The youth team continued their strong end to the season on Saturday morning with a 5-2 victory over Salford City at Platt Lane.
A double from Arnold Matshazi, goals from Rob Apter and James Harrison and an own goal was enough for the Seasiders to claim a convincing victory in the Youth Alliance, despite the hosts pulling two goals back in either half.
Danny Ventre named an unchanged side for the game, with U16’s trio, Charlie Penman, Luke Byron and Jake Daniels all involved in the squad.
The game went from zero to 100 within the first minute as the Seasiders, who lined up in white, started on the front foot through Apter when he found Harrison in the six-yard box, though he glanced an early header wide.
Matshazi was causing problems from the start, and he forced a good save from Brad Rose before Luke Mariette caught the rebound sweetly, but Rose gathered his effort.
Salford mounted their first attack when Tom Shepherd drove at Jack Moore, and although the right-back looked to have him where he wanted him, Shepherd glided past him to cross dangerously, with the ball deflecting off Sky Sinclair, onto the post and away.
Ventre’s side dominated the opening stages and the majority of the half. This time, Penman whipped a terrific cross into the danger zone where Prince Yelegon headed over from close range.
Moore was venturing forward frequently throughout the first half, and it led to ‘Pool being awarded a free-kick after he was brought down. Apter hit a low-driven strike towards the bottom corner, but Rose was there to palm his effort away from goal.
For all their efforts, the Seasiders took the lead when Yelegon did well to shake off his man and feed Apter in on the right flank. He got to the byline, cut back onto his left foot and squared the ball to Harrison, who slotted home with ease.
A training ground move between Apter, Matshazi and Harrison saw the latter find Matshazi on the penalty spot, but he fired over.
Matshazi’s hard work was rewarded. Salford lost possession just outside the Blackpool area, which allowed Luke Mariette to come away with the ball and play Harrison in behind the hosts’ defence to shoot, which was saved, but Matshazi converted on the follow up to double ‘Pool’s lead.
An action-packed half heated up further just before the break. First, Jack Moore swung a fierce corner in at the near post, which Diego Ghaly headed into his own net before Jaden Timmis stepped up from the spot to give the hosts hope going into the break.
Half-Time: Salford City 1-3 Blackpool
The second half started in a quieter fashion, with the first real chance of the half falling to Apter, who took advantage of the opportunity presented to him. Tayt Trusty clipped a lovely ball over the top of Salford’s defence for Apter to chase and volley superbly over Rose.
Midway through the second half, Trusty worked his way into the area to cross to Luke Byron after bringing down a difficult ball, but the Under-16’s midfielder headed wide.
Salford grew into the half, and they were finding half chances, as Shepherd’s free-kick evaded everyone, somehow, and ran out for a goal kick.
Persistence did pay off, though, when a long ball over the top of the Blackpool defence found the boot of Djavan Pedro, whose clever strike found the roof of Charlie Monks’ net.
Byron fancied his chances in front of goal. Apter squared the ball to him 20-yards from goal. He took one touch and shot just wide with a dipping strike.
Again, though, as the referee’s whistle was about to blow, Blackpool extended their lead further through Matshazi after he saw Jake Daniels burst down the left and cross into the area. The forward took one touch and calmly despatched at the near post.
Full-Time: Salford City 2-5 Blackpool
Blackpool: Monks, Moore, Penman (80’ Wyllie), Sinclair (73’ Squires), Fitzgerald, Trusty, Apter, Mariette (63’ Byron), Yelegon, Matshazi, Harrison (65’ Daniels).
Unused subs: McLachlan.