5 Star First Half From Pool
Blackpool Men’s first team put down a marker in North West Division 2 with an emphatic 7-1 win over leaders Knutsford at Stanley Park.
With less than ten minutes played, the home side found themselves two goals up, much to the shock of both the Knutsford players, but also some of the neutral supports who were expecting a tense encounter between two highly rated sides.
Ian Swaine, back in his usual centre forward role grabbed the first with a well-placed, (although somewhat miss-hit) reverse stick shot after being played in by James Slater. Swaine turned provider for the second as a breakaway move down the right by Morgan and Slater cut the visitors defence to shreds, with Jay Currey providing the finishing touch with a neat chip over the advancing goalkeeper.
Knutsford then had a let off when Rob Dingle’s goal from a penalty corner was disallowed, but their reprieve was short lived when Dave Morgan’s strike was deflected off a defender’s stick, lobbing the helpless goalkeeper and into the net. Morgan doubled his tally minutes later with the simplest of finishes after Swaine’s pass across the face of goal. Swaine’s solo effort was well saved by the Knutsford keeper, but in keeping with the way the game was flowing, could only knock the ball back into Swaine’s path, who spotted Morgan lurking between the posts.
Man of the Match Morgan completed his first half hat-trick from close range after his initial deflection from Rob Dingle’s cross was caught in the keepers pads, but he was first to react to find the back board and complete the first half rout.
Knutsford came out fighting in the second half, determined to restore some pride after being blown away in the first 35 minutes by a rampaging Blackpool side. Their early pressure earned them a penalty corner which was expertly put away, with a neat deflection into the roof of the net. Nick Rainbow was called upon in the Blackpool goal to prevent any sniff off a remarkable comeback as he made a series of excellent saves.
Eventually the visitors ran out of steam as Blackpool began to regain the control they showed in the first half. Dec O’Hara’s brilliant reverse pick set up a counter attack, and after Morgan found Swaine on the penalty spot, the frustrated Knutsford defence hacked him down mid-shot; conceding a penalty stroke in the process. Nathan Woodman coolly placed the ball in the right corner of the net to make it six, but he was soon brought back down to earth as he received a lesson in tricks from a Knutsford midfielder, much to the delight of his own team mates!
Blackpool rounded off the scoring when Ian Swaine found the net from a tight angle after a Simon Thomas’s deflected effort was saved off the line. Blackpool remain undefeated, but still lie in sixth place in the table as all the sides above them have played an extra game.