If nerves were present due to Bowden’s renowned quality, Blackpool took to the task carrying the confidence you would expect from a team of Champions and caught Bowden on a rear guard defensive. From the 1st whistle Blackpool pressurised the ball carrier, constantly turning the ball over, and looked like scoring in every attack. It wasn’t long before that pressure told and the first goal was neatly slotted home by Chris Hocking after he initially hit the post. Bowden, who struggled for any momentum, found it hard to respond to the pace of the counter attack from both the Blackpool flanks rotating between Thomas, Slater (MOM) and Currey, whose linking with the front line brought numerous attempts, some of which were squandered, two disallowed (which on video referral should have stood) and eventually a much deserved second was put in the back of the net by David Morgan, from a clever James Slater through ball. The Blackpool defence when challenged, maintained their composure and stood firm, cutting out any opportunities for the experienced Bowden attack.
Following the Captain’s, Nick Rainbow’s half time team talk, the settled Blackpool team took to the field to continue where it had left off. The fact that Blackpool had lost Dan Woodman with a hamstring strain in the first half and had no further subs, appeared to have a detrimental effect to the team, whose talk of keep it simple, pass the ball, use the pivot and other basics of hockey clearly was misinterpreted as gungho attack, long ball, blind passing, greedy and over stretched hockey. It was therefore no coincidence that Bowden’s once brow beaten confidence began to return and they started to dominate across the park and stretch the Blackpool defence. One attack at pace resulted in their first penalty corner, whose well-disguised routine caught out the on running defence and resulted in Bowden pulling a goal back. The game continued in much the same vein as Blackpool continued to gift the home team the ball and put pressure on their defence. As Blackpool tried hard to restrict Bowden’s attack, a controversial Penalty Stroke was awarded and duly scored. At two all, the home team sensed a chance to take all three points and Blackpool had to see off two more penalty corners and continued pressure to take home a point
In seasons gone by, Blackpool would have relinquished and gone home empty handed, so some solace should be taken in restricting a well organised home team who have started the season strongly to one point and the knowledge that they can perform strongly in Division 2. Their target has to be to maintain their structure, energy levels and importantly their composure for the 70 minutes and who knows…. Strength and Honour Blackpool as they invite Knutsford to the park for next week’s fixture