Date: 15th September 2007 at 10:01pm
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Nearly 17000 fans packed out Turf Moor this afternoon to watch the first Burnley v Blackpool derby this century, and weren’t disappointed as they were treated to – excusing the poor, ill thought-out pun – a real Lancashire hotpot.

Leading into the game, ‘Pool boss Simon Grayson missed out on signing a Premiership player on loan, so went with a familiar starting eleven: with new signing Andy Welsh on the bench.

Barker – Evatt – Jackson © – Crainey
GTF – Southern – Fox – Hoolahan
Parker – Morrell

Subs: Vernon, BBB, Welsh, Flynn, Gorkss.

Duff – Carlisle – Caldwell (c) – Jordon
Elliot – Alexander – McCann – Harley
Blake – Gray

Subs: Kiraly, Akinbiyi, Jones, Unsworth, Spicer.

With the home side kicking off towards The Cricket Ground end, where nearly four thousand Seasiders were penned (and I mean penned; one fan said how he now knew what being a sheep to the slaughter was like after enduring the concourse area!) and looked to boss the opening stages, which they did predominantly well.

Cotterill’s side looked to get the ball wide at every opportunity and Wade Elliott was getting joy down his side, and good inter-change with Gray helped both flanks build up ahead of steam.

Despite being dominated for the opening embers of the keenly contested derby, ‘Pool came into it a bit more as the half progressed, with Wes Hoolahan seeing a rasping drive deflected wide by former seasider Carlisle, whom was also winning a lot of ball in the air against our short strike force.

Early on, it was a pity that we didn’t bombard the Clarets’ box with crosses, as big Jensen in goal didn’t look at all comfortable as he dropped a routine ball in; failure to capitalise on the mistake was disappointing.

But the hosts were still pressing hard going forward – and despite our chances – were still well in control, and should have gone ahead when Andy Gray found himself presented with the goal at his mercy six yards out, but headed over. Moments later, Chris McCann missed his kick when in on goal: a huge let off as if connection had been made it could well have been 1-0.

As Larry’s men withstood the pressure, the support behind the goal from the travelling Tangerine army was relatively quiet compared to its normal roar as the sense of apprehension sifted through the stand.

They found their voices when David Fox (whom started the game well but faded towards the end of the first half) picked out the top corner, only for Steven Caldwell’s head to be in the way to deflect away for a corner.

Both sides exchanged possession in sloppy fashion, and this lead to an end to end last five minutes. First Burnley hit the crossbar through McCann – whose bursting from midfield were refreshing in a game lacking endeavour up until this point – which left Rabs flailing away to his left, having no chance but thankfully it bounced clear.

Seconds later, Keigan Parker wriggled free of his marker and saw his one-on-one effort saved by the big Jensen a minute before half time.

A frantic – albeit lacking in quality – 45 minutes were up with the score at 0-0. It was apparent that the team had to keep the ball on the deck to get joy out of the Burnley defence who were sound in the air; hopeful long punts weren’t working (as they rarely do) and the game was screaming out for Burgess.

You’d have thought after a decent end to the first half, The Seasiders would look to capitalise and pick up from where they left off, but they took three steps backwards and let The Clarets take the lead in soft circumstances.

Steve Jones – brought on as a sub for Jon Harley – drove purposefully at the ‘Pool defence on 51 minutes, and his shot at goal deflected in off the unfortunate Stephen Crainey and the lead went to the ones with an extra finger. The four thousand Blackpool now had a role to play, and play it they did. A chorus of ‘Simon Graysons tangerine army’ ensued, with Blackpool picking up their performance. However, it was short lived, as the game looked like it was Burnley`s as they closed the match out?

Then the game changed. Just after the hour mark new signing Andy Welsh was brought on for his debut, replacing the workman-like GTF on the right hand side. Welsh’s introduction brought Shaun Barker into the game more, as the former Liverpool winger drifted infield on his left foot, the fullback was able to bomb on beyond him and create opportunities down the right, something we lacked until that point.

Ben Burgess was finally introduced for the fairly ineffectual Parker, who didn’t look too aggrieved to be taken off. Attitude problem? I don`t think so! In fairness to Keigan, his ineffectuality was mainly down to poor service and long aimless punts downfield for long spells.

Burgess hadn’t been on a minute and the mighty were back on level terms. After an initial corner had been cleared, the ball was thrown back in to Morrell and as he flicked the ball past Carlisle, he tumbled, leaving Dean no choice but to give a pen: stone wall. Mr Cool Wes Hoolahan scored the pen as if it was an art, and the ‘Pool were all square.

Another big moment in the game came a minute after the goal – on 75 minutes – when Robbie Blake was replaced by Ade Akinbiyi. The former Leicester man scored what he thought (and BBC Radio Blackburn by the sound of it) was the winner when he out muscled the sloppy Michael Jackson to smash home for the home team, and to send The Clampets into ‘der der der der’ heaven, as they waved arms around not too dissimilar to little five year olds on a dance floor. Game over, surely? This is Blackpool, so evidently not!

Eight minutes is a long time in Football, and that was the time we had to salvage a point; salvage we did.

Michael Flynn was thrown on with three minutes remaining for Southern, and we continued to press. Stephen Crainey’s whipped ball in towards Ben Burgess was fumbled by Brian Jensen in Burnley’s goal and fell to Ian Evatt with an open goal. Yes…! No…? Evatt fell over the ball in a bad rendition of a ballerina. But, thankfully it fell (not sure how!) to someone with a more composed head six yards out and Andy Morrell was given the simple task of side-footing 4000 ‘Pool fans into ecstasy – 2-2!

Thrilling entertainment, no cautions, two excellent substiutions, no fighting, and a point at a place where we are notoriously bad, 6th in the league: BLACKPOOL ARE BACK, HELLO HELLO.


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