Blackpool Men showed their battling qualities in a hard fought 1-1 draw away to South Lakes in North West Three North, despite playing most of the game two players short.
Again heavily hit by injuries and unavailability, Blackpool travelled with a bare 11, including debutant Chris Pickles, who had impressed in the second team.
The 11 turned to nine when Chris Hocking and Ian Swaine both picked up injuries in the opening few minutes.
Even so, Blackpool took the lead through Mitchell Blakemore after he linked up well with Nathan Woodman and James Slater.
South Lakes soon began to dominate and won a series of penalty corners that were well defended.
Slater took a blow to the hand to add to Blackpool’s injury woes, but despite heavy pressure they made it into half-time with their slender lead.
The second half brought more of the same as Blackpool defended deep and put bodies on the line.
Nathan Woodman lost a tooth from a mis-hit pass, and Rob Dingle was struck on the toe.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic as Blackpool had chances on the counter-attack to double their lead. Blakemore’s reverse stick shot smashed into a post and the ball raced across the goalmouth, just evading Hocking’s reach.
Eventually the pressure told and a South Lakes equalised with under 10 minutes remaining.
A tense finish brought chances for both sides, Blackpool’s best coming in the dying moments when the ball just beat Slater to the line
South Lakes picked up a crucial point in their fight for survival, while Blackpool will be very proud to hold on. Captain Nick Rainbow was voted man of the match for his great saves as his team remain fourth.
Blackpool Seconds were also weakened by injury against second-placed Blackburn Northern in Five North.
Kieran Armstrong, Sam Robinson, pictured below, and Josh Boyne all stepped up and played really well against Blackburn’s senior side.
Boyne and Martin Hayes scored but mid-table Blackpool were unlucky to lose 3-2.
Blackpool Thirds travelled to Lymm 3 with only nine players and captain Alex Diver among the injury casualties.
They still began brightly and counter-attacked swiftly but still fell behind. They had a chance to equalise before half-time but had a penalty flick well saved.
Fatigue set in during the second half as Lymm added four goals to leapfrog Blackpool in Division Eight North.
Blackpool now stand seventh after this first defeat in seven games.