Blackpool Ladies won through to the semi-finals of hockey’s Lishman Cup with an outstanding 4-0 victory over Lancaster Nomads 2 at Stanley Park.
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Both teams looked a little rusty after the Christmas break and the severe cold didn’t help.
Both teams had early opportunities but the Blackpool defence kept strong and keeper Sandra Wood made some great saves.
Blackpool grew into the game and defended higher up the pitch, though they too were met by solid defence and goalkeeping as the first half ended goalless.
The home side came out fighting for the second half as Georgia Cherry opened the scoring.
Further pressure was rewarded as a brilliant break by Laura Girvin caught Lancaster out and resulted in a second goal .
It wasn’t long before Annabelle Counsil positioned herself well to convert a cross clinically for the third goal and Girvin’s second completed the scoring.
Blackpool’s defence and midfield worked well together throughout and their play of the match was goalscorer Cherry, with two-goal Girvin and Vicky Hives sharing second place.
Blackpool Hockey Club’s senior men’s team started 2018 with a much-improved performance despite the 4-2 home defeat by second-placed Didsbury Northern 2 in North West division one.
Welcoming back Sam Robinson and Josh Payne from university, the home side started much the brighter at Stanley Park but were denied early goals by two superb saves and a goal-line clearance.
They were made to pay for not converting these chances as Didsbury took the lead with a direct strike at a penalty corner.
Blackpool captain Ian Swaine equalised but Didsbury regained the lead by half-time from another penalty corner, despite Graeme Kilshaw saving the initial effort.
Didsbury began to gain a grip on the game and made it 3-1 10 minutes into the second before capitalising on a misunderstanding to add a fourth. Robinson pulled one back from a penalty corner with ten minutes remaining but Blackpool had ran out of steam. Payne was named man of the match but the whole team performance gives hope for the second half to the campaign.
Winless Blackpool 2 lost 3-1 away to Blackburn Northern 2 in division four north.
This match, frozen off last month, went ahead in an extremely cold wind and under floodlights as the sun set.
Blackburn scored first with a strong hit into the corner from the top of the D, but Blackpool were level at half-time after Will Pickles dribbled into the D and laid the ball back for Chris Walker to score.
Blackburn brought on their big guns after the break but Blackpool’s defence remained resolute for a while as Jamie McKinnon made some outstanding saves.
Blackburn changed their short corner routine and converted a penalty stroke after Pete Latimer’s outstretched foot blocked a shot on the goal-line.
A tangle in the Blackpool goalmouth resulted in goalkeeper McKinnon conceding another penalty stroke and captain Matt Atherton being shown a card. McKinnon produced a superb save to tip the shot over the bar and give the 10 men hope.
Blackpool went close to another equaliser as Keiffer Earnshaw’s pace caused Blackburn’s defence all sorts of difficulty but the home side sealed the win following a mix-up at the back between Latimer and McKinnon.
Blackpool continued to press for a second goal until the final whistle, and their efforts against the fifth-placed club renewed their hopes of recording their first points of the season.