AFC Blackpool lost 2-0 to Merthyr Town on Saturday in a match promoted as ‘Fans United Day.’
With fans coming from as far wide as Brighton, Manchester, Wrexham and Leeds there was a larger than normal crowd for what was the Mechanics’ only pre-season friendly at home before the league season kicks off.
Manager Dave Worthington gave a runout to a number of new signings and some younger players against a Merthyr Town team which plays in the Southern League Premier South, two divisions below the Football League.
Although Merthyr were on top for much of the first half, the hosts did come close to taking the lead just before the break as the first half ended goalless.
The second half continued with the visitors having much of the play, although AFC held their own and defended well.
However, two quick goals late on won the game for The Martyrs as Ryan Prosser fired past Alex Cameron from 18 yards before Lee Price netted the second with a far post finish.
After the game, Worthington said: “I thought on the whole we performed well against a side that is three divisions higher than us in the football pyramid.
“We’re trying to address our weaknesses from last season, and at the moment, we might not be the most pleasing team on the eye to watch in terms of football.
“It was a great day, if not a great match and it was excellent to see and hear the Merthyr fans join together with our own Tin Hut Brigade as well as fans from other clubs.
“We have made a few signings this summer to try and improve the squad.
“A few of the players we’ve worked with before, so we know and trust them on and off the pitch, which is massively important when you are building a team.
“This is our second season in charge and we both feel that we are stronger than this time last year, although most of the teams will be stronger anyway, so it can mean little.
“However, we do feel that AFC will again be competitive in the league. It is hard at this level when you are competing against teams with budgets, and whilst that makes the challenge even bigger, it also makes us even more determined to do well.
“We have a good set of lads with a good attitude, and a season on from where we started, we have a bit more continuity in the squad, and vital knowledge of this league.”
AFC have one final pre-season friendly at Poulton Town tonight (7.15pm) with the first game of the league season being at home against Cleator Moor Celtic on Saturday.