Swansea City v Blackpool 1993 may have been a lower league match with nothing particularly momentous about it, but the game deserves its billing as a Vetch Field Memory. The Swans were scintillating and Blackpool rocked, the resulting clash producing eight goals shared equally in a memorable encounter…
Early October and optimism was everywhere at Swansea City: the season before had ended in narrow failure after West Brom finally triumphed in a play off semi final; Doug Sharpe had splashed out on two new strikers in the shape of Steve Torpey and the returning Colin Pascoe; and manager Frank Burrows had his side playing some tidy football.
The optimism was reflected in a crowd of 3,775 – which seems hard to believe in these days of 20,000 average attendances but was considered a bloody good turnout back then.
And that optimism seemed well founded as the Swans swept into a 3-2 lead within a quarter of this glorious encounter.
Colin Pascoe started the ball rolling with a simple tap in after just 11 minutes, taking advantage of Lee Martin’s error as the keeper tried smother at the feet of Darren Perrett.
The Tangerines hit back almost immediately. The lively Bryan Griffiths swept the ball home after home defender John Ford failed to intercept a diagonal pass from Andy Gouck.
Perrett Plays in Corny
But just three more ticked by before the Swans were back in front, and Perrett was involved once more involved. The young winger, who had burst onto the scene a few weeks earlier in a Coca-Cola Cup tie against Premier League oldham, beat his full back once again and teed up John Cornforth to smash in from 15 yards.
There was no chance to draw breath though as 2-1 quickly became 3-1 with just 22 minutes played. And what a goal it was! Martin Hayes shocked everyone in the ground with a piece of outstanding quality as he executed a rehearsed throw0in routine perfectly, cutting in from the left and unleashing a 25 yard curler into the top corner.
The Vetch faithful were lapping it up as their side threatened to sweep Blackpool off the rocks.
Home celebrations were short lived though as an ex-Swan in the shape of Andy Watson came back to haunt his old side.
Showing the sort of skill he never displayed during his time at the Vetch, Watson ran half the length of the pitch, wrong-footed Ford and then rifled his shot into the roof of the net.
Phew! The pace slackened off a little after that blistering first 25 minutes but the sides continued to trade blows until the break.
The home side in particular pressed forward in an attempt to pick off their plucky opponents.
The Swans were lucky to escape with their lead intact at the interval though as Gouck thundered a long range effort onto the crossbar. Freestone could do nothing but the ball cannoned to safety and the Swans kept their slender but well earned lead going into the break.
The Swans came out for the second half determined to kill off Blackpool resistance and if the finishing had been sharper then the contest would have been well and truly over.
As it was the home crowd, who had been spoilt rotten in the first half, had to wait until the 72nd minute to see another goal as the Swans extended their lead. This time it was a defender applying for Goal of the Season, Keith Walker’s sweet volley flying into the net through a crowd of players.
At 4-2 the game should have been safe. Alas the Swans lost out in a pulsating last 10 minutes that saw them concede twice and miss a host of chances to put the game beyond doubt.
Andy Mac and Cook the Culprits
Andys McFarlane and Cook were the culprits, both missing two clear cut chances each and then watching in horror as Blackpool’s substitute Neil Mitchell bagged a a brace to tie the scores.
It was yet another 20 yard spectacular for the first and then Mitchell stole an unlikely point with a close range effort in the final minute of a breathtaking encounter.
The Vetch Field faithful had every right to feel aggrieved at dropping two points. Equally though, everyone present had been treated to a feast of football littered with unbelievable goals and top quality play.
Perhaps Swans manager Frank Burrows summed it up best after the game. The no-nonsense Scot quipped: “Any more games like this and they’ll need an undertaker standing next to me at matches, just in case!”
It might have been tough on the ticker for Frankie but for us fans games like that are what the best memories are made of…