AFC Blackpool 1 Cheadle Town 1: Match report

AFC Blackpool
AFC Blackpool
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Most other games in the Hallmark Security League first division fell victim to the weather, meaning AFC were able to close the gap on the teams above them slightly with this battling point against a well organised Cheadle.

The surface at the Mechanics Ground was in excellent condition considering the rain that had fallen in the 24 hours before the game, so full credit to the ground staff.

Unavailability again forced manager Stuart Parker into changes as Stephen Betteridge and Declan Shaw came in as full-backs , with the combative Dean Ing in midfield.

AFC were quickly on to the front foot and inside five minutes Aaron Fleming stung the palms of the Cheadle keeper Steve Piggott with a volley.

Five minutes later the same player caused panic in the visitors’ defence when Piggott couldn’t hold his long-range free-kick and the ball was eventually hacked clear after a scramble.

After those early scares the visitors settled into the game and the rest of the half was pretty even, with neither keeper seriously tested.

A ferocious hailstorm greeted the start of the second period, and just as the deluge was easing off three minutes in AFC fell behind.

A routine low cross was spilled by Callum Kirkland and Cheadle’s Matthew German had a simple tap-in from six yards out.

Kirkland atoned for his error 10 minutes later, when he saved bravely at the feet of Nathan Tusum and also blocked the follow-up shot.

AFC ramped up the pressure in their search for an equaliser and were rewarded with just 13 minutes remaining. A Declan Shaw long throw was flicked on to Fleming and the striker coolly finished into the bottom corner.

The best chance of a late winner fell to Cheadle winger Tabiso, who bore down on the goal and looked certain to score until Betteridge’s last-ditch diverted the ball away for a corner.

The search for that elusive first home victory goes on, but there was no shortage of heart and desire from AFC players.

STEVE PARRIS

AFC Blackpool: Kirkland, Shaw, Betteridge, Ing, Corbett, Taylor, Charnley, Richardson, Fox, Hanslip, Fleming. Subs; Footman, Parker, Hulme.

The attendance was boosted by Glossop North End fans, who turned up to watch the game after their fixture at Bamber Bridge was postponed.

STEVE PARRIS

AFC Blackpool: Kirkland, Shaw, Betteridge, Ing, Corbett, Taylor, Charnley, Richardson, Fox, Hanslip, Fleming. Subs; Footman, Parker, Hulme.