Frustration as Pool Suffer First Defeat
Blackpool Men’s first team suffered their first defeat of the season in somewhat controversial fashion, going down 2-1 to South Cheshire. Blackpool, boasting an impressive record against their hosts, started the game slowly, with a lack of speed in their play. The slack defensive work was soon exploited by the home sides attacking line as they went ahead with less than ten minutes played. Blackpool fought hard to get back into the match with Chris Hocking impressing from right back, and slowly the visitors began to dominate possession. Hocking’s accurate ball in to Ian Swaine allowed him to find Dave Morgan at the back post for a well-deserved equaliser. Blackpool believed they should have had a penalty stroke as the ball appeared to hit a defender’s shin on the line, but neither umpire had clear sight of the incident, and South Cheshire were relieved to hear the half time whistle.
Within minutes of the second half, the already fiery game exploded. A penalty corner awarded to South Cheshire resulted with the ball in the back of Nick Rainbow’s goal, but also an attacking player on the ground with a head injury. One umpire had blown his whistle, and Blackpool were insistent that it had gone comfortably before the shot was even taken, let alone cross the goal line. However after a long discussion between the umpires, it was decided that the ball crossed the line, as the whistle blew, and therefore the goal would controversially stand. This enraged several Blackpool players, with (perhaps unluckily to be singled out) Andy Mortimer sent to the sidelines for disputing the umpires decision.
Moments later, Rob Abbott in the Blackpool area, went down clutching his face after an accidental blow to the face. Cries of “head injury” rang out from the Blackpool defence, but the umpire was unable to see the incident and play continued for a further few seconds. This minor delay to the whistle being blow re-ignited the anger amongst Blackpool and this time it was Ian Swaine who saw yellow to join Mortimer off the pitch. Blackpool battled on, with an excellent defensive effort from Man of the Match Craig Brookes as they slowly regained their full complement of players. Soon after it was South Cheshire who were reduced to 10 men after a number of physical challenges had tested the patience of the umpires too far.
Blackpool ended the second half similar to the first, with numerous chances on the home sides goal. A breakaway saw Morgan and Swaine combine, only for the latter to be prevented from scoring illegally, and a penalty stroke awarded. With less than five minutes to go, Rob Dingle scuffed the flick attempt allowing the goalkeeper to make an easy save, and with it went Blackpool’s final chance. Blackpool embarked on the journey home, frustrated with a number of decisions (as were South Cheshire in fairness) feeling unlucky not to have taken a point from the game.