After Saturday’s loss for the second team, Blackpool Men’s first team exacted revenge on Leyland & Chorley Men’s firsts with a 6-1 victory in the Lancashire Trophy. In the ‘tie of the round’ clash at Buckshaw Village, Blackpool found out just why their teammates came unstuck as the home side proved to be worthy opposition, despite sitting two divisions below last year’s semi-finalists. On a much improved surface from the day before both sides settled into their play right from the off in end-to-end contest. Despite the excellent hockey on display, there were minimal scoring opportunities form open play, mainly due to defensive performance of both teams.
The deadlock was finally broken when Leyland took the lead from a well worked penalty corner that left Nick Rainbow unsighted in the Blackpool goal. Blackpool’s task was made more difficult as they went down to ten men as Ian Swaine saw yellow for dissent. Borrowing from Chester’s tactics the day before, the visitors sat back to allow Leyland space on the ball, but compacted the play in their own half to limit chances. As Blackpool regained their full complement of players, Jordan Payne and Josh Boyne, the latter on debut, entered the game from the substitutes bench giving much increased impetus to the play. Blackpool, determined not to be outdone in front of a vocal home crowd sensing a potential upset, equalised via a penalty corner of their own. Dave Morgan’s strike took a slight deflection on its way through, but not enough to tip it wide of the post. Morgan nearly gave Blackpool the lead minutes before half time when his touch was only inches off target after a well worked move down the right flank.
Keen to capitalise on the numerical advantage, Blackpool surged forwards with Boyne, Whitley and Thomas all making inroads into the home side’s tiring defence. An excellent passing move involving a number of Blackpool players left Steve Whitley to slap the ball home to continue his scoring run. The Leyland striker was waved back onto the pitch by the umpire, but the damage had already been done as the confident Blackpool side began to show the flair that put Knutsford to the sword earlier in the year. Another sweeping move ended with Morgan completing his excellent hat-trick, deflecting a great reverse stick strike by Swaine though the keepers legs, to extend Blackpool’s lead to three goals.
The Payne brothers combined to allow Josh to score his second goal of the season, and older brother Jordan nearly played in man of the match Boyne at the back post with a pin-point through ball. There was just enough time for Jordan to get on the score sheet himself, with a well-earned goal in the dying minutes.