After two comprehensive league victories, Blackpool were tested far more in a narrow 3-2 win over Springfields in the Lancashire Cup at Stanley Park.
With Springfields a division above Blackpool, the cup tie was always going to be a tough clash, but the task became even harder after just two minutes when Blackpool’s leading scorer Dave Morgan limped off with a hamstring injury. The opening 10 minutes were fairly frantic with two sides set up to play counter-attacking hockey. With Morgan off the pitch, Ian Swaine took on the mantle of target man up front, and found his way onto the score sheet with a tidy finish after an excellent ball from David Wright. After the breakthrough, Blackpool dominated both possession and the opportunities at goal for the majority of the half. Swaine struck the post from a penalty corner, and Jacob Currey was only inches away from doubling the lead. As the half wore on, Springfields came back into the game and ended the half in the ascendancy after Wright was unfortunate to get a foot on a speculative pass and test the umpires’ knowledge of the new own-goal rule.
At 1-1 both teams stepped up the intensity as a few heavy tackles flew in. With Blackpool beginning to tire, Springfields forced a succession of penalty corners but were unable to convert and in true Blackpool style this led to the home side’s second goal. A breakaway down the right hand side ended with Swaine getting off a snap shot on the turn which took a heavy deflection from a defenders stick and crashed into the crossbar. However Wright was involved in the action yet again, and was on hand to sweep in the rebound and restore Blackpool’s lead. Springfields were looking to gain some cup momentum after a tough start to their league season, threw everything they had at Blackpool. Eventually the pressure told and the Blackpool defence was finally beaten by a penalty corner. On getting the goal to put the match in the balance, Springfields switched off and in less than 60 seconds after the equaliser, Blackpool were back in front. James Slater pressurised the defence latching onto a loose pass, and after drawing the keeper, the ball fell perfectly to Swaine who hammered home his second.
Blackpool squandered the chance to put the tie to bed when Rob Dingle had his penalty flick saved, but their defence stood firm to secure a place in the second round against Didsbury Northern. The next round will take place on the 25th November as Blackpool face a monumental task against a team 41 positions above them in the league.
© Rob Dingle 7/10/12