Campion 2 AFC Blackpool 3: Late goal gives visitors three points

A late goal from James Hughes saw AFC Blackpool return from Yorkshire with three points on Friday night to sit top of the North West Counties Football League First Division North.

By Nathan Salmon
Sunday, 5th September 2021, 4:45 pm

A journey to Bradford on a Friday night meant some of the Mechanics’ players were unavailable.

Ben Duffield, John-Jo Morris and Adam Sumner all missed out, which gave opportunities for Danny Pickering and Conah Bishop to start.

Campion began proceedings but AFC were quick to gain possession and create some early chances.

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Billy McKenna and Joe Gregory both had early efforts before they took the lead on six minutes.

The home side failed to clear and Pickering brought down the ball before unleashing a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

Martin Baird’s players enjoyed a 15-minute spell afterwards where they had the ball and continued to create chances.

Brendan O’Brien and Oscar Radcliffe failed to capitalise on corners but AFC then doubled their lead in the 20th minute.

Pickering was once again involved, threading a ball through the defence to Gregory who squared it for McKenna to score his first of the season.

Despite their two-goal deficit, Campion began to find their feet and forced Dan Hall into an exceptional save, clawing away an effort heading for the top corner.

However, five minutes before half-time, he saved a powerful effort but Nicky Boshell knocked home the ball into an empty net.

Trailing 2-1 at the break, the home side started the second half on top as AFC began slowly.

Nevertheless, Radcliffe sent another headed opportunity over the bar before Kyle White spurned a chance on 72 minutes.

He led a counter-attack before drifting into the box, where he sent an effort over the bar despite being one-on-one with the keeper.

Campion took advantage of those missed opportunities when they levelled on 80 minutes.

Hall dropped the ball and, despite AFC players claiming that it hadn’t gone out of play, the hosts were awarded a corner.

The set-piece was whipped in and Daniel Keane rose above everyone else to equalise.

There was still time, however, for Baird’s players to provide one last twist with five minutes of normal time left.

A lofted ball over the top found Hughes, who burst past his opposing man before firing an effort towards the near post and past the keeper.

Campion sent one final effort over the bar before the final whistle sounded, enabling AFC to celebrate their three points.

AFC Blackpool: Hall, Hughes, McLean, O’Brien, Higham, Pickering, Radcliffe, Gregory, White, Bishop, McKenna. Subs: Buchan, Dawson, Robinson, Aspinall.

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