Memory Match: Portsmouth 3-3 Blackpool, 1981

Dave Hockaday played a leading role for Blackpool in the six-goal thriller
Dave Hockaday played a leading role for Blackpool in the six-goal thriller

Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to look back at Blackpool's entertaining draw against Portsmouth on January 24, 1981.


Alan Ball, a Blackpool legend, later went on to manage Portsmouth

Alan Ball, a Blackpool legend, later went on to manage Portsmouth

Breezy Blackpool put the wind up promotion chasers Portsmouth with a storming second half exhibition at Fratton Park.

Playing often brilliant attacking football, Blackpool came back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, and only surrendered a point in the last ten minutes.

Two goals by Colin Morris – taking his tally to 16 – and a fine header by Max Thompson completed a magnificent rally between the 44th and 76th minutes which saw Blackpool battle to the brink of a marvellous win.

They were pounding away to the end and Man of the Match Dave Hockaday almost snatched a last-gasp winner.

The point and the performance must have given Blackpool tremendous heart for the fight ahead.

Their rally started after striker Wayne Entwistle was brought on for defender Gordon Simmonite after 53 minutes to support Hockaday and Morris.

Willie Morgan moved back to midfield and Paul Gardner to full back.

The boldness of the gamble was given added meaning and brought extra reward when dominating centre half Aizlewood limped out of the fray seven minutes later.

The combined gain for Blackpool of a striker and loss for Pompey of a defender worked an incredible transformation.

Entwistle’s bustle down the centre left the elusive Morris and Hockaday to cause havoc all around.

Morgan responded to conjure the three passes for all the Blackpool goals.

Alan Ball may have regretted his rare penalty miss in the first half, which would have made it 1-1, but if that had gone in he may not have made the substitution that brought the magic.

While Blackpool were robbed of a victory for which they have been striving for 11 games, their second-half frolic must have warmed players and fans alike.

Blackpool made a nightmare start when Hemmerman gave Pompey a ninth-minute lead. The Blackpool defence was squarer than a Des O’Connor appreciation evening at the WI.

Morris almost equalised, then Ball’s penalty after a foul on Hockaday after 33 minutes cracked the upright.

Portsmouth took advantage on half time when Simmonite’s slackness gave Billy Rafferty an easy goal against his old team.

Blackpool could have been dead and buried within five minutes of the restart but Jackie Ashurst cleared alertly off the line after Rafferty’s header hit the inside of the post and Gardner’s brave dive among the studs robbed Rafferty.

Came the substitution and Blackpool were swamping Portsmouth with slick, direct football, unselfish running and improved distribution. Their long-awaited readiness to shoot at goal also paid handsome dividends.

Morris picked up Morgan’s short 59th minute corner, brilliantly turned a defender and his shot surprised Mellor and slipped through.

Blackpool were not to be denied and big Max Thompson stepped up for Morgan’s 67th minute corner and smacked home a fine header.

Entwistle slid in and poked Morgan’s volley just wide but Morris’s 76th minute low shot from a gorgeous Morgan pass seemed to hit a divot on the badly rutted pitch and spun in to put

Blackpool dramatically in front.

But Tait claimed a soft equaliser for the hosts, the only time Rogers escaped Gardner’s shackles.

Following the game, player-manager Ball said: “We could have hit six in that purple patch in the second half.”

Blackpool play ten of their last 17 games at home and just seven away as they look to secure survival.

Attendance: 13,265