AFC Blackpool 2 Stockport Town 2: Match report

Rick Tomlinson opens the scoring for Blackpool
Rick Tomlinson opens the scoring for Blackpool
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A bumper crowd of 252 saw Blackpool concede an agonising equaliser in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

Blackpool Supporters’ Trust had promoted Saturday’s only non-league fixture on the Fylde coast in a bid to boost the attendance and so raise funds for the struggling Hallmark Security League club, whose finances have been heavily hit by vandalism at the Mechanics Ground.

It’s the third time this season that AFC have worked hard to establish a deserved two-goal lead only to let it slip in the dying moments.

For their first fixture in three weeks, AFC brought in new defender John Hay and midfielder Ashley Royle.

Stockport are unbeaten in 2017 and settled the faster, creating two early headed chances that had Callum Kirkland scrambling to keep out.

The Mechanics took the lead from their first attack of note on 27 minutes, when Jack Williams broke free down the right and his pinpoint cross gave Rick Tomlinson the easy close-range header.

The final chance of an even first half fell to Stockport’s dangerous Aaron Dwyer, whose goal-bound strike was turned over by Kirkland.

The second period became very bad-tempered, with a string of niggling fouls, but Kirkland again kept AFC in front, turning an effort away for a corner.

Williams was again the thorn in Stockport’s side, winning a penalty which he coolly converted to double the lead on 70 minutes.

It definitely looked like Blackpool’s day on 84 minutes, when Grant fired a penalty well wide after Marc Taylor was adjudged to have brought down Dwyer.

But Dwyer did get on the scoresheet a minute later with a well executed volley.

The visitors poured forward in search of the equaliser, which finally arrived deep into injury time, when Adam Stubbs headed home a free-kick. Blackpool had time to fashion one last chance but Dean Ing’s long-range shot sailed just over.

Blackpool remain 19th in the first division, 10 points clear of the relegation zone but they have played three games more than the bottom two. They have another opportunity to increase the gap at Atherton LR tomorrow (7.45pm). The Crilly Park club are two points behind AFC in 20th

STEVE PARRIS

Blackpool: Kirkland, O’Mahoney, Hanslip, McCuloch, Hay, Taylor, Duffield, Royle, Williams, Tomlinson, Betteridge; subs: Muscroft, Ing, O’Neill, Footman.