Blackpool recorded their first victory of 2018 with a well-deserved 5-2 win over City of Manchester firsts at Stanley Park.
Inspired by the return of former captain Nick “Jose” Rainbow looking on from the side-lines after his match was cancelled earlier in the day, Blackpool looked to adopt the tactics that worked well against Didsbury a fortnight ago. However, it was the visitor who started the stronger, with the ball barely getting out of the Blackpool half in the opening five minutes. Man of the Match, Ben Mortimer twice prevented the Manchester striker from getting a shot off with some excellent tackling around the Blackpool area. Just as Blackpool were beginning to come into the game, City opened the scoring through a penalty corner. Blackpool soon hit back as Rob Dingle picked out Dave Morgan who’s slightly miss-hit effort bobbled into the net. There was nothing fortunate about Blackpool’s second as they took the lead after twenty minutes. Jay Currey led the counter attack to combine with Morgan to set up Andy Mortimer who swept the ball into the goal. Blackpool suffered another setback, this time in terms of personnel as Rob Abbott was forced off injured with a hamstring tweak, with the evergreen Pete Latimer returning to the heart of the Blackpool defence. Five minutes before the break, Blackpool added a third with Simon Thomas deflecting the ball from Adam Georges reverse pass. The umpires paused to confirm the final touch was inside the area, but the goal stood, and Blackpool held their two goal advantage going into the break.
Captain Ian Swaine stressed the importance of sticking with the disciplined tactics that were worked in the first half, and how crucial the next goal would be in the game. Less than five minutes in, it was Thomas who again popped up to flick the ball past the City goalkeeper to open up a three goal lead. With Blackpool beginning to look comfortable, they switched off at a restart from a long-corner and a deflected effort flew up into Latimer’s face. After a lengthy period of treatment (thank you to the City player who treated him on the pitch, and also the support of their players) Pete was helped off the pitch and later taken to hospital for a check-up. With a second central defender injured, Swaine dropped into the back line but was unable to prevent City’s second from the resultant penalty corner. Despite being down to bare eleven, Blackpool continued to push for a fifth to put the game to bed, and Morgan provided it ten minutes from time with a neat reverse flick finish.
Blackpool still have a mountain to climb in the division to avoid relegation, but at least have a glimmer of hope as they travel to Winnington Park next week.
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