Blackpool Men’s first team got their season off to a positive start with a 2-1 win over fellow promoted side City of Manchester seconds.
On a calm day at Stanley Park, the familiar opponents both struggled to assert their dominance in the early stages with a number of stray passes and players caught in possession. Blackpool looked dangerous down the right flank with Josh Payne, linking up well with the forwards, but the visitors looked equally as dangerous on the counter with their speedy wingers. The best chance of the opening quarter of an hour fell Blackpool’s way after a breakdown at a City of Manchester penalty corner allowed Payne to break away. Ian Swaine and Dave Morgan linked up to force a smart save from the goalkeeper away to his right.
From this moment, Blackpool enjoyed a healthy spell of possession, but failed to create any clear opportunities in front of the City of Manchester goal, despite having a one player advantage due to a yellow card for deliberately breaking down play. They were made to pay for this lack of penetration when City of Manchester broke on the counter-attack and a tidy finish past Nick Rainbow in the Blackpool goal saw them take a slender lead into half time.
Blackpool rallied in the second half with Steve Whitley powering through the midfield on several occasions. Blackpool’s equaliser came within five minutes of the restart as Swaine continued his knack of scoring against his old club with a solid strike into the bottom left corner. With their tails up, Blackpool piled forward with Sam Bury making the most of the space he was allowed down the left. Approaching the hour mark, Jay Currey’s quick thinking found Swaine in space, in the visitor’s area. His neat ball into Whitley allowed the midfielder to complete his impressive performance with a well taken goal, again beating the keeper at the left post. It could quite easily have been three, but the Manchester goalkeeper made a remarkable reflex save with his stick to deny Swaine his second, and give them a glimmer of hope in the final ten minutes.
It was backs to the wall for the home side as they were reduced to 10 men when Morgan saw yellow for playing the ball above his shoulder. Despite a series of penalty corners that were well defended, and Rainbow taking a nasty blow from a swinging stick, Blackpool held on to seal their first league win over City of Manchester in 5 attempts.
MoM was a 3 way tie with Steve Whitley, Sam Bury and Josh Payne sharing the honours