Alliance Affairs - Blackpool and Rochdale doomed

Last updated : 31 January 2003 By Peter Heywood

The overnight heavy rain coupled with another downpour an hour before kick off proved too much for the ailing Gawthorpe pitches, and the referee was called upon to administer the last rights on what was once hailed as the Jewel in our Crown. Unsuspecting fans, unaware of the tragic loss that awaited them, were still arriving at the sylvan setting which, ‘neath a cloudless sky, was by then bathed in bright sunshine.

Alas, the cruel sun itself seemed to mock them, as with a heavy heart and mournful step these same fans were left to wend their weary way homeward reflecting, with the Prince of Denmark: "That it should come to this!!"

However, several of our league opponents did manage to get in some action, and pride of place this week must go to Carlisle United. On Saturday they became the latest side to thump poor Blackpool, this time 4-2 at home. However, this performance pales into insignificance in comparison with their achievements in midweek, when after an early start and a long drive they travelled to the mighty Tranmere and beat them 2-1.

Unfortunately, we can’t provide further details as neither game has been reported by the Cumbrians on their website, although their previous game, a tedious 0-0 with Bury, warranted a lengthy write up (what a strange club this is!). Requests for further information on what was probably the result of the season so far, have also gone unanswered, and unsurprisingly, Tranmere failed too to mention their defeat. Anyway, well done to United on this fine win.

On the same day Wigan travelled to Rochdale and chalked up a 2-0 win care of two of their impressive youngsters, Ian Pendlebury and Magno Silva Vieira, a result which means that both Rochdale and Blackpool will finish in the bottom two.

Leaders Preston have enjoyed mixed fortunes over the last week. After dropping two points to the Clarets, they must have been cheered to hear of Tranmere’s surprise defeat on the Tuesday. However, they slipped up again last weekend, held 2-2 at Stockport. In fact, it was they who held the Hatters, and in the end were glad of a point supplied by the two Michaels, Kewley and Brown. Oliver Hilton and Michael Ogden were on target for County.

This result means that Preston maintain their advantage over Tranmere, but the championship still looks like being a close run thing. However, this is as nothing compared to the chase for third place, and Merit League qualification, where every other club (except doomed Blackpool and Rochdale) has a good chance of claiming that spot.

Three points at Oldham on Saturday would help the young Clarets’ cause no end!

Forthcoming fixtures:

Saturday, February 1st:

Blackpool v Rochdale
Bury v Wigan
Oldham v Burnley (11am)
Preston v Carlisle
Tranmere v Stockport

Monday, February 3rd:

Stockport v Tranmere

Tuesday, February 4th:

Burnley v Carlisle (2pm – fingers crossed)

Wednesday, February 5th:

Rochdale v Oldham

Thursday, February 6th:

Blackpool v Tranmere

Leading reported league scorers:

13 Paul Robinson (Tranmere)
12 Chris Dagnall (Tranmere)
9 Kelvin Langmead (Preston)
7 Michael Kewley (Preston)
6 Sean Patterson (Blackpool)
5 Lee Hamilton (Carlisle)
5 Jamie Baguley (Stockport)
5 Matthew Blinkhorn (Blackpool)
5 Fola Onibuje (Preston)
5 Michael Brown (Preston)

Youth Alliance League Table