Blackpool FC Ladies take a 4-2 win after a nail-biting derby day against Preston North End Women’s FC

Having faced each other once already this season, the Seasiders and the Lilywhites had just six points separating them, with both teams residing in the top three of the league table, writes Alice Earnshaw.

Sunday 20 March saw the Tangerines travel to Preston’s home ground at the UCLan Sports Arena.

Both teams were prepared for the long-anticipated rematch since Blackpool previously won 3-0.

With a Seasiders kick off, Preston immediately applied a high press which resulted in a goal line clearance from the visitors, followed by a second chance denied by a sliding challenge in the six-yard box by centre back Caitlin Packer.

Blackpool remained in control of the ball in the midfield area with two crosses going straight to the Preston goalkeeper’s arms.

It didn’t take much longer for Preston’s left-winger Beth Wilson to latch on to a well-timed ball into the box in the 22nd minute and poke it past Blackpool’s keeper Maisie Rogers.

An instant response from the visitors levelled the score in two minutes as left winger Molly Kelly received a free kick on the edge of the box and launched the ball into the top right corner.

In the 35th minute, a cross fell to right winger Chloe Warwick who slotted the ball into the net from the six-yard box to give the Tangerines the lead.

With half time in sight, both teams continued to battle.

Preston went just wide of the net on two occasions but not worrying the Blackpool goalkeeper.

The Tangerines went into the break 2-1 up.

Just five minutes into the second half, Kelly went down after a bad challenge from a North End centre back resulting in free kick for the Tangerines.

Kelly’s free kick struck the cross bar which was then blazed over by midfielder Minnie Rogers.

Blackpool Ladies pause to take a team picture before a match. Credit: Blackpool FC Ladies.

The 54th minute saw Preston’s striker Lucy Swift break through the Seasiders’ defence and placed the ball calmly in the back of the net.

Following Swift’s first successful attempt she tested the Blackpool goalkeeper again – drilling the ball into the bottom right corner but she was denied.

In response the visitors began to maintain possession in the midfield area creating trouble for Preston’s defence.

A throw in from right back Millie Dawson found space for Midfielder Keisha Masterson to fire a 35-yard strike which bounced awkwardly in front of the North End keeper resulting in Blackpool’s third goal, 69 minutes in.

After Blackpool’s third goal, the Lilywhites hit back with several shots all being dealt with by Rodgers.

The Seasiders pushed forward being just shy of the bottom right corner after strike Emily Cardwell let off a shot.

The 80th minute found Blackpool’s fourth and final goal of the game as midfielder Milly Hadfield scored from the corner flag into the top right corner of the Lilywhites net to cement Blackpool’s win over their rivals.

Preston coach Andrew Lyons was disappointed with his team’s result against the Seasiders.

“Set pieces did us, they scored three goals from set pieces and it’s hard to come back from that,” he said.

Preston North End’s badge. Credit: Getty Images.

“They got the goals when it counted and the last ten minutes, I think we didn’t really push enough to deserve to get anything out of the game.

“There are four games left and we want to get as many points as we can from now to the end of the season and hopefully that sets us up for next year.”

After an impressive victory, Blackpool manager James Ridge was delighted with his side’s performance.

“It’s great to win especially over Preston, but we’re staying focused on the games ahead and trying to secure a promotion this season,” he told UCLan Live.

“The ladies showed their abilities today and we came out on top.

“It’s all us coaches are looking for from our players at the end of the day.”