1874 NORTHWICH 2-3 AFC BLACKPOOL NWCFL PREMIER 18TH APRIL 2015
A hard working display from relegation threatened AFC Blackpool earned the seasiders the points they required to avoid dropping into the First Division and ensured 1874 Northwich’s 100th competitive game ended in defeat.
The vistors calmed any nerves they may have had visiting the Barton Stadium by scoring in the 3rd minute. 1874 surrendered possession in midfield to Kurt Willoughby who spotted Matt Conkie off his line and from inside the centre circle lofted a shot over 1874’s custodian and into the net.
Moments later, Conkie came to 1874’s rescue with a double save to first deny Willoughby from scoring a second and then to prevent Ben Duffield from netting the rebound.
1874 started to get more into the game with Ryan Mitchell heading wide from a corner and Neil Chappell shooting wide from distance before the scores were levelled in the 22nd minute. Paul Connor ended a run down the right wing with a dangerous low cross which Blackpool keeper Adam Caunce pushed into the path of Mike Brandon who smashed the ball into the net off the underside of the cross bar.
Blackpool dominated the closing stages of the first half with Matt Muscroft going close to restoring their advantage with a header before Lloyd Balazs struck in the 36th minute. Taking a pass from Zac Wilkes, who cut in from the right wing, Balazs unleashed a powerful drive from the edge of the area which, despite Conkie getting a hand to the ball, flew into the net.
Blackpool struck again a minute before half time, 1874 failed to clear a high ball played into their area, falling to Willoughby on the edge of the area, he volleyed high into the net to make the half time score 3-1 to the visitors.
Apart from the odd break by Blackpool, the second half was almost constant one way traffic as 1874 responded to their half time team talk from manager Ian Street in a positive manner. Matty Ward drove a free kick into the side netting, Chappell headed inches wide from a Dilan Lomas cross, Mitchell also headed narrowly wide from a free kick and Caunce did well to prevent a Ward cross from sneaking in at the near post.
Mitchell reduced the deficit in the 74th minute scoring from close range after a good run and cross by Chappell.
1874 continued to push forward in search of an equaliser as the tangerines started to run out of juice, but could not find a way past a determined Blackpool outfit fighting for their Premier Division lives. 1874 were presented with a golden opportunity to tie the game in the 79th minute when Wilkes was harshly adjudged to have handled the ball in Blackpool’s penalty area; however Caunce saved Mitchell’s spot kick.
Man of the match Mitchell almost rescued a point in the last minute of an open entertaining encounter, rising highest at the far post he could not direct a Lomas cross under the bar with the ball nestling on the top of the net.
1874 – Conkie, Connor, Lomas, Mitchell, Thomas, Chappell, Woolley, Beadle (Lunn 69mins), Brandon, Ward, Ledwards. Subs not used Wellstead, Stewart, Bayley, Duckworth.
AFC BLACKPOOL – Caunce, Nay, Carroll, Vaughan, Ford, Taylor, Wilkes, Muscroft, Duffield (Thomas 66mins), Balazs, Willoughby. Subs not used Summer, Green, Brown.
GOALS – 1874 Brandon22, Mitchell 74 AFC BLACKPOOL Willoughby 3,44 Balazs 36
REFEREE – James Wilson ATTENDANCE 261
MAN OF THE MATCH SELECTED BY TNT PEST CONTROL = Ryan Mitchell.