Congratulations to Blackpool FC who were promoted to the premier league earlier today after beating Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium in the Championshiop Play-Off Final. To celebrate, we remember a classic encounter from Chester’s famous League Cup campaign from 1974-75.
The date was the 11th September 1974 and it was League Cup Second Round day at Sealand Road.
Chester sailed into the third round of the League Cup, after swamping Second Division Blackpool with a three goal opening broadside. For Chester turned on 45 minutes of brilliance to sink a Blackpool side who only last season narrowly missed promotion to the First Division.
It was certainly a sparkling first half, as Chester dimmed the Seasiders’ hopes. With Norman Whitehead again at his brilliant best and Ian Seddon glowing in midfield, Chester had Blackpool on the run. These three goals, with just a solitary reply from a battered Blackpool, virtually ended the game as a contest, and as Chester trooped off to a thoroughly deserved half time ovation, the result seemed in little doubt.
In the second half, Blackpool at last showed some resemblance of a performance expected from Division II members, but Chester weathered the storm.
With a two goal deficit, Blackpool knew only too well that all out attack would be their only possible salvation and early in the half Chester were pegged back in their own territory.
Although there were times when the home defence looked unsteady, Chester stemmed the flood of Blackpool attacks – and could easily have added two goals themselves!
As it was, Blackpool were very much humbled by that 3-1 scoreline anyway, and Sealand Road’s biggest crowd of the season – 5,854 – were given a night to remember.
It took just four minutes for Chester to set the game alight when Seddon and James linked up well to create the chance for Nigel Edwards. From inside the area, Edwards let fly a terrific left foot shot which soared into the top right corner of the net.
This was just the sort of start we had all dreamed about, but Blackpool were obviously rattled. Chester’s impertinence in scoring so early, set about repairing the damage.
For a brief period their hopes flickered. In the space of two minutes after Chester’s opening goal, Grenville Millington was called into action to madke saved from Alan Ainscow, Mike Walsh and John Evanson.
So perhaps it was not so surprising when Blackpool equalised. Bill Bentley split the Chester defence with a superb through ball and Walsh raced on coolly to beat the advancing Millington.
The inevitable second game came in the 27th minute – and what a superb score it was. Again Whitehead was the architect with a cross of pinpoint accuracy and Terry Owen went up to direct a splendid glancing header away from Burridge’s reach. Five minutes later, the Owen Whitehead combination joined forces to make it 3-1 and here the real villain of the piece was goalkeeper Burridge.
The commanding Trevor Storton touched a frkick to Owen, who crashed a shot of ferocious power straight at Burridge. Burridge was beaten by sheer pace and allowed the ball to bounce off his chest. Seeing his chance, Whitehead nipped in to coolly turn the ball home. Already it was Chester’s hour of glory as Blackpool was made to look like the Fourth Division side in the game.
They had no answer to Chester’s fluent raids, but again this was to be a game of quite contrasting halves. However, in the opening minutes of the second half Chester could have made it 5-1. After 47 minutes, Whitehead crashed crashed in a 25 yard power drive, and Burridge just got his fingertips to the ball to divert it against the bar.
Then in the 53rd minute James missed the sort of chance he must dream about. Edwards, with neat control, got behind the Blackpool defence and from his short cross James scooped a shot over the bar from close range.
Three minutes later, Edwards saved his side at the other end. Big Glyn James moved upfield for an Evanson corner and his header was cleared off the line by Edwards. Such was the excitement that flamboyant Leicester referee, Mr Roger Kirkpatrick, found it necessary to speak to Chester coach Brian Green on the touchline.
But this was just another example of Brian’s involvement in the game he loves, and despite Mr Kirkpatrik’s admonishment the City coach’s enthusiasm is one of the big factors behind Chester’s success.
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