After just 1 point from the last two matches against the top two in Division 5 Blackpool were keen to revert to winning ways with their trip to Preston to keep their promotion chances alive.
The match was an open affair with numerous attacks at both ends. After some initial dangerous attacks from Preston, Blackpool got to grips with the game and passed the ball around the creating multiple chances.
It was a defensive mistake from Preston that led to the first goal. A hit out was stopped by Chris Hocking who dribbled into the D, past the last defender, then beat the goalkeeper from a tight angle.
Blackpool made further chances, with the midfield of Niall Bancroft, Rob Pasqualino, Harrison Stott and Paul Atherton working well together. They linked well with the rotating strikers of Hocking, Alex Diver and Martin Hayes, but couldn’t quite get the ball into the net.
Although the first half ended with Blackpool on top, Preston came out the stronger in the second half and it wasn’t long before they equalised with some clinical passing. They continued pushing and were close to taking the lead with goal line clearances from both Andy Mortimer and Niall Bancroft, the latter colliding with the goalpost and bravely continuing on with a nasty cut on his shin.
Slowly Blackpool turned things around and regained their composure, and it was they who took the lead when Chris Hocking took the ball to the bye-line on the right wing and whipped a ball into the D, which Alex Diver expertly guided into the goal.
Preston wouldn’t accept defeat and the play was end to end. They managed to win a couple of short corners, and from one of them a strike on goal hit the foot of Pete Latimer. Blackpool thought the strike was missing the goal, which would have meant a another short corner, but after the umpires conferred they decided it was goal-bound and therefore a penalty stroke was awarded which was duly converted to make the score level again at 2-2. To make matters worse for Blackpool, Andy Mortimer was so enraged with the decision that his excessive protesting was rewarded with a yellow card and 5 minutes to cool down on the sidelines.
With less than ten minutes left of the game, Blackpool were desperate for a further goal, and it came with barely a minute from the restart. Rob Pasqualino injected the ball into the D to find Martin Hayes with his back to the goal, and while the goalkeeper dived in front of him, he swivelled and lifted the ball over the keeper into the goal, to the delight of the whole team.
Blackpool then managed to hold on for the final few minutes and secure the vital three points which keeps them 3rd but still within distance of the top two teams who play each other next week.