Derby Day Joy!
Blackpool secure hard fought victory at local rivals!
Blackpool returned to winning ways as they recorded a hard fought derby victory over near neighbours Fleetwood. Injury and unavailability forced the visitors into a raft of changes from the previous week's defeat to Bolton, with a number of old and new faces coming into the squad.
With pitch conditions necessitating a switch of venue from Fleetwoods home of Melbourne Avenue to the nearby King Georges playing fields, it was the away side that got off to the better start as they kept the ball alive with Paul Vuti coming close on two occasions to breaking the deadlock with rampaging runs down the touchline. Blackpool didn't have to wait much longer to open the scoring as minutes later a well executed line out and maul by the forwards saw them drive back the opposition pack which allowed prop Matthew Robinson to crash over from close range with James Carty adding a superb conversion from the touchline.
Fleetwood came storming back as aided by needless infringement from the away side they set up camp in the Blackpool half with scrambling defence from Carl Reynolds, Ashley Swarbrick and Tom Sanderson amongst others keeping them at bay. Unfortunately the weight of pressure eventually told as the hosts powered over for a short range converted try and minutes later they took the lead as they reacted quickest to a loose ball to slice through for another converted score.
The back and forth nature of the game continued as the visitors began to re-establish control of the contest with the forward pack, typified by the efforts of Callum Reid, Chris Parlour and Leon Mason, stepping up a gear and carrying the fight to Fleetwood. This allowed the ball to spread out to Blackpool's dangerous backline with great carries from Adam Glover and Antony Clark creating the platform for Carty to embark a mazy 50m run to the whitewash with the inside centre displaying great pace and footwork as he danced past a number of would be tacklers to score a superb solo try, leaving the game hanging in the balance with a scoreline of 14 – 12 at the interval.
As the conditions underfoot deteriorated the start to the second half began as a war of attrition in the mud, as both teams fought to gain a foothold in the contest. After a tense and often brutal ten minutes the deadlock was broken as more fantastic work from the Blackpool forwards, with Tristan Ainscough and Greg Jones at the forefront, saw another well executed line out which result in Mick Harrison forcing his way over the tryline with Carty slotting over the conversion. It wasn't long before the away side were over the whitewash again as with almost a carbon copy of the previous score, they drove the Fleetwood forwards backwards with flanker Richard Parlour delivering the coup de grace as he planted the ball over the line for a 24 – 14 lead.
Blackpool continued to pile on the pressure and after strong carries from Wade Kelly and the returning Hugh Sweeney carried their side deep into the hosts half, Glover danced his way through the defence to touch down with Carty adding his third goal of the afternoon to stretch the visitors lead even further. The home side to their credit continued to battle away, with the fresh legs of Dean Finegan, Martin Walls and Adam Worrall helping the the away side to keep the hosts at bay until the dying seconds when Fleetwoods weight of possession finally told as they crossed for a short range consolation try for a final scoreline of 19 – 31.
In a typically hard fought local derby, both teams deserve credit for the effort and commitment on show from the first minute until the last. In an excellent team display from each and every player to don the Blackpool shirt a number of individuals could have took the man of the match honours, but fittingly the award went to Adam Glover, who expertly directed his side around the park and capped a fine performance with a well deserved try of his own. Blackpool will be looking to build on this result when they play host to Preston Grasshoppers 6ths next Saturday.
Team: 1. Mick Harrison 2. Chris Parlour 3. Matthew Robinson 4. Greg Jones 5. Tristan Ainscough 6. Callum Reid 7. Richard Parlour 8. Leon Mason 9. Carl Reynolds 10. Adam Glover 11. Paul Vuti 12. James Carty 13. Antony Clark 14. Ashley Swarbrick 15. Tom Sanderson
Replacements: 16. Wade Kelly 17. Martin Walls 18. Hugh Sweeney 19. Dean Finegan 20. Adam Worrall
Tries: Carty, Glover, Harrison, R. Parlour, Robinson
Conversions: Carty 3/5
Penalties: Carty 0/1