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Blackpool 2013

The 2013 Football Aid fixture at Bloomfield Road took place on a sunny Saturday afternoon in early May. The football was as bright and lively as the wonderful seaside weather, eventually ending up as a 3-1 victory for the Away side after they came back strongly from a 1-0 deficit. Although most of the chances fell to the Away side throughout the game, the Home team certainly were not content to let them run Away with the match and the team in Tangerine ensured that it was a closely fought contest for the entire 90 mins.

Date: Saturday 4th May 2013
Venue: Bloomfield Road
Blackpool FC Home vs Blackpool FC Away
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Legends: Ciaran Donnelly, John Hills, Jamie Milligan, Derek Spence
Match Officials: Adie Feber, Hugh Fish, Ashley Mitchell and Gary Burke

John Hills takes his charges through the warm up.

It was the Home team who got the match underway, wearing the famous Tangerine shirts, and within minutes they were contending with some serious pressure that was being applied by the Away side, who were wearing the white change strip.

Early on in the match, the Away team pressed high up the pitch although they were unable to create any clear-cut chances. The first effort on goal came from the Away side, a speculative long shot from the No 9, Ashley Walsh which drifted wide. The pressure from the Away team continued with the Home team struggling to hold on to possession and get out of their own half. 

The Home team soon managed to register their first effort on goal with a free kick taken from long distance by No 11 Terry Rickeard, but the shot failed to test the goalkeeper as it drifted wide. Another effort from distance at the other end followed but it was easily gathered by the Home GK, Aaron McGarry. 

The early pressure exerted by the Away side soon eased into a more balanced period where neither team were able to dominate possession or create any chances of note. The Home goalkeeper was properly tested for the first time when Ashley Walsh found space just inside the box to get a fierce shot in which McGarry could only palm away for a corner, however the resulting corner was well cleared by the Home defence. 

The Away team midfielders were beginning to look increasingly sharp as some good build up play including a lofted through ball out to the left wing led to a chance for Steven Eckersley which was well blocked by a Home team defender. The Away side were right into their stride by this point and created a whole host of chances. Some good build up play down the left-flank led to what looked like a tap-in for Ashley Walsh but he was closed down quickly by defenders and his shot was smothered. No 10 Ashley Price then hit a long distance effort which tested McGarry, but once again he would not be beaten.

An opening goal looked like it was certain to come for the Away side as they created another chance, after a beautiful lofted pass from No 7 Lewis Charlett found Price again, but his low curling strike was superbly saved by McGarry. Soon after the Away team were forced into a substitution when the unfortunate Stephen Eckersley was replaced by Chris Lawton following a muscle strain.

The Home team were still struggling to get out of their own half, although they were stifling the Away team more effectively with their well-drilled offside trap. Eventually however Derek Spence’s boys earned their first shot on target when a poor clearance fell to Terry Rickeard and his low volley was gathered by Away goalkeeper Mike Ritchie.

As the half began to draw to a close the match suddenly came alive as a superb dipping effort from Charlett was touched over the bar by the imperious McGarry. However a quick counter attack from the Home team ended in the first goal of the game. Although against the run of play, the slick passing and the wonderful curling finish from Terry Rickeard gave the Home team a well-earned lead on 32 mins. (1-0)

The Home side seemed to settle into the game now and were exhibiting some excellent football, including some lovely skill from Captain Simon Heaney. Just as it looked as if the challenge from the Away side was waning a long ball from the left wing into the box left the Blackpool Home side all at sea (if you’ll pardon the pun!). The ball made it through to Ashley Walsh who was able to calmly chip over the onrushing McGarry and the ball crossed the line before anyone could clear it. (1-1)

After equalising on 38 mins, the Away side kept up their pressure for the rest of the half but apart from a low drive from Kris Archer, which was well saved, they were unable to create any more chances. The Home side were the happier of the two sides going in at the break, having spent most of the half without sustained possession but will lament the sloppy defending that led to the equaliser for the Away team. The two legends on the Away team gave a very positive team talk to the team in White, demanding more of the same build-up play but with more clinical finishing. 

Half Time: Blackpool FC Home 1-1 Blackpool FC Away

The Away team kicked off for the start of the second period and were looking to apply the same sort of pressure that they did at the start of the first half and registered an early shot on goal when No 7 Charlett hit an unsuccessful strike from long range. Following this however the game became very stretched as both teams were marauding quickly up the pitch but neither were able to find the right final ball.

The match continued in this vain for some time until the Away captain, No 6 Steven Foreman created an amazing chance for himself to score when he turned neatly on the edge of the box and found himself in acres of space to beat the keeper but once again McGarry saved his curling shot. 

Despite his heroics, McGarry was let down by his defence at the resulting corner, as Charlett’s out swinging cross found Steven Foreman who was not challenged by any of the defenders and powered his header into the back of the net from 6 yards to give the Away team the lead on 58 mins. (1-2)

The Away team had hit a real purple patch and the Home defence who had been well-organised and had restricted the Home side to few clear shots on goal up to that point, were torn apart on occasions by the pace and movement of the Away team’s forwards. A brilliant run and cut back gave Price the chance to extend his side’s lead, but his shot was cleared by defenders on the goal line.

The Home side then responded with their own injection of pace down the right wing and No 7 Stuart Holmes hit a delightful ball across the face of goal that was begging to be tapped in, but none of the Home team forwards were able to meet it.

After a rocky opening to the first half, the Home side started to look much more solid as the 2nd half progressed and at 1-2 there was every chance they could snatch an equaliser. However they were almost undone by another long ball to the centre-forward, Walsh but his attempt to round McGarry would have to be better to beat a Goalkeeper on top form.

Mid-way through the 2nd half, the Away team began to look nervy as the Home side were looking more comfortable in possession and came close to creating chances. Credit must be given to the Away defenders though as they stifled the threat posed by the Home centre forwards and cleared any dangerous crosses that came into the box.

The Away team then gave themselves some breathing space when they scored their third goal of the game, a wonderful lofted through ball found Ashley Walsh and it was déjà vu all over again as he chipped the onrushing McGarry to earn his brace on 76 mins. (1-3)

The two sides played with plenty of freedom for the final section of the game as the match became very open. Steven Foreman missed out on his chance to get a brace when he failed to convert a low cross from Charlett, and Kris Archer also missed his chance to get on the scoresheet late on as he hit a volley on the rebound over the bar.

Both teams contributed a great deal to a match that was highly competitive and punctuated with plenty of good football. As the final whistle blew there were smiles all round after what had been a great afternoon at Bloomfield road.

Full-Time: Blackpool FC Home 1 - 3 Blackpool FC Away

Man of the Match Away: Robert Thorpe
Man of the Match Away: Stuart Green 
Moment of the Match: Aaron McGarry

Home Team: Aaron McGarry, Chris Heaney, Ciaran Donnelly, Robert Thorpe, Joel Holmes, Stuart Holmes, Simon Heaney (C), Richard Cutts, Dean Thorpe, Terry Rickeard, Kevin Banks, Dave Wheatley
Home Manager: Derek Spence
Home Mascot: Matteo Heaney, Jacob Heaney

Away Team: Mike Ritchie, Tim Evans, John Hills, Jamie Milligan, Billy Eckersley, Stuart Green, Steven Foreman (C), Lewis Charlett, Stephen Eckersley, Ashley Walsh, Ashley Price, Kris Archer, Garry Philpot, Phil Lawton
Away Mascot: Finley MacCann