AFC Blackpool 4 Golcar United 1: Great win for returning manager Martin Baird

AFC Blackpool marked Martin Baird's return to the dug-out by running rampant against second-placed Golcar in the North West Counties League.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 12:15 pm

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Having reconsidered last month's decision to resign because of work commitments, Baird oversaw Blackpool' s return to winning ways against a Huddersfield side previously beaten only by leaders Bury AFC in first division north.

Baird named new signing Michael Donlon in goal, replacing Dan Hall, while Conah Bishop started alongside Kyle Higham at centre-back.

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Ben Duffield scored either side of half-time for AFC Blackpool

AFC grew into the game at a rainy Jepson Way, where Ryan McLean had the first chance of note, a volley from the edge of the box which was deflected over the crossbar.

Donlan started well at the other end, rushing out of his goal to pull off an important save.

The hosts continued to dominate as Jacob Gregory and John-Jo Morris both went close with shots, the latter rattling the outside of a post when a corner was cleared to the edge of the box.

Baird’s men paid for their missed chances on 37 minutes, when a Golcar cross from the right was headed down and Dan Naidole flicked the ball over Donlon from close range.

AFC pushed for an equaliser before half-time and were awarded a penalty on 43 minutes, when quick feet by Morris saw a Golcar defender lunge in.

Ben Duffield converted his third penalty of the season, finding the top right corner.

The Mechanics didn't stop there and took the lead on the stroke of half-time.

A cross caught the wind, eluded the keeper and fell for Ben Roberts to despatch an acrobatic overhead kick into the top left corner to leave Blackpool 2-1 up at half-time.

After the restart, a Golcar shot from range was palmed away by Donlon and on 49 minutes AFC stretched their lead.

Joe Robinson intercepted the ball in the centre circle and released Duffield, who found the bottom right corner from long-range as the keeper rushed out.

Golcar threw everything at AFC in the second half but the home side were resilient defensively, with Bishop having an exceptional game and Donlon making some good saves.

Blackpool added a fourth on 82 minutes, when Donlon's goal-kick ran through to the Golcar keeper, who came out of his goal and sliced his clearance.

Substitute and new signing Curtis Thompson reacted quickest and nodded the ball to Kyle White, who arrowed his shot into an empty net.

This first win in five games was hard-earned and a great start for the returning manager.

Blackpool remain in sixth place, a point outside the play-offs, before visiting leaders Bury on Tuesday.

AFC: Donlon, Radcliffe, Bishop, Higham, McLean, Sumner, Robinson, Gregory, Morris, Roberts, Duffield; Subs: Thompson, McKenna, Pickering, White, Winder.

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