The Blackpool and District Youth League Under-16 title race looks set to go to the wire and Poulton are very much in the hunt after this emphatic 8-2 victory over St Annes Greens at Blackpool Road North.
The match wasn’t as one-sided as the scoreline may suggest, with the match in the balance at 1-1 at half-time.
But Poulton pulled clear in the second half as Nathan Feeney, Max Resina and Ryan Norman all scored twice.
Syd Sullivan was also on target and Ted Sarjantson came out of goal to complete the scoring from the penalty spot. But the first half was a tighter affair as St Annes didn’t allow Poulton to settle in the early stages and scored an equalising goal courtesy of Lucas Kilgallon.
The pick of the goals were a fabulous shot from Resina and a splendid solo effort by Norman, who nutmegged the last defender and fired into the far corner.
The game was up by the time St Annes added their second through their man of the match Joseph Newell.
They were frustrated by Layton’s rock-solid back three of Ollie Medhurst, Joe Manford and Joe Fowler, who have been outstanding all season.
It was a must-win game for Poulton as they chase Lytham for the title. Poulton’s destiny is in their own hands as victory in both their remaining games will seal top place.
The first of those is against Layton tomorrow, then Poulton face St Annes again on the final day. In between those matches there is a Hogan Plate final to look forward to this Sunday and manager Adrian Manford joked: “I’ve told the players I will accept nothing less than the double!”
He added: “We have a game in hand on Lytham and I think it will go to the wire. And after playing them on Sunday, we now know what St Annes are all about.
“We didn’t take our chances in the first half but we told the players to keep the ball down and play their football, then it was one-way traffic in the second half.”
But St Annes themselves are determined to end the season strongly and had an outstanding keeper in Tom O’Neill.
Their manager, Jayne Cowgill, said: “I think our heads dropped after their third goal. Poulton are going for the title and so perhaps wanted it a little more.
“We will have a say in who wins the title, but whatever happens we’ve had a great season and will probably finish third.”
Both managers named a goalscoring midfielder as their man of the match
Joseph Newell was the St Annes choice after a tireless performance in which he orchestrated play.
Poulton’s two goal Ryan Norman scored one of the goals of the game and was always influential.