Blackpool took 12 players to Carlisle, which is a rare luxury for this fixture but typifies the new commitment which has been evident all season.
With automatic promotion already secured for Carlisle, Blackpool perhaps went into the game with a degree of complacency and expectation that the game was “there for the taking” …… it wasn’t to be.
During the first half, Blackpool seemed to forget the simple things which they’ve been doing so well most of the season, and were second best in every area of the field. Credit is of course due to Carlisle, who thouroughly deserve their success this season through slick and disciplined hockey.
The first half saw Blackpool conceed 5 goals without reply, and although chances were created at the other end, the seasiders looked toothless in comparison to previous weeks.
Half time allowed a stern assesment of areas of improvement, and this was duely put into practice throughout the second half, which although didn’t see any further goals for either side, it was night and day compared to the first half. Declan O’Hara had a fine display in the midfield, working back to defend on a number of occasions. James Slater had another consistent display, and was only just edged out for man of the match by a great performance from Nick Rainbow in goal, highlighted by a wonder save in the second half.
Although the game was lost, it was an enjoyable, competitive fixture against good opposition who we wish all the best for next year in Division 8N.
On a personal note, I’m extremely pleased with the progress we’ve made as a team this year. Collectively, we’ve matured and gelled into a side with great potential to go up next year. Particularly I’d like to congratulate all of the younger squad members who’ve really stepped up this year and brought us the success we’ve all enjoyed. Martin Hayes is now the second team’s highest ever goalscorer and deserves credit for his contribution every week.
Each and every player deserves credit for this season, where we narrowly missed promotion, and we should be confidently aiming to win this league next season with the talent we have available.
© Sean Lester 17/3/08