League misses out on LFA glory

First published in Sport Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

THE Blackburn, Darwen, Hyndburn and District Junior and Youth League has enjoyed its fair share of county success in recent years but this time it wasn't to be.

On a wet and windy night at the County Ground in Leyland, Blackpool played the conditions better in a game that never really lived up to its expectations.

Blackburn suffered an early blow when centre back Oliver Holden limped off in the opening minutes and having to reshuffle their pack didn't help matters.

In contrast, Blackpool looked lively and alert and seemingly capable of causing their opponents problems on every attack.

But with that said, Sam Eastwood whipped in a dangerous cross the flew across the Blackpool area before full back Nathan Brooks tested the keeper from range.

However, it was no surprise when Blackpool took the lead although Blackburn were their own worse enemies.

Twice Blackburn failed to clear the ball and Sam Price capitalised on the mix-up to slide the ball to Jordan Casey who cut inside one challenge to fire the ball home.

But credit must go to Blackburn for their almost instant reply.

Brooks threaded a lovely pass through to Jonny Riley who cut the ball back to Marcus Carver. While his shot was well blocked and partially cleared, when the ball was lofted back in to the area Carver reacted quickest to rise above Blackpool keeper Kyle Thomas to head home.

Blackburn ended the half well with Ryan Smalley drilling in one cross before Riley did likewise but no-one could supply the finishing touch.

And that momentum was taken in to the second half when Zac Slater and Riley combined to release Smalley on the right whose firmly struck shot was tipped over the bar by Thomas.

Riley then had a firmly struck effort blocked before Jonathan Hession forced a superb finger tip save out of Thomas but then wasted an even better chance when he shot weakly at the keeper.

But just when it seemed Blackburn were getting on top, Blackpool took the lead in somewhat fortunate circumstances.

Jordan Wood received the ball wide on the left and his cross deceived Thomas Heap in the Blackburn goal who couldn't keep out the effort.

Heap went some way to making amends when he kept out another effort by Wood and, at the other end, Liam Holden went close then Blackpool keeper Thomas spilled a routine cross on his goalline and was relieved to see the ball cleared.

It was as close as Blackburn got and on this occasion, the league had to settle for runners-up trophies rather than the winners ones they have become accustomed to.

BLACKBURN, DARWEN, HYNDBURN AND DISTRICT JUNIOR AND YOUTH LEAGUE: Thomas Heap, Oliver Holden, Andrew Hindle, Jonathan Hession, Zac Slater, Karam Bhatti, Sam Eastwood, Marucs Carver, Ryan Smalley, Lee Hargreaves, Jonny Riley, Liam Holden, Matthew Harper, Toby Morgan, Nathan Brooks, Matthew Faye.

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