Blackpool FC Ladies recorded back-to-back league wins as they comprehensively overcame Preston North End Ladies, courtesy of goals from Mac Barlow, Jennie McGill and a brace from Alix Reid.
In blustery conditions on the Fylde coast, The Seasiders took the game to the visitors in the early stages and McGill stated their intent, shooting across goal but wide of the upright after five minutes.
Brown saved from Barlow and Lauren Oatley, but midway through the opening period Blackpool were in front. Reid slid a pass into Oatley on the left, who sped past her opponent and advanced into the area. She picked out Barlow with a precise cut back, who took a couple of touches to get the ball out from under her feet before rifling a left foot shot into the corner.
Oatley played an important role in Blackpool’s goal and could have found the score sheet herself soon after. McGill did brilliantly, knocking the ball past her full-back and sliding a low cross to the far post. Oatley came racing in but was unable to find the target from 10 yards.
Preston, who are still without a win this season, struggled to impose themselves on the game and rarely threatened. Jenny Coupe had a hopeful shot from distance which trickled harmlessly into Mesketh’s arms.
After half an hour Blackpool had a great chance to double their advantage, McGill was played in behind the Preston defence but was denied by Brown as she came rushing off her line, getting a vital toe on the ball to divert her effort marginally wide.
A second goal for the home side looked likely, but when it did arrive it owed more than a touch of good fortune. Reid was a threat all afternoon and in one jinking run she beat two defenders and sent a hanging centre towards the goalkeeper. Brown misjudged the flight of the cross and only succeeded in spilling it into her own net. A gift for Blackpool.
Immediately after Preston had a chance to respond, Natasha Roe finding herself one-on-one but she scooped her shot badly over the bar. It was a glorious chance gone begging.
Blackpool were well on their way to three points and the chances kept on flowing after the restart. Barlow’s lifted shot was plucked out of the air by Brown and Oatley couldn’t get a sufficient connection on to a dangerous cross.
Reid got back amongst the goals to make it 3-0 after chasing a long ball over the defence, taking a touch to round Brown before finishing confidently into the empty net.
On 64 minutes, Hesketh produced a terrific reflex stop from Nicola Hallett to preserve Blackpool’s three-goal advantage.
Preston were now showing more invention in attack and ten minutes from time they cut the deficit. Partridge hit a free kick from 40 yards out, which was surely aimed at one of her teammates in the penalty area, but it appeared to get caught in the strong wind and sailed over Hesketh.
But Blackpool restored the three goal lead seconds later with an excellent goal. It featured more brilliant play from Reid as she showed neat close control to weave through several challenges before squeezing a perfectly weighted reverse pass through to McGill. McGill turned away from her defender and slotted an accurate right-footed shot into the corner.
Blackpool were the superior team throughout and probably should have won by a greater margin, after passing up several good opportunities.
After a tricky start to the season, The Ladies are moving in the right direction following two successive wins and are now in ninth position on seven points.