Blackpool 0, Oldham 1
RESERVE team matches are pleasant, civilised occasions.
It's rather like going to a church fete or a village cricket match.
The spectators huddle in groups and spend the afternoon watching the match while discussing how their vegetable patch is coming along.
Unfortunately, the lack of urgency in the stand perhaps transferred itself on to the pitch at Bloomfield Road yesterday as, despite playing some nice football, a strong Pool second string failed to find the killer touch in front of goal.
Jamie Burns was the main culprit, missing a good chance when put through by Danny Coid, who had skipped through the Oldham backline as if it wasn't there (and given the Latics current financial situation, give it a week and they might not be).
But at least Burns was shooting. He had another three efforts which either flew past the post or were saved and looked lively throughout.
Coid was probably best man though, looking as if he was desperate to be involved on Saturday when Oldham are again the opposition, at first team level.
He kept drifting into the centre of midfield and given there is a hole to fill there at the weekend – when Richie Wellens is suspended – Coid has pressed his claims.
Keith Southern made a welcome return but Saturday is probably too soon for him.
He looked good early on, spraying one lovely 30-yard diagonal ball into the path of Matthew Blinkhorn, but the midfielder visibly tired as the match progressed and needs a few more matches under his belt before returning to full action.
First teamers Simon Grayson, Chris Clarke, Tommy Jaszczun and Richard Walker all played the full 90 minutes as did Gareth Evans, the left back signed on a month's contract. Evans looked comfortable on the ball and strong in the air though he too, after being out for a year with a serious knee injury, needs minutes on the pitch to regain his fitness.
Sixteen-year-old keeper Lewis Edge, who's also a talented wicketkeeper for Morecambe, looked comfortable on his reserves debut.
Busiest man was the referee, who seemed to mistake the 500-strong crowd at Bloomfield for a 50,000 gate at the Nou Camp. He booked Clarke and Coid for no apparent reason in the space of a minute and later yellow-carded Evans for good measure.
His best moment though came when Oldham's second half substitute began to run on the pitch from the sideline.
The ref pulled him back and made him go the halfway line two yards away before letting him run on – presumably the correct spot for replacements to enter the fray.
Thank God the official was there! Think of the repercussions if that had gone unnoticed...
Finally, instruction of the day came from Oldham's reserve team coach, who at one point late on shouted: "Rocky, tell Bocky he needs to get stocky".
You can't top that.
POOL: Edge, Grayson, Evans, Jaszczun, Clarke, Coid, Burns, McMahon, Southern, Blinkhorn, Walker. Subs used: Mangan, Wiles, Gilston.