Blackpool’s 2nd team took the 2 hour journey up to Cockermouth to play promotion chasing Keswick 2nd team, expecting an extremely tough match and possible battering, but it actually turned out to be a very even affair and Blackpool’s best performance of the season.
Blackpool started with a solid formation in central midfield and captain Matt Atherton dropped back into central defence. The formation worked wonders with Blackpool able to control the initial Keswick attacks and able to pass around, with Dan Howe, James Smith and Phil Weir all working hard in the centre.
Blackpool were slightly unfortunate to concede an early goal, but were able to equalise shortly afterwards. A penalty corner was won, and after Matt Atherton’s initial shot was saved by the Keswick goalkeeper, the ball looped up into the air and winger Will Pickles was at hand to firmly bat the ball into the goal.
Keswick took the lead again when a shot from the edge of the D struck defender Pete Latimer on the foot, and deflected into the goal, leaving goalkeeper Toby Jeffery no chance to make a save.
At just one goal down going into half-time, Blackpool’s spirits were up, and they pushed for an equaliser in the second half with Will Pickles causing problems down the right wing, linking well with Jack Williams up front. However, it was Keswick who scored next from a breakaway and some lax marking. Blackpool’s heads didn’t drop and they won another penalty corner, Matt Atherton scored from a stunning reverse stick strike, back to a single goal deficit.
The match became more end to end, and both keepers made some important saves, with Toby Jeffery in particular making several close range blocks to keep Keswick out. However in the last minute Keswick scored once more and the match ended 4-2 to the home team.
Although it was another loss for Blackpool, it was both the best result (“only” a two goal loss) but more importantly the best performance of the season, with the whole team contributing, so the results are expected to improve throughout the rest of the season.