Blackpool secured their first win of the season with a first half goal from Oli McVicor in a tight 1-0 victory over Leyland & Chorley, with several opposition players were left in a state of disrepair.
Blackpool made a bright start with James Smith and Harrison Stott creating spaces in midfield, linking up with Kieran Armstrong and Kieran Alett out wide. There were several early chances for the strikers Ollie Tomlinson and Oli McVicor, and after a cross from the right McVicor volleyed the ball but it was initially saved by the keeper, but McVicor was able to calmly slot the returning ball into the corner of the goal to give Blackpool an early lead. James Smith was unlucky not to score after a good passing move with his shot just going wide of the right post.
Blackpool’s defence looked solid with Conagh Griffin, Alex Hughes, Pete Latimer and Will Turnbull all linking well and giving keeper Stephen Pope a quiet game. A solitary short corner was conceded in the first half after a counter attack from Leyland, and their shot from the corner hit Turnbull mid-torso enroute to goal. Despite being so high a penalty stroke was awarded. Leyland’s skilful veteran defender (and I’m able to say that being of similar age and played against him in our respective 1st teams 10+ yrs ago) stepped up but his flick went wide, much to Blackpool’s relief.
With the score at 1-0 Blackpool continued to attack, and the likes of Ollie Tomlinson, Kieran Atmstrong and Kieffer Walker-Earnshaw were dribbling to the edges of the D, but crosses were going wide or shots were being stopped. The pressure was relentless but Leyland held firm. Blackpool won a short corner and pushed it to Conagh Griffin who whacked the ball towards goal with all his might. Unfortunately one of the Leyland defenders was advancing and the ball was rising, and contact was made in the worse place possible for a man. Down went the defender and the resultant groaning was heard all over Buckshaw Vilage. Play was stopped for several minutes whilst the player recovered his breath and gingerly limped off, much to the amusement of his not so sympathetic brother on the sidelines. Post match reports suggest some very bad bruising, but a particular part of his anatomy seems to have protected the really fragile parts.
Together with this particularly bad injury, one of Leyland’s key midfielders succumbed to a recurring knee injury and was less of a threat in the second half than he was in the first. There was also one of two yelps when firmly hit balls struck Leyland’s players on the feet, but no evidence of any long-term injury from them.
The late low sunlight caused a couple of problems to the Blackpool defence towards the end of the game, but otherwise they looked in control, and a first clean sheet and victory for Blackpool was secured, in what was a game played in great spirit by both sides.