Blackpool kick-off pre-season with eventful win against Southport
Blackpool kicked off their pre-season with a comfortable - and at times eventual - friendly win against Southport.
Wingers CJ Hamilton and Beryly Lubala scored the goals on Michael Appleton’s first game back as Pool boss.
While it was a comfortable win for the Seasiders against their National League North opponents, the main drama came off the pitch.
8s and 9s across the board: How Blackpool's players rated during gutsy QPR win
Michael Appleton on Blackpool’s win at QPR, injury concerns and ‘brilliant’ travelling fans
Our best fan pictures from Blackpool's historic first win at Loftus Road in FIFTY years
Charlton Athletic boss discusses Charlie Kirk’s future after re-emergence of Blackpool links
Josh Bowler hands Blackpool their first win against QPR at Loftus Road in FIFTY years
During the first-half, the game had to be temporarily halted due to fan disorder in the corner of the ground.
Thankfully the game resumed and there were no further flare-ups, despite warnings the game would be abandoned if further trouble occurred.
As is customary for their first friendly, the Seasiders lined up with two different XI’s in either half.
In the opening period, Beryly Lubala was named among the starters, which was his first involvement for the club in nearly 18 months.
The likes of Chris Maxwell, Richard Keogh, Sonny Carey, Keshi Anderson and Jerry Yates also played from the start alongside hot prospect Rob Apter, who bizarrely filled in at right-back in the absence of Jordan Gabriel.
The full-back is out with a hamstring injury along with James Husband, while Kevin Stewart and Jake Beesley weren’t involved.
After a sloppy start to the game, with misplaced passes galore, Blackpool eventually took the lead in the 15th minute.
CJ Hamilton was the scorer, slamming home from close range through a defender’s legs after Sonny Carey had been crowded out.
Carey almost doubled Pool’s lead four minutes later, side-footing just wide after waltzing into the Southport box and selling a couple of dummies.
The second goal duly arrived halfway through the first period, as Lubala confidently headed home from Carey’s corner.
The confidence was now oozing through the team, as Richard Keogh rattled the woodwork with a looping header before Keshi Anderson fired just wide from range.
Lubala, meanwhile, came close to his second of the afternoon, just curling wide after taking down a floated ball with a delicious first touch.
The game was bizarrely forced to be halted with 10 minutes until half-time due to fan disorder.
A group of young Southport fans made their way around the ground to confront the away end, with only one steward in between.
A handful of more ‘experienced’ Blackpool fans, shall we say, breached past a fence - causing the youngsters to scarper back to the home end.
Fences ended up being thrown, causing the referee to halt the game for 10 minutes - warning the game will be abandoned if it happened again.
Blackpool’s chief executive Ben Mansford and secretary Nick Horne even marched over to the corner of the pitch to intervene and calm down supporters.
Thankfully the game restarted and there were no more flashpoints for the remainder of the game.
Matty Virtue, one of 11 half-time changes, came close to adding a third eight minutes into the second-half when he was denied by the legs of the Southport keeper.
Virtue had a second bite at the cherry midway through the half when a half-cleared cross fell kindly for him on the edge of the box, allowing him to lash a first-time volley just over the bar.
With 20 minutes remaining, Southport threatened Blackpool’s goal for the first time when striker Nyal Bell showed good space to get in behind their backline.
Thankfully for the Seasiders, Dan Grimshaw got down well to make an excellent save to preserve the clean sheet.
At the other end, Josh Bowler worked the ball onto his weaker right foot before being denied by the midriff of the keeper.
The friendly otherwise fizzled to an uneventful end as Appleton tasted victory in his first game back as Pool boss.
A trip to York is up next as the Seasiders take on Leeds United on Thursday evening at the LNER Community Stadium.
Southport: Mason, J. Doyle, C. Doyle, Woods, Munro, Archer, Quansah, Hmami, Vassalo, Watson
Subs: Oliver, Evans, Newell, Walton, McMillan, Bainbridge, Carberry, Bell, Trialist A, Trialist B
Blackpool first-half: Maxwell, Connolly, Casey, Keogh, Garbutt, Anderson, Carey, Apter, Lubala, Hamilton, Yates
Second-half: Grimshaw, Tharme, Ekpiteta, Thorniley, James, Dougall, Virtue, Dale, Bowler, Lavery, Madine
Subs not used: Moore, Squires, Holmes
Referee: Ben Speedie
Attendance: 1,451 (714 Blackpool)