Parker's nine find their way to amazing win

Holker OB 0 AFC Blackpool 3 BLACKPOOL started with nine men and the Cumbrians finished with eight in an amazing Vodkat League contest which saw Stuart Parker's side climb into the top half of the first division table.

Their chances of making it two wins out of two in 2010 looked slim when they started the match two men short after a group of players drove to Barrow via a bizarre roundabout route.

Having driven south on the M6 instead of north, the four car-sharers had reached St Helens before realising they were heading in the wrong direction.

When they finally reached Cumbria, they missed the turn-off and went two junctions too far up the motorway before doubling back again.

"I despair for the education system in this country," reflected Parker after his nine men safely negotiated the first 25 minutes before reinforcements finally arrived.

It could have been worse, but defender Chris Daze bravely started the game despite turning an ankle in the warm-up.

The late arrivals had missed little goalmouth action, though Ben Waddington had fired just over for AFC

The breakthrough came in the dying seconds of the half, when Ciaran Donnelly's shot was deflected into the corner after he linked up well with debutant Jamie Haydock.

There was still time before the break for Holker to receive the first of their three red cards, when Donnelly was pulled back by a full-back.

And so it was Blackpool's turn to enjoy a numerical advantage in the second half, and Donnelly almost capitalised only to see his chip tipped over.

He made no mistake on 54 minutes, steering a quick free-kick into the right corner after a second straight red card for a stamp on Matt Muscraft.

Complaints to the referee over the goal were punished by a third dismissal for the Cumbrians.

Blackpool were able to cruise through the rest of the match, substitute Kieran Rimmington sealing victory with a deft chip on 76 minutes.

Impressive debutant Haydock, a left-sided attacker from Myerscough College, had scored in last Tuesday's 4-1 friendly win over Runcorn.

The win lifts Blackpool a further two places to eighth, though they have played more matches than other side and don't return to action until Saturday week.

Parker said: "We were poor in the first quarter of the season but in the second quarter we averaged almost two points a game. The target for the third quarter is to average over two."

*THE Vodkat League returned to normal on Saturday after the big freeze ... except for Squires Gate.

The home of scheduled opponents Silsden was unavailable, meaning Gate still haven't managed a match since December 15.