Blackpool dropped their first points at home this season with a disappointing 4-3 defeat to Lancaster Uni in the final match before the Christmas break. Blackpool started positively and could have easily found themselves several goals up in the opening fifteen minutes. The usually prolific pairing of Dave Morgan and Ian Swaine couldn’t quite find a final touch as the ball whistled inches past the outside of the Lancaster goalkeepers post on several occasions. Jay Currey and Josh Boyne both had shots well saved by the keeper and Blackpool were left scratching their heads as to how they were going to break the deadlock. Sensing the home sides growing frustrations, the students looked to catch Blackpool on the counter attack and as half time approached they made them pay for their missed opportunities with a well struck shot past the previously untested Nick Rainbow. Blackpool were reduced to ten men for venting their anger at the umpire, which only led to them going further behind as Lancaster scored a second on the stroke of half time.
Blackpool began the second period in a much better fashion and once they returned to a full complement of players, penned the visitors deep in their own half. More chances came and went for Blackpool until finally they were awarded a penalty stroke that was well converted by Rob Dingle. Rather than spark a revival, the goal seemed to have the opposite effect as Lancaster looked more like the side leading the division. Blackpool were all at sea for Lancaster’s third, as the ball was worked in to the area down the attacker’s right flank. Despite the ball appearing to come off an attacker’s back stick, the goal was awarded, and Blackpool once again found themselves two goals down. The game quickly returned to the earlier format, Blackpool looking dangerous on every break, but failing to capitalize on their opportunities. Lancaster were controversially awarded a penalty stroke when the ball hit Rob Abbott’s foot in front of the Blackpool goal, but the Blackpool defence were adamant the ball was going wide. A cool finish by the Lancaster player left Blackpool with a mountain to climb with only eight minutes remaining.
Typically, this brought out Blackpool’s best hockey as they threw men forward. Steve Whitley gave a glimmer of hope when he hammered home with less than five minutes to go, but Blackpool were resigned to defeat when the full time whistle went whilst Blackpool were setting up for a penalty corner. Morgan hammered the ball home for a consolation goal, but Blackpool’s Christmas Dinner won’t taste quite as good as it could have. Blackpool remain top of Division 2, but closest rivals South Cheshire and Bowdon have a game in hand (against each other) with a chance to potentially cut Blackpool’s lead at the top to goal difference only.
Blackpool remain top of Division 2, but closest rivals South Cheshire and Bowdon have a game in hand (against each other) with a chance to potentially cut Blackpool’s lead at the top to goal difference only.