Match report: AFC Blackpool 3 Cammell Laird 2

Blackpool recorded their first home win of the season against the Merseyside visitors in an entertaining Hallmark Security League match at the Mechanics Ground.

Sunday, 24th September 2017, 9:14 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th September 2017, 9:20 pm
Ben Fishwick opens the scoring for Blackpool Picture; ALBERT COOPER

AFC went into the game on the back of two defeats whereas Lairds, relegated from the premier division last season, had won their previous two games 5-1.

Manager Dave Worthington had seen his side concede twice in the first 15 minutes two games running, so stressed the importance of a good start.

And the players responded well from the kick-off, a great run by winger Billy McKenna resulting in striker Ben Duffield hitting a post.

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Joe Malkin went close for the visitors, who also hit a post, and AFC were forced into an early chance by a knee injury to captain Marc Taylor.

His replacement Jamie Nay slotted in at right-back, with Martin Baird taking the captain’s armband and switching to central defence.

The game was fairly even and it was AFC who took the lead on 25 minutes, when a well worked free-kick from McKenna was superbly converted by Ben Fishwick.

However, just seven minutes later they were pegged back by a bizarre own goal by defender Alex Caunce, whose heavy-back pass went past keeper Callum Kirkland into the net.

After an even first half, the home side took the lead again in the 65th minute, when Kit Gregory was upended by Lairds keeper Richard Conderoy after an excellent run.

The referee immediately pointed to the spot and Duffield converted the penalty, although Conderoy did get a hand to the ball.

AFC continued to play on the counter-attack and always looked dangerous. And from one such raid Gregory made it 3-1 with 10 minutes left.

Lairds pulled a goal back when Josh Malden converted the second penalty of the game with five minutes left to set up a tense finish but AFC held on.

Worthington said: “Again we looked a threat going forward and I thought we should have scored a few in the first half.

“With the last couple of results being heavy defeats, it would have been easy for the lads’ heads to go down when Lairds equalised.

“However, they worked hard throughout and deserved the victory.

“The team spirit on and off the pitch is really developing and growing.”

Blackpool move up a place to 12th in the first division, just a point behind Lairds.

Blackpool: Kirkland, Baird, Baird, Betteridge, Caunce, Taylor, Pickering, McKenna, Hargreaves, Duffield, Fishwick, Gregory; Subs: Nay, Bishop, Mottram, Preece, Speight