Well after a calamitous week, with the coach, Rob Abbott, unable to organise himself, let alone a team of juniors, the question was always – what will happen!? Well, it didn’t start well, Abbott – proving that multi-tasking should be left to women, was late leaving and on the journey the game was organising someone to set the team up established that he had given the wrong venue details to everyone – mayhem ensued as he tried to make contact with the drivers – needless to say he failed. After collecting the team from the original venue the team arrived at the pitch 5 minutes after push back – Good effort.
Now to the game – with no match preparation time, the team was scattered onto the pitch with players probably playing out of their favoured position – but generally as they all want to play upfront, that is probably always the case. The half started in a very scrappy fashion with little cohesion between the players and most trying to play their own games and the Leyland players proving that they were capable of making some timely tackles and thwarting the attacks. It was in one of these breakdowns that Leyland manage to surge forward with some neat interplay and slot the ball home for opening goal of the game. A frustrated Blackpool gloomily made their way back to the halfway, the team struggling to establish themselves. As the half progressed, it was much of the same until there was a glimmer of hope when a passing move saw them make progress and have some ball retention. As the passing improved so did the opportunities, which led to an opening goal by Captain Dan Howe. The half ebbed and flowed until the half time whistle blew on a reduced half, giving the coach an opportunity to re-organise an instill some words of advice – in short “Pass”.
With some re-organisation and some smiling faces, obviously the odd glum one – the half commenced with renewed vigour. Alfie Roberts leading the defensive line from the front closing down the Leyland back line started to force the errors, allowing the midfield of Downey & Neath to pick the ball up and start to dominate possession. Some excellent work and 3D skills from Nichols, combing with the now Centre Half (or was that centre forward) Chris Walker gave Blackpool their second opportunity as a penalty corner was awarded. Up steps Joe Neath, who after a little shimmying, (moves that would Len Goodman would have given a solid ‘Seven’), slotted the ball home for his first of three. Blackpool revitalised and confident, used more and more passing and tore through Leylands left defence to play the ball to Neath top ‘D’ for a crisp strike passed the keeper to the far post. Distribution and attacking play was much improved and evident as Chris Walker found himself in the D to dispatch a reverse stick shot only to find goal disallowed for back stick, a close but correct decision. The blow didn’t deter Blackpool as they kept pressing and won another penalty corner which Neath slotted in for his hattrick. The game continued to challenge in all parts of the field with Leyland gaining opportunities on the break, but the final whistle went on a game played in great spirit by both teams.
The press tried to get an interview with Hatrick Hero Joe Neath, but he had already rushed off as it was rumoured he went to McDonalds to celebrate.
Great Game, well done to all !
Team: Alfie Roberts, Ryan Nichols, Chris Walker, George Walker, Dan Howe, Spencer Howe, Joe Neath, Ellis Downey