Seasiders Beat Port ValeGoals from Dion Charles and Dom Telford rounded off Blackpool’s Youth Alliance league season in a 2-1 win over Port Vale on Saturday.
The young Seasiders, who became champions of the North West table the week before, took the lead after half-time at Squires Gate when Charles tapped into an empty net from close range.
Vale equalised with a quarter of an hour left as Omar Haughton slotted past goalkeeper Connor Hunt, but there was still time for Telford to find the winner, two minutes from the end, when he headed home Elliot Pond’s cross.
With nothing to lose in the fixture, Head of Coaching Richie Kyle made two changes to the side which sent Preston North End out of the Lancashire FA Professional Youth Cup 4-1 on Wednesday.
In came next season’s scholars Macauley Wilson and Elliot Pond, with Rowan Richardson and George Lomax the two to miss out.
However, it was the visitors who went closest to opening the scoring, with Pool goalkeeper Daniel Milton having to parry away Billy Reeves’ powerful drive from the right after four minutes.
Haughton also struck low and wide of the Canadian’s far post moments later while, at the other end, Charles blasted a shot past the post after cutting in from the left.
Kyle was forced into his first change after 15 minutes with Henry Cameron seemingly injured – Conor Ready his replacement.
And it was the substitute who came closest for Pool in the first half-hour as he placed his strike from Telford’s pullback into goalkeeper Harry Pickering’s gloves.
Telford and defender Luke Higham then hit wayward strikes off target in the search for the opener.
The Tangerines’ best chance of the first period fell to striker Pond, although he was denied by a point-blank save from Pickering inside the box after bursting through one-on-one.
HALF-TIME: Blackpool 0-0 Port Vale
Mick Ede’s Vale missed a glorious chance to take the lead following the break, with Chekaine Steele shooting wide of an unguarded goal inside the Pool penalty area.
And the miss was made to count with 68 minutes gone, as Charles tapped into an empty net after midfielder Mark Waddington had burst through and been denied by Pickering’s parry.
The visitors, sixth in the North West table, hit back seven minutes later, though, with Haughton breaking in behind Pool’s defence and placing the ball into the bottom left corner.
It looked like the Seasiders would have to settle for a point to end their season although, as they have done on many occasions in the past, Kyle’s side popped up with another late winner.
And again it was Telford, the winning goalscorer in the 4-3 victory over Oldham Athletic, who popped up with a header in the 88th minute, as he glanced Pond’s cross from the right into the near corner.
Pool held on to finish their league campaign in style, leaving them with just one more match this season – the LFA Professional Youth Cup Final against Oldham at Bloomfield Road.
FULL-TIME: Blackpool 2-1 Port Vale
BLACKPOOL [4-4-2]: Milton; Wilson, Moulden, McGahey (Cato, 69), Higham; Cameron (Ready, 15), Waddington, Staunton-Turner (c) (Doyle, 59), Charles; Telford, Pond.
SUBS: Hunt, Doyle, Cato, Ready, Lomax.
GOALS: Charles (68), Telford (88).
PORT VALE [4-4-2]: Pickering; Clarke, Faulkner, Bergin, Morris; Lewis, Steele (Ede, 71), Reeves, Haughton; Turner, Davies (c).
SUBS: Ferrie, Attrell, Ede, Mottram.
GOALS: Haughton (76).
REFEREE: MR C. Porter