Match Preview: AFC Blackpool (A)
Andrew’s Match Preview
AFC Blackpool v Colne
Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy
Mechanics Ground, Jepson Way
Tuesday 20th September - 19:45
Colne travel to North West Counties Division 1 North side, AFC Blackpool in the Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy 1st round. Southport are the trophy holders after beating West Didsbury & Chorlton 2-1 in the final last April.
AFC Blackpool, formerly known as Blackpool Mechanics, have had an excellent start to the 22/23 season with only one defeat in eight league games. A Josh Winder goal earned an opening day 1-1 draw away at Runcorn Town, and Winder got two in the home fixture against Atherton LR with Billy McKenna adding a third in a 3-1 win. Birchall, Bishop and Walder each scored as Ashton Town were dispatched 3-0 at home. A 91st minute equaliser from substitute Ric Seear down the road at Nelson rescued a point in a 2-2 draw, with Winder on target for the other. Holker Old Boys inflicted a first defeat on the Mechs despite Ric Seear grabbing a hat-trick in a 4-3 away loss. Goals from Winder, Robinson and Seear secured a 3-1 win away at Steeton and Seear was on hand once more to score an injury time winner in a 2-1 home victory over Darwen after Jacob Gregory had cancelled out a Darwen opener. In their latest game on Saturday, AFC travelled to Oldham to take on Chadderton and despite being a goal down at half-time they managed to run out 3-1 winners with two goals from Jacob Gregory and another from the prolific Ric Seear. That victory lifted Blackpool into fourth place in the league with 17 points from 8 games, scoring 20 times.
Last season AFC were beaten 6-2 at home to Bamber Bridge in the first round of this competition and Colne were also beaten at the first hurdle, losing 4-0 to Atherton Collieries at Holt House.
AFC Blackpool players to watch - Experienced attacker and former Red, Ric Seear is in a rich vein of form with 7 goals already this term. Colne manager Phil Brown will be familiar with winger Jacob Gregory, who was a league title winner with him at Lancaster City. Gregory has just returned to the side, after missing the early part of the season, and has scored three times in two games already. Jacob is another Mechs player who had a spell at Holt House. Striker Josh Winder is another player who has had a great start to the season, scoring five times and winning three man of the match awards.
Last time out for the Reds - Unbeaten 1874 Northwich, visited Holt House on Saturday, boasting 5 draws and 1 win in the league this term. Colne had knocked the ‘74 out of the FA Cup in August with a 2-1 win and this proved to be another close game. Chances were very few and far between, as both sides struggled to find any spells of dominance or quality. Owen Watkinson battled well up front and Rolls Royce defender Glen Steele controlled the Colne rear guard and negated the aerial threat of 6 foot 7 striker Josh Quarless. Tom McCann and captain Paul Dugdale were instrumental in limiting the threat of danger man, right winger Joe Woolley. With the two teams seeming to be nullifying each other out, a substitution from Phil brown in the 64th minute proved to be the catalyst for the only goal of the game. Midfielder Bradley Knox was withdrawn and Harry Jones dropped deeper to allow Jack Doherty to join the fray, slotting in behind the front two. Six minutes later, Lucas Weaver’s well drilled shot was saved by Tony Aghayere, but it was ‘Super Sub’ Jack Doherty who reacted the quickest and he stabbed the ball home for what proved to be the winning strike.
Who’s on Ashh’s couch? - Hakan Burton, and Harry Winstanley remain unfit. Charlie Russell is in full training, but is recovering from flu; he could make the bench. Ellis Wallbank had to be helped from the field on Saturday after inuring his knee; he’s a serious doubt.
Team news - Harry Jones played in the attacking midfield role on Saturday, but Super Sub Jack Doherty has come off the bench twice in the last two games and netted, so he’ll be pushing for a start. Matty Kardacz could well return to the centre of defence. Morecambe loanee Andre Felipe da Silva Mendes will continue to deputise in goal.
Three wins on the spin now for the improving young Reds. Only 14 players in the squad for the last game so there isn’t much scope for squad rotation, in a Lancashire Trophy game against lower league opposition. Phil Brown is looking to add to his squad to help strengthen his options and improve the numbers, as the games continue to come thick and fast. The Mechs, although competing in a division, two leagues below Colne, will be full of confidence, due to their impressive start to their campaign. They are a very free scoring side with plenty of experience up top, and any complacency from the Reds would be duly punished. Colne’s young Lions however are finding some form and consistency and should have enough to see off the home side and progress through to the 2nd round.
Admission Prices are:
Match parking is available next to Common Edge playing fields. Parking outside the ground will be for players and staff only.
Sat 24th September - Colne v Consett AFC - 15:00 FA Trophy
Sat 1st October - Runcorn Linnets v Colne - 15:00 NPL West
Sat 8th October - Witton Albion v Colne - 15:00 NPL West
Tuesdays other Lancashire Trophy ties - 19:45
Radcliffe v Darwen
Padiham v Bacup Borough
Atherton LR v Atherton Collieries
Southport v Longridge Town - 19:30