Fylde coast hockey review: Blackpool, Rossall, Lytham St Annes
A severely under-strength Blackpool Men's first team recorded a 2-0 win at Southport in a rearranged game that had been abandoned because of the weather a fortnight ago.
With eight regular first team players unavailable, and the second team also engaged, David Wright returned to the line-up for the first time this season, along with debutant Keiffer Earnshaw.
Southport, fresh off a win against Bowdon the day before, boasted a full substitutes’ bench, while the visitors shuffled their 11 men into a tight half-court press, inviting Southport to play out from the back.
Earnshaw led the line excellently, covering plenty of ground and was well supported by Steve Whitley and Simon Thomas.
It was Blackpool who, despite their reduced possession, looked the most threatening on the counter-attack.
Jay Currey and Jordan Payne used their pace well down the flanks, but despite a couple of penalty corners, Blackpool failed to find an opening.
Earnshaw came closest after he picked up on a loose ball and charged downfield; his shot beat the goalkeeper but not the post.
After 20 minutes, Southport finally began to carve a way through Blackpool’s rearguard but they failed to put away any of their penalty corners.
With a change of ends, and the setting sun now glaring in the Blackpool faces, the task was expected to become much harder.
The outcome was no different as the visitors continued to frustrate Southport and remained a threat going forward.
Another flurry of penalty corners saw Blackpool come within a whisker as Whitley’s deflected effort from Payne’s ball was cleared off the line.
Dan Woodman also came close, but his effort was deflected off target by a Southport stick.
Blackpool continued to press, and after some link-up play down the left between Whitley and Payne, Earnshaw was on hand for a simple tap-in.
With 15 minutes to go, Southport made a number of changes in search of an equaliser, but Rob Abbott and Rob Dingle stood firm at the back, with Sam Bury putting in an impressive display.
Blackpool extended their lead with another of Payne’s trademark goals.
Thomas weaved his way through the Southport defence, before combining with Whitley and Currey for the ball to loop up towards Payne.
Stepping in front of his man, his reverse stick volley beat the goalkeeper to double Blackpool’s lead with fewer than 10 minutes to play.
Nick Rainbow was finally required as his kicked clearance set up another counter, but he remained untested in a game where Blackpool could be very pleased with their efforts.
However, the thirds were beaten 7-3 by an Ormskirk side who played far better than their previous results would suggest – and were the best team they had played all season.
Blackpool were expecting a tough game against a team with similar results to them.
They weren’t expecting to be 2-0 down after five minutes, beaten by the quality and speed of the Ormskirk strikers.
Blackpool pulled one back when Joe Neath controlled the ball well and scored from a short corner.
A minute later, however, and Blackpool’s defence were caught napping and conceded to a counter-attack.
Although Blackpool started to make their own attacks, introducing David Wright and Chris Pickles from the bench, Ormskirk managed another two goals, before Blackpool scored again.
Jacob Lyons gave a reverse stick pass across the face of the goal to Chris Pickles who bundled it past the keeper.
Despite trailing 5-2 at half-time, Blackpool didn’t feel the game had completely disappeared, and started the second half brightly.
A series of short corners were won but squandered, and it was Ormskirk who scored a sixth and seventh goal.
A late short corner for Blackpool was finally put away with a superb drag flick from captain Matt Atherton.
Blackpool Ladies were beaten 5-0 by Fylde Thirds at UCLan.
Blackpool had a couple of chances in the first half but they were two down at the break.
Fylde put a lot of pressure on Blackpool’s defence but brilliant saves from Sandra Wood kept them at bay.
They finally broke through with 15 minutes to go and added two more by full-time.
Beckiie Vale was the Blackpool player of the match despite an ankle injury.
n Rossall Ladies’ winning run ended with a 5-1 loss to Windermere who took over at the top of the table, one point ahead of Rossall.
Windermere attacked from the off, forcing a seventh minute penalty corner and then finding the net from close range.
They added two further goals within six minutes before a further goal from a penalty corner made it 4-0 at half-time.
Rossall regrouped at the interval, Deb Wilson returning to the defence after a first-half injury.
Rossall immediately began to fight back but Windermere increased their lead in 50th minute from short range.
Rossall redoubled their efforts, forcing two successive penalty corners – the second of which saw Tracey Housley find the unmarked Sam Wilson, who made no mistake.