Memory Match: Blackpool 3-1 Northampton, 1988

Tony Cunningham produced a lively performance
Tony Cunningham produced a lively performance

Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to look back at Blackpool's win against the Cobblers on October 4, 1988.

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Mark Taylor missed out with a freak injury

Mark Taylor missed out with a freak injury

Sam Ellis’s hobbling heroes defied the injury odds to beat fifth-placed Northampton Town in a bizarre but pulsating contest in the Bloomfield Road rain.

Already robbed of wingers Mark Taylor and Mark Davies, Blackpool had to overcome injuries which hampered goalkeeper Barry Siddall and centre-half Shaun Elliott and left the treatment table as crowded as the starting grid at Le Mans.

Both men face a race against time for Saturday’s visit to Bolton Wanderers, where victory would cut the gap on the current third-placed club to just two points.

Mark Taylor missed the game after a freak accident in training which left him with a twisted ankle and meant he would be out of action for two months.

Blackpool’s first home win in the league this season has lifted a huge burden from under-pressure boss Sam Ellis and his players.

With the match ball donated by a local dentist, a few painful extractions were inevitable before the final relief.

A Blackpool side bereft of fortune in several matches in their unhappy start to the season rode a season’s share of luck in an unrelenting night’s action which might have owed more to the pugilist than the purist but still represented marvellous entertainment.

How Blackpool deserved some breaks at last.

They set aside sickening injury blows to at last take their chances in a match that mattered.

Long John Siddall, clearly operating on one good leg and forced to kick left-footed, made a brilliant reflex save from McPherson’s header after 27 minutes but Blackpool created some good openings.

Andy Garner should have scored after 35 minutes when the excellent John Deary broke clear and squared a pass which left the goal at his mercy.

Garner scooped his shot over the unguarded goal.

Blackpool made sure this miss didn’t prove too costly by taking the lead three minutes later.

Tony Cunningham beat Northampton’s perilous offside trap and his cross hit Dean Thomas and squirted through Peter Gleasure’s hands and over the line off a post.

Elliott’s awful back pass gave substitute Longhurst – on for the injured Culpin – an immediate chance to level but he beat Siddall only to run the ball out of play.

Gleasure produced a juggling act worthy of the Tower Circus but just kept out Cunningham’s sharp header from a Garner cross.

Injured Elliott only lasted a minute of the second half before Chris Thompson came on and almost scored within four minutes.

He beat the offside trap but put the ball behind with Alan Wright well placed for the centre.

The ground erupted to an incredible ovation on the historic appearance of Craig Madden as sub for Wright in the 58th minute.

You’d have thought the Seventh Cavalry, Erica Roe and Diego Maradona had appeared at the same time.

Within two minutes, Blackpool were 2-0 up. Garner looked offside but scampered on to set up Thompson for his first goal for the club.

Blackpool’s luck held when Madden’s poor back pass sold Siddall short and Wilson incredibly ran the ball straight into a post with the goal wide open.

Siddall then kept out a Gilbert shot with his knees after another Wilson miss with the Blackpool defence awol.

Colin Methven and the excellent Dave Burgess worked overtime to cover gaps left by colleagues and Methven even found time to set up the third goal.

His pass down the left put Garner clear off the offside ploy yet again and his slide rule pass saw Deary charge in to thump a well-deserved goal.

Siddall produced a blinding save to keep out Adcock’s header but after a spate of Blackpool misses was powerless to prevent Northampton’s consolation goal.

He produced another fine save to beat out Donald’s shot but no-one picked up Gilbert who rammed in the rebound.

Blackpool: Siddall, Burgess, Morgan, Deary, Methven, Elliott, Walwyn, Cunningham, Coughlin, Garner, Wright

Northampton: Gleasure, McGoldrick, Flexney, McPherson, Thomas, Singleton, Donald, Gilbert, Garwood, Culpin, Adcock

Attendance: 3,034