The lifeguards were back, but still players missing through injury, 6th form entrance exams, and playing for Salford Reds RL team (congrats Ciaran on your successful trial, but you’ve chosen the wrong sport!), and with the 1st team insisting on taking 2 subs to their trip to Wales, both Alex Diver and Ollie Tomlinson were called up from the 3rd team.
Still a strong team took the field feeling positive about beating Warrington on home soil (or sand-dressed astro) as long as they put the effort in. Unfortunately the match started badly for Blackpool when they conceded from a counter attack after the left winger out sprinted Pete Latimer and had a simple tap-in after the striker had drawn both goalkeeper and central defender.
Blackpool regained their composure and started to dominate the midfield and looked dangerous in attack with Alex Diver linking well with Martin Hayes upfront, following from their partnership for the winning 3rd team last week. However Warrington were dangerous on the counter attack, especially through midfield, with one particularly skilful striker needing the attention of two defenders. They won a series of short corners, had one disallowed for height but managed to slip on in at the far post.
Blackpool responded with further attacks, with Alex Hughes impressing doing the right wing, and he was able to evade a defender, enter the D on the bye-line and switch the ball back to the Alex Diver near the top of the D, who struck one of his trademark goals. Blackpool were very unlucky not to equalise when a Chris Hocking shot was goal-bound only for Hayes’ foot to get in the way just inches in front of the goal line. On the flip side Andy Mortimer made a dramatic clearance, after Graeme Kilshaw in goal had been beaten, by deflecting a shot at shoulder height and ensuring that Warrington just had a single goal lead at halftime.
Blackpool attacked in numbers to try and find an equaliser, but were finding getting past the Warrington defence too difficult. Again Warrington counter attacked but Josh Hughes now had the skilful striker in his pocket, earning a man of the match award, with several crucial tackles. Blackpool were generally passing round the defence and up the wings, but in a freak moment a pass to Andy Mortimer within the D accidentally hit his foot, and a shot corner was awarded, despite no opposition players being anywhere close. From the resultant set of corners, after some saves from Kilshaw, Warrington perfected a set move with a pass to a player who deflected the ball at pace leaving the Blackpool defence no chance.
In another lapse of concentration, a pass from defence by Latimer at right back was intercepted and led to an easy 4th goal for Warrington. Blackpool continued to attack, and Chris Hocking’s dribbling caused Warrington problems, but still no goal game, although there were shots just wide of the goal.
Another defeat means Blackpool are likely to need to win perhaps 5 of their last 6 matches to avoid regelation, with next week’s away game against fellow strugglers Keswick a true 6-pointer.