MATCH REPORT: Nantwich Town 1-2 Blackpool

Mark Cullen got the Seasiders off to a good start, scoring after three minutes
Mark Cullen got the Seasiders off to a good start, scoring after three minutes

Blackpool kicked off today’s friendly double header with a 2-1 win against Northern Premier League Premier Division side Nantwich Town.

Mark Cullen and new signing Marc Bola scored in either half, with Nantwich’s goal coming from the penalty spot.

Pool’s starting line-up included Christoffer Mafoumbi, Nick Anderton, Marc Bola, Harry Pritchard, Mark Cullen plus six trialists.

All other first-team players will feature against Port Vale in Pool’s second friendly of the day at 3pm.

It took just three minutes for the Seasiders to take the lead, as Mark Cullen nodded in from close range following a smart cross into the box by one of the trialists.

Pool were inches away from doubling their lead on 19 minutes when a trialist centre back met Harry Pritchard’s corner only to hit the post with his header.

A couple of minutes later Nantwich got back on level terms thanks to some assistance from referee Ben Atkinson.

One of Blackpool’s trialist defenders appeared to have been fouled in the penalty area but the man in black disagreed, instead opting to award a penalty kick much to the amusement of Gary Bowyer, who jokingly appealed to refer the decision to VAR.

James Lawrie sent Christoffer Mafoumbi the wrong way to tuck home the resulting spot kick.

Nantwich keeper Will Jaaskelainen then made a superb save to stop Blackpool from retaking the lead, making a fingertip stop to deny Nick Anderton whose curling effort was heading towards the top corner.

The Seasiders went close twice in quick succession, with a midfield trialist whistling a low shot just wide of the post before Cullen went close with another close-range header.

Cullen thought he was just about to grab his side’s second when he rounded the keeper after being sent through on goal, but a Nantwich defender recovered well to clear away for a corner.

It took just four minutes of the second half for Pool to retake the lead, as new recruit Marc Bola lashed home from inside the box after maneuvering some space for himself with some tidy footwork.

The Seasiders were dealt an injury scare on the hour mark when Mark Cullen was brought off after falling awkwardly on his knee.

But the striker, who spent much of last season on the sidelines after undergoing surgery on his hamstring, was okay to stand up and walk off the pitch as he was replaced by Owen Watkinson. He was later seen with an ice pack on his knee.

The home side almost got back on level terms for the second time in the match as Caspar Hughes tried his luck from range, but Mafoumbi was equal to his effort beating it away from goal.

At the other end, youth team striker Watkinson side footed wide of goal after being picked out by a left-wing cross.

Harry Pritchard then had the ball in the back of the net with a header, only for the referee to rule it out for a shove inside the box.

The former Maidenhead United midfielder, who impressed with some tidy footwork and passes, went close again with what proved to be the last chance of the game as he curled a left-footed effort just wide of the far post.

Blackpool: Mafoumbi (Sims), Anderton, trialist, trialist, Bola, trialist (Sinclair-Smith), Pritchard, trialist (Clayton), trialist (Shaw), trialist, Cullen (Watkinson)