New Captain Sam Owen didn’t have the easiest of starts to his campaign, but came away with the points as Blackpool seconds narrowly saw off their Urmston counterparts 2-1 at Stanley Park.
Blackpool’s lunchtime gridlock due to an earlier traffic accident delayed several players and an umpire forcing the push back to be postponed the allowed fifteen minutes. However, the disruption didn’t seem to knock Blackpool off their stride as it took them less than five minutes to open the scoring. The prolific Martin Hayes began where he left off last season with a neat finish over the advancing goalkeeper at a penalty corner after former captain Mike Sharp’s lay off. Hayes made it 2-0 after being first to react to a loose ball in the area and chipped the ball into the roof of the net. The remainder of the first half saw few clear cut chances for either side, but Blackpool were happy to go into the break with the advantage.
Play began to open up in the second half, and both goalkeepers were called into action several times in the opening few moments. Graeme Kilshaw was in superb form as he denied the Urmston strikers twice, but he could do little about the visitors’ goal with 20 minutes to go as it was deflected past him after some neat build up play. Blackpool had chances to secure the points, but after shots from Jay Currey, Hayes and Sharp were all well saved by the Urmston keeper, the travelling coaching staff began to believe they could snatch a draw. They came within inches in the last five minutes, but again Kilshaw came to Blackpool’s rescue with a brilliant diving stop at his right post to push the ball away from goal.
The final whistle saw much relief from Blackpool, with Captain Owen keen to avoid a repeat of the pre-match disruption again the campaign.