Blackpool’s youth team held on with 10 men to beat Fylde Coast neighbours Fleetwood Town 3-2 at Poolfoot this afternoon.
Two goals from Owen Watkinson and a first-half strike from Sean Graham ensured the under-18s took home all three points, despite Fleetwood pulling two goals back through Enoch Takpe and James Cooke.
Blackpool came firing out of the traps early on and looked to get in the faces of their opponents. Nathan Shaw breezed past his man with tremendous skill but eventually ran the ball out of play.
Fleetwood then started to get a foot hold in the game. Barry Baggley played a ball back to Shayden Morris on the edge of the box, he got the ball out of his feet and got a shot away which went just wide of the post.
It didn’t take long before Sean Graham was getting in on the action. He tried to beat his man before getting brought down. Nathan Shaw took the free-kick, but his effort rebounded off the wall and the hosts cleared.
The next bit of play brought a goal for Blackpool. Tony Weston did well to play a ball down the channel, James Hill’s attempted clearance fell to the feet of Emil Jaaskelainen and he sprayed a ball out to Sean Graham, who beat his man and fired in off the post.
Baggley was causing problems with his left foot for the hosts. A flurry of crosses were being whipped in by the wide man, one of which was met by Ryan Rydel, whose header flicked off the bottom of the post and out for a goal-kick.
Each attack was end-to-end. This time, a high ball pumped back into the area by Sean Graham dropped to the feet of Jaaskelainen who shot, but Pengelly got down well to deny him.
The next attack produced a goal for Fleetwood. Good individual play from Enoch Takpe allowed him space in the box to shoot low into the bottom left corner.
Just before half-time, Fleetwood crossed into the mixer where James Hill was waiting, but he headed wide just before the referee brought the half to a close.
HT: Fleetwood 1 Blackpool 1
Two minutes into the second half, Blackpool won a free-kick on the edge of the area. Jaaskelainen took, but Pengelly saved with ease to his left.
Then, a loose clearance from Will McGladdery allowed Carl Johnston to take a shot from the edge of the area, but that goes over the bar.
Amongst the attacks Fleetwood were having, Blackpool kept pushing themselves. Shaw floated a free-kick into the area, Pengelly came to collect but dropped it to the feet of Will Avon, he tried lobbing it into the net, but James Hill retreated well onto the line to clear.
Blackpool then got the next goal. Tony Weston played a great ball over the top to Ewan Bange, he brought it down and some nice passing between the trio of Bange, Jaaskelainen and Watkinson allowed the latter to receive the ball back and curl a shot past Pengelly.
Moments later, Watkinson scored his second and Blackpool’s third of the game. McGladdery picked the ball up in midfield and drove into the final third, he then slipped a ball into Watkinson who shot fiercely past Pengelly.
All within six minutes, Watkinson was involved in another game changing moment. He was shown a straight red for a challenge on the halfway line, bringing his afternoon to an end.
Fleetwood then started to grow into the game and they had a dominant final ten minutes. Baggley did well to play a ball back to Takpe in the area, but his touch directed towards goal was saved by Kellett.
Blackpool were sitting in and soaking up pressure. Ryan Rydel tried his luck from range, but Kellett denied him.
The pressure then paid off for the home side. The ball was played inside from the wing to Jamie Cooke, he took one touch and shot from range past Kellett to give Fleetwood a glimmer of hope.
The referee added on five minutes of added time, allowing Fleetwood to come forward again and again. A dangerous ball across the face of goal couldn’t be turned in at the back post by Johnston.
The final effort of the game came in from long range, but Sam Kellett held well before kicking it long up the field, which led to the referee blowing the whistle for full-time.
FT: Fleetwood 2 Blackpool 3
Blackpool: Kellett, Avon, McGladdery (Wood), Winstanley, Liptrott (Rogers), Shaw (Goudou), Weston (Bange), Smith, Watkinson, Jaaskelainen, Graham.