Blackpool 2’s, secure in 2nd place in Division 5NN, beat champions Kirkby Lonsdale 3-2 in their last game of the season, with another last minute goal.
The combination of an early start time, a flat battery and bad motorway traffic meant that captain Graeme Kilshaw, exiled in Oldham, only arrived 20 minutes after the match had started. Pete Latimer not only had to deputise as captain but also take up duties as the “kicking back”, a defender without any goalkeeping pads but who can kick the ball within the D. He managed to save a few shots, including one with his shins, and was later awarded man of the match for his efforts.
Blackpool started with a 3-5-2 formation, and took the attack to Kirkby Lonsdale. This paid off when Mike Sharp struck early after Steve White’s reverse stick pass found him in space, following a cross into the D from Harrison Stott. Kirkby managed to scramble an equaliser before Mike Sharp gave Blackpool the lead once more after firing a bullet from a tight angle.
Graeme Kilshaw joined the field of play, the team reverted to their preferred 4-4-2 formation, but this allowed Kirkby more space in midfield to counter attack, and Kilshaw was unable to save the first shot that he faced, so scores back level at 2-2. Blackpool had a goal disallowed when an interception of a defensive hit out was deemed to have been stopped by the wrong side of the stick, so it remained a draw at half-time.
Blackpool reverted to the 3-5-2 formation after the break, feeling it was the better option against this particular team, and so pushed Adam George up from left back to left half and utilise his attacking prowess, honed whilst being away at university. Blackpool had more of the possession and made chances but couldn’t quite convert. Another goal was disallowed when the whistle was blown just before Blackpool had the ball in the goal, as the Kirkby goalkeeper was prostrate on the floor. Alex Diver had a short corner strike so close to scoring that it hit the goalpost.
At the other end Kirkby continued to counter, which resulted in quite an opened to end game. Graeme Kilshaw redeemed himself by making a couple of key saves, including a one on one. Ollie Tomlinson arrived late, due to school commitments, but was brought on the right wing, allowing Harrison Stott to move to central midfield, where he has been excelling in recent weeks. This paid dividends when he found Tomlinson in space on the right, who then found Rob Pasqualino in the D who struck a shot from a tight angle which evaded the keeper and found its target.
3-2 and as the teams prepared for the restart the final whistle was blown. Blackpool had beaten the division’s champions and proved their 2nd place was no fluke and they merit promotion as well. Corks were popped, the end of season photo was taken, and then celebrations continued in the clubhouse, along with a mighty fine chilli & rice (and some spare meat pie too), and were joined later in the evening by members from the other teams in the club.