‘When the players cross the line there’s nothing the manager can do about it,’ is one of football’s oldest cliches.
But it would appear it doesn’t apply in the Blackpool and Fylde Sunday Alliance.
Schools Media boss Philip Dilworth was so frustrated watching his side 2-0 down after just half an hour against Walkabout on Sunday that he made a drastic change – he threw himself on as sub.
The switch worked a treat, with the side going on to win 5-2 and maintain their great start at the top of division four.
“I told the lads afterwards I won 5-0,” boss Dilworth joked.
It’s been an outstanding start for the division leaders, who started the season as Ma Kelly’s but have since assumed the name of striker Ryan Green’s business.
On Sunday, Schools Media were stunned to trail to two Matt Gowen goals before a Nathan Rutherton header gave them hope at the break.
After Dilworth’s half-time talk, Schools came out a totally different side and were soon level when Green curled a superb free-kick into the top corner.
Dave Morris anticipated a long ball, flicking the ball over the advancing keeper to put Schools ahead for the first time.
Green put the game beyond Walkabout’s reach with a long-range fourth, then birthday boy Lee Barker was allowed to take a last-minute penalty to seal an ultimately convincing 5-2 win.
Dilworth added: “I think we maybe went into the game thinking the job was already done as we were top of the league.
“We got a big shock to be two goals down but the team reacted brilliantly after the break.
“We have made a good start now and are a point clear at the top. I’ve told the players it’s ours to throw away now.
“We have two more games before Christmas and the plan is to win both and start the New Year top of the table.”
Dilworth is new to the managerial role, having only taken over this season.
His predecessor stood down just four games into the season, leaving Dilworth to pick up the reins.
But it’s something he enjoys. “I was asked to do it and so far it’s been great,” he explained.
“We have a really good set of lads and a team we expect to be winning this league. That’s our aim.”
Schools can boast a professional sportsman in their ranks, with English cruiserweight boxing champion Matty Askin a regular in attack.
The side have cancelled their game on December 15 to attend the Blackpool boxer’s next fight in Wigan the night before.
“It’s great to have Matty and all the lads will be going to his fight to show our support,” said Dilworth.
“It may mean we’ll be without him for the next couple of games but his career is obviously much more important.”
School’s face Wyre Athletic this weekend before a crucial top-of-the-table clash with Shovels the following week.