After last week’s defeat to Didsbury, Blackpool Men’s first team bounced back with a 3-2 win at home to Liverpool Sefton firsts to send them back to the top of North West Division 1.
With a healthy squad of fifteen for the first time this season, Blackpool employed a new formation to maximise the personnel at their disposal. However this tactical switch was reversed by Captain Nick Rainbow after just five minutes upon seeing how the visitors had set up. Once Blackpool reverted to a familiar set-up, they began to stamp their authority on the game carving out chances through intricate link-up play, with Steve Whitley and Simon Thomas the chief architects. Blackpool took the lead when Dave Morgan showed his predatory instincts by being the first to react to Jordan Payne’s rebounded shot. They could have been two or three goals to the good but Sam Robinson’s effort was brilliant saved low to the keeper’s left and Ian Swaine’s first time effort was also kept out by the inform Liverpool Sefton goalkeeper. With a slender advantage, Blackpool needed some heroics from their own keeper to keep ahead. Rainbow pulled off a remarkable triple save bringing about a raucous round of applause from the sidelines.
Blackpool finally found a way past the opposition goalkeeper when an attack down the left saw Whitley and Swaine combine for the latter to score his first goal of the season. Minutes later, Blackpool made it three when left back Sam Bury found himself in space at the top of the area. His powerful strike left the goalkeeper with no chance as Bury celebrated with his team mates. At 3-0 things were looking extremely comfortable for the home side, but a defensive lapse five minutes before half time gave Liverpool Sefton a lifeline with a well taken goal. The visitors were then left aggrieved going into half time as the whistle was blown right as they were about to pull the trigger in a promising attack which could have brought them within one goal.
The second half began with a flurry of chances for Blackpool to put the game to bed. Twice the ball flew past the post and along with some more fine saves from the keeper, Blackpool’s frustrations began to grow. Still the chances poured in for the homes side as Rob Dingle’s shot on the turn went wide, and minutes later Morgan’s deflected effort from Dingle’s cross cannoned into the post, but the score remained at 3-1. Sensing it might be their day with all the missed chances at the other end of the pitch, Liverpool Sefton pushed forward winning a series of penalty corners. In a first for Blackpool, a defender broke early on successive occasions reducing the headcount each time, leaving just the goalkeeper and two defenders against seven attackers surround the area. However, a great pick in the air from Swaine kept the ball away from danger and Blackpool regrouped. However with ten minutes to go the visitors finally broke the second half deadlock with a well worked goal. As the clocked ticked down, more chances came and went for both sides until the whistle was blown for an injury in the final minute. With the clocked stopped with less than sixty seconds to go, the away side threw caution to the wind and subbed off their goalkeeper for another outfield player. The brave switch made little difference as Blackpool saw out the closing moments to gain a well-earned three points in a match full of missed opportunities!