Saturday 21 September 2013
12:00 H Men’s 2s 3:3 Kirkby Lonsdale Men’s 1s NWHL Div 5 NN
13:30 H Men’s 3s 0:3 Preston Men’s 6s NWHL Div 6 NN
14:00 A Men’s 1s 4:3 Didsbury Northern Men’s 3s NWHL Div3N
16:00 A U16 Boys 1:9 Bolton Badgers
Blackpool Mens first team got their season underway with a hard fought 4-3 win away at Didsbury. Prolific forward Dave Morgan opened his account for the new season after he pounced on a loose ball from a Didsbury defender, and hammered his shot past the oncoming keeper. Morgan was soon in the action again as the ball ricocheted off the keeper’s pads into his head from close range, opening up a severe cut to his forehead. With Morgan forced off through injury, Blackpool reshuffled allowing Steve Whitley to play a more attacking role, which he took to quickly and double the visitor’s lead. After some steady build up play, Dan Woodman found Whitley in space who then ghosted past several defenders before firing home his shot. Blackpool had chances to go further ahead, but a string of good saves from the Didsbury keeper kept the score at 2-0 for much of the first half. In the dying moments, Blackpool conceded their first penalty corner of the match, and to Adam George’s dismay, his unfortunate deflection forced an otherwise wayward shot past Nick Rainbow in the Blackpool goal.
Blackpool were frustrated to have only a one goal lead going into the second half, but it was Didsbury who came out the stronger side. Blackpool tried to re-group and forced a penalty stroke after Jay Currey’s shot was blocked on the line by a Didsbury foot. Rob Dingle stepped up, but his effort was well saved again by the Didsbury keeper low to his right. Blackpool were visibly deflated, and Didsbury pounced scoring two goals in five minutes to turn the game right on its head. With 15 minutes to go Blackpool rallied and were soon back level as a heavily bandaged Morgan provided the finishing touch to Ian Swaine’s cross. It was now Didsbury who were fighting for the points as Blackpool pressed for a winner. After an excellent drive by Currey down the right flank, he found Dingle on an overlapping run into the area. After drawing the keeper out, Dingle lifted the ball over him and from the narrowest of angles found the far corner of the net to give Blackpool the lead, and redemption for his missed flick.
The final whistle blew and Blackpool were relieved to come away with three points, but took a lot of positives from the character shown to get them.
Local rivals Lytham await next week at Stanley Park.
Blackpool Mens second team were grateful of a point after a 3-3 draw in their opening fixture against Kirby Lonsdale at Stanley Park.
Blackpool eased their way into the game and created several good chances, but struggled to find the breakthrough. New captain Mike Sharp came closest after rounding the Kirby goalkeeper, only to see his effort cannon back off the post.
Blackpool finally got the goal they deserved when Martin Hayes picked up the ball and managed to get a shot away from a tight angle firing past the helpless keeper. Determined to increase their lead, Blackpool continued to press, until a neat passing move from the visitors caught them on the break to force a penalty corner. After dealing with the original danger, the second ball in proved deadly and Blackpool found themselves back on level terms.
After a succession of missed chances including hitting the post twice, Blackpool finally took the lead again with a great solo effort from Nathan Woodman on the stroke of halftime. Woodman picked up the ball just over the halfway line and drove towards the Kirby area. The defence stood off Woodman inviting the shot, and he duly obliged and rifled it into the top corner.
Kirby came out for the second half with a point to prove after being dominated in the first. Both sides failed to convert their chances in front of goal, and with less than ten minutes to go, the score was still 2-1. However, within the space of two minutes Blackpool were behind after Kirby found a way through for an equaliser and then took the lead to set up what looked an unlikely victory at half time. In desperation, Blackpool piled men forward in search of a late equaliser and after some great work down the wing from Sam Robinson and good running from Josh Payne at right back Blackpool won a penalty corner with only a minute left in the game. After a neat one-two the ball came to Sharp who flicked the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-3 with only seconds left in the game.
Expectations weren’t high for Blackpool Mens thirds first match of the season as a young and inexperienced side took on Preston. Despite some strong attacks by Hayden Leybourne and Tom Lyons up front, Blackpool couldn’t break through. Will McHoeey impressed on debut, making some determined challenges and helped a solid defence to keep out most attempts from the Preston forwards. However the pressure told on the Blackpool juniors and Preston converted two penalty corners and a penalty stroke to run out 3-0 winners.