A brace from striker Connor Ready saw the youth team come from behind to secure a 2-1 win against Fleetwood on Saturday.
Playing at Squires Gate, due to Fleetwood’s pitch being water logged, The Seasiders responded perfectly to last week’s heavy defeat to Burnley, and thoroughly deserved the three points.
Blackpool dominated their opponents for most of the game, without causing the Fleetwood goalkeeper, Oliver Martin, too many problems.
With five minutes remaining it looked like Fleetwood would hang on for a share of the spoils, but Ready was on hand to finish off a fine team move and give John Hills’ side a much deserved victory.
Both sides started the game tentatively, with neither goalkeeper having to make a save in the opening 20 minutes. But on 29 minutes Fleetwood took a surprise lead, after a long punt up field from Martin caught Pool captain Louis Cross on the back foot. Cross attempted to head the ball back to his goalkeeper, Dean Gardikiotis, but instead headed the ball over the flailing arms of the keeper, and into his own net.
Blackpool were in determined mood, and responded well to conceding. On 33 minutes Henry Cameron crossed from the left byline, and saw his cross blocked by the arm of a Fleetwood defender. A penalty was awarded and Ready confidently dispatched it hard and low into the right hand corner to bring the scores level.
Pool started the second-half brightly, nearly taking the lead in spectacular fashion after 47 minutes. Central defender Harrison McGahey cracked a shot with his right foot from all of 45 yards. With Martin beaten, the ball cannoned off the cross bar and away to safety.
Four minutes later midfielder Kieran Shaw picked up a yellow card for a trip on the half-way line.
With Fleetwood breaking at speed, Shaw upended his man and took a tactical yellow card on 51 minutes as a result.
With a number of his players sidelined through injury, Hills had started the game with two under 16s in his side, in Mark Waddington and Henry Cameron.
On 66 minutes the introduction of Jacob Anderson, for Jon Fraser, saw another Centre of Excellence player on the pitch. Anderson, who only turned 15 last week, would have a significant impact on the game.
Then came the best passage of play on 85 minutes, Ready finishing off a move of exquisite construction. Starting on the left wing with Emmanuel N’Daw, who got better as the game went on, Blackpool passed it across the midfield to the opposite flank. The ball came to Anderson who began a rampaging run, playing a one-two with Cameron, before cutting inside on the edge of the box and laying the ball to Ready, who calmly finished off the slick move. Hills was delighted with the goal.
The goal sealed a confidence boosting victory, and was met with a jubilant pile on from Blackpool’s players. The unity of the team was clear to see, and Hills was just as happy as his players with the victory.
“To see the lads buzzing like that after the game gives everybody a lift. I don’t think for one minute that after today’s win we’ve got to where we want to be, but it’s something to work on,” Hill said.
“As a team we’ve worked hard, we’ve competed, and the lads have done everything I’ve asked of them. Instead of having a rubbish weekend, we can all go and enjoy it.”