|Blackpool Mechanics FC v Kirkham & Wesham FC in NWCL (2) last night. As promised here are a number of top quality photographs kindly provided for publication on the site by Blackpool photographer Phil Heywood. Thanks Phil.|
My opinion – This was a hard fought yet well contested local derby played before a big crowd at Jepson Way last night. The match generated a lot of local interest and the crowd was also boosted by a sizeable contingent of Kirkham fans.
Mech's management had clearly done their homework and the 5-3-2 formation included a back five put in to deal with the pace of Kirkham's attack. For the first 30 minutes the home side were well on top. Constant harrying in midfield by the likes of Ashall and Gibson allowed Kirkham players no time on the ball. As well as some long balls for Gardiner to chase Mechs also played it short through the middle and a number of chances from open play and set pieces were created. Gardiner had a good chance but couldn't wrap his foot around the falling ball. Kirkham were at times reduced to hoofing it upfield making the likes of Horsfall mere spectators as the Mechs back line won everything in the air.
In the final fifteen minutes of the half Kirkham came very much into the match. They began to play some good football through the middle and down the flanks. They were beginning to stretch the Mechs' wingbacks and get behind them but it remained goalless at the break.
The second half started relatively even but the more it progressed the more threatening Kirkham became. At 0-0 however Mechs had a glorious opportunity to go 1-0 up but the cross eluded both Cairn's diving header and a Dave Cram snapshot at the far post. The deadlock was finally broken when the ref awarded a nailed on penalty for handball. Paul Carroll's hand was above his shoulders and stopped the ball going towards goal – unfortunate but no complaints. Paterson stepped up and lashed it in the top corner on 75 minutes. 0-1.
At the time the first goal was conceded perhaps the best Mechs were looking at was a 0-0 draw which would have been a good result. Going behind meant that they had to become more offensive and naturally gaps appeared at the back. On 82 minutes Kirkham's prolific striker Mark Wane beat Cook to the ball in a one on one and flicked it over the advancing keeper's head and into the net.
Another Kirkham breakaway in the dying moments saw the Mechs defence wide open on the left and Taylor made no mistake with a right foot finish by Cook. 0-3 and game over.
Both teams looked very good at times and played some decent football. Both defences were excellent in the first half. Kirkham look to have the quality to win the league and if Mechs' promising yet inexperienced youngsters can keep improving they shouldn't be too far behind them.
Final score – Blackpool Mechanics FC 0 – 3 Kirkham & Wesham FC
Wayne Gardiner (Left) tangles with Dougie Shaw.
Martin Ogier (Centre)
Is that Paul Carroll with the acrobatics?
Kirkham's Dougie Shaw.
Micky Horsfall (Left)
Keeper Jamie Cook saves with his legs
Chris Cairns (Right)
Mark Ashall (Right) – Mechs' best player on the night for me.
Taylor scores ! 3-0 and three more valuable points for Kirkham & Wesham FC