Blackpool got off the mark in North West Division 1 with a well earnt victory against Bowdon thirds at Stanley Park.
Newly appointed captain Ian Swaine had the luxury of a deeper squad than the opening fixture and decided to experiment with a new formation. The opening ten minutes were sloppy by both teams as possession was frequently surrendered with a loose pass or poor control. Of the two sides it was the visitors who looked most likely to open the scoring, but Graeme Kilshaw continued his impressive form and made two important in the Blackpool goal. Blackpool made plenty of changes to try and gain a grip on the game, however it was an individual piece of brilliance from Simon Thomas that found the breakthrough. His darting run saw him control the ball off the ground with three touches to beat defenders and with the help of Dave Morgan, he then slotted home from close range. Bowdon equalised five minutes later through a well worked penalty corner leaving the game level going into half time.
The second half was more fluid affair with both sides playing much better hockey. It was Blackpool again who made the first move as Dave Morgan converted a well worked penalty corner. It wasn’t long before Bowdon again pulled level, this time capitalising on a wayward pass from Blackpool turning it into a move that forced Kilshaw into another fine save, but he could do little about the rebound as two Bowdon players lined up to covert at the back post. With the game in the balance, Blackpool could have been facing an uphill task as Bowdon were awarded another penalty corner, however it was cleared out to Paul Atherton who started the counter attack down Blackpool’s left. In less than 5 seconds, the ball had travelled the full length of the pitch across 3 players for a sublime counter-attacking goal finished off by Jordan Payne. The third was the final blow for the visitors as Blackpool dominated for the closing twenty minutes. Morgan and Payne doubled their tally for the game, with two moved both set up by the returning Sam Bury down the left hand side as Blackpool ran out comfortable 5-2 winners in the end, with Thomas the clear man of the match for his display.
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