top of the D, which everyone imagined would be safely saved, but Steve Whitley caused confusion in front of the keeper, by almost touching the ball, and so the keeper misjudged the shot and his save. South Lakes replied with a well taken lofted shot which keeper Nick Rainbow ducked under, despite being the one with all the pads. They then took the lead from a breakaway and some bad marking in the Blackpool defence. It was then Blackpool’s turn to equalise from an attack down the right, with Dave Morgan coming off the bench full of intent, and a strike felled the Cumbrian goalkeeper, despite all his padding, leaving the ball for Blakemore to cross to the unmarked Simon Thomas who coolly slotted home.
It was around this time that Blackpool lost two of their most experienced defenders. Dan Woodman succumbed to the calf injury that is blighting his season, and then veteran Pete Latimer fell to the ground whilst in possession of the ball with a pulled hamstring. Luckily Blackpool had a squad of 13 for this match, but often only have one sub, and there is versatility in the team, with vice-captain Steve Whitley filling in at centre-back, the game after filling in as a striker the previous week, although it did lead to him being voted Man of the Match. Seconds after Latimer went off injured, South Lakes had a disputed free hit on the edge of the D and were able to score from an unmarked striker. This lead Blackpool to increase their intensity, winning their first short corner, and Richard Blacow had his first shot parried by the keeper but pounced on the loose ball with enough force that the defenders on the goal-line were not able to stop it.
The second half started in the same battling way, but Blackpool were determined not to let the win slip away, and reduced the speculative passing and instead concentrated on the quick pass and move play that can make them unplayable at times. The whole midfield of Thomas, Blakemore, Jay Currey and James Slater were linking well, feeding the twin strikers of Morgan and Chris Hocking, and creating numerous opportunities. Morgan, the club’s all-time top scorer, was close on many occasions and finally came good at a short corner, where the selected move was ignored as Blacow went for goal himself, Thomas’ reverse-strike with the rebound was also saved, and as the ball ended back up at the top of the D, Morgan made no mistake with a strike that passed underneath the goalkeeper. It was Morgan’s first goal for two months but more momentous was the fact that it was his 175th in the league which now moves him up into 4th place of the all-time scorers in the North West Hockey League.
Blackpool were now on the ascendancy and more pressure led to their third short corner, and Blacow pulled out his legendary drag flick which was unstoppable even though the keeper managed to get his stick on it. So a 100% record from short corners in the match, and with 8 goals Blacow is now the team’s top scorer. James Slater had been causing the opposition problems all match, after coming off the bench early in the first half. His speed and crosses from the right wing were deadly, and if Morgan was firing on all cylinders then he’d have had several assists. It’s rare he has a shot on goal from a decent angle, but there was a gift wrapped opportunity when the ball came to him unmarked in the D. He had time to set up the shot, but it went horribly wide, to the dismay of the watching supporters and his team-mates. But with 4 goals to his name already this season, he’s no mug, despite not being a natural striker. But crossing’s his forte, so when he miss-hit a cross later in the match, even the goalkeeper was confused and the ball managed to sneak past his near side into the goal, for one of the flukiest goals of the season, but they all count. Blackpool ended the match will a great flowing move, with Steve Whitley defending successfully earning a free hit, which he took quickly. He passed on to Slater who ran down the right wing, and passed back inside to Whitley who then offloaded to Morgan. He deflected the ball onto Blakemore inside the D but with defenders around him he offloaded to the speeding Simon Thomas flying in from the left wing and provided the final touch to the ball for the 7th goal.
Final score 7-3 to Blackpool and they remain in 4th place in Division 3.
Blackpool 2nds travelled to 3rd place Blackburn Northern 1sts but struggled despite goals from their top scorer Nathan Woodman and Ian Swaine, they went down 4-2.
Blackpool 3rds had the perfect start against their Lymm counterparts when within minutes a shot from outside of the D by captain Alex Diver was deflected in for an own-goal, a new hockey rule in 2012. Blackpool then went two-up when Andy Mortimer scored from a short corner. The young team played well during the match, with Ollie Tomlinson, Sam Robinson and Ciaran Johnson impressing. However unfortunately two goals were conceded to Lymm and the match ended in a 2-2 draw so the two teams stay in 7th and 8th place in Division 8.