Date: 8th November 2008 at 9:41pm
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Was today ‘one of those games’ or in fact a sign of worrying times at home? It is an alarming statistic that The Seasiders have won just two games out of the eight played at Bloomfield Road, and the performance against a well drilled Ipswich Town side did little to suggest that our poor run at home was coming to an end.

The 1-0 defeat was thoroughly deserved as Jim Magilton’s team bossed the game from the very first kick and will go back to East Anglia very chuffed with a easy victory.

Going into the game, Simon Grayson made just one change to the team which beat Watford late on last weekend, with the presumably injured Danny Coid replaced by Mo Camara – his last game for the club before he returns to parent club Derby.

Blackpool (4-4-2):
Barker – Edwards © – Evatt – Camara
GTF – Jorgensen – Southern – Vaughan
Burgess – Gow

The visitors felt no need to change their starting eleven after a decent 2-0 win against QPR, so Jon Stead – despite coming off the bench last week to score both goals – had to be content with a place on the bench.

Ipswich (4-4-2):
Volz – Naylor – McAuley – D.Wright
Norris – Garvan – Sumulikoski – Quinn
Walters – Lisbie

Ironically, it was looking good for Blackpool in the opening moments as they pressed forward in numbers. After just a few minutes skipper Rob Edwards beat his man to a teasing Claus Jorgensen freekick, but unfortunately the ball looped wide. From then on, and I don’t want to sound too negative, Ipswich totally bossed the game.

I actually thought Ipswich were very intelligent in the way they played today. The midfield and strikers were flexible – changing positions constantly in reaction to how the game was going – and passed the ball about with great freedom. Fortunately for them this was largely down to poor tactics on the Pool midfields’ part, who were obviously briefed to let Town have the ball in areas where they couldn’t hurt the seaside backline. This was fine around the halfway line, but the trend was all to apparent in the danger zones of the pitch, with Sumulikoski being allowed to fill ‘in the hole’ behind the front two without challenge.

And it was Sumulikoski, with his obvious guile and craft, who engineered the first real opportunity of the game. His positional awareness fed David Norris but he fired wide from a decent position.

Blackpool fans, despite what some of the more ‘upbeat’ supporters retort, aren’t a fickle bunch. But it was clear that the natives were not enamoured with the showing of the team today – they knew what was coming after just 20 minutes when grumbles and that gentle murmur rang around the ground when the crowd are bored!

The game wasn’t littered with goalscoring opportunities, but the Tractor Boys did have several half-chances throughout the opening period, mainly from in and around with edge of Paul Rachubka’s area, but they failed to make the American work a great deal.

However, they did retain the ball comfortably even if they were failing to carve Pool to pieces. This was something we struggled to do all afternoon, and were reduced to HOOFing balls up in the general direction of Burgess. I use the word general loosely. Shaun Barker was guilty of HOOFing possession up the most – his distribution was woeful all game – but the whole back four were just as bad in fairness! Barker had improved greatly over the past few weeks as he fully regained fitness, which led me to highlight him as a key man in Friday’s match preview. He was key alright in his constant disposal of possession!

On 42 minutes, after a couple of minutes of gentle pressure on the Town goal – which culminated in David Vaughan actually sticking to his wing and crossing a teasing ball in which threatened – Blackpool shot themselves in the foot. Ipswich won a corner which saw Richard Naylor head towards goal, but for an intervention on the goal line by Jorgensen, only for the ball then to fall to David Norris who reacted first and smashed the visitors into the lead.

It’s a point to note that for the goal a Town player was first to react, because this is exactly what happened before and after the goal – for the entirety of the afternoon. I can’t think of more than half a dozen ‘second’ balls where a man in tangerine picked up possession before his blue shirted opponent. Ipswich were first to every ball and battled much harder all game – which is definitely something you don’t normally associate with Blackpool. To some unjustified polite claps from the home supporters, the half ended 1-0.

There was a rare sight when the teams reemerged for the second half: a Blackpool substitution. Adam Hammill came on for the below par David Vaughan in a straight swap. Vaughan has been average for a number of games, something which hopefully changes, but I feel the management need to tell him that when he is playing left wing to stick to his wing. He was caught drifting inside on far too many occasions, which broke up our rare fluent moves and cluttered up the middle of midfield. As said before, when he did get on his wing, Vaughan managed to whip in a decent cross which looked to be threatening.

The early introduction of on loan Hammill should have lifted The Seasiders, but in truth the game carried on its merry path. There was a brief spell early on (which has parallels to the opening period) where Edwards connected to a Claus Jorgensen freekick. This time Edwards found the net but referee Webster chalked it off for offside. Hammill when he got the ball was having joy down the left hand side up against Moritz Volz, but he didn’t see nearly enough of the ball.

The disallowed goal was another reason for the home team to build up a head of steam, but sadly it never came. Town were content to sit on their lead and break on the counter attack, which certainly didn’t suit Blackpool who had to force the game.

Again I have to highlight the middle of midfield as a serious weak link in the team. Southern and Jorgensen have been living on borrowed time for a month or so now, and were shown up by the quality of Owen Garvan and co as they dictated play. It seemed to me that our defence were all to ready to HOOF, through their ill trust in the midfield, and the ability of players mentioned above to keep the ball. And when the ‘long balls’ aren’t connecting, the flaws of said midfield are brighter than the illuminations at 8 o’clock at night mid October.

Steve Kabba replaced Claus Jorgensen, which saw Gow, who looked the most threatening all game, had to fill in on the right wing. This change made matters worse with a lighter midfield and Ipswich were able to pick holes at will, which saw Jon Walters almost seal the game only for Rabs to make a decent stop.

This clearly wasn’t working, so the manager tried one more tactical switch: Camara off and Fox on; 3-4-3 with Gow up front and Fox in the middle of the park. If I’m being honest, the forward line of Kabba, BBB and Gow looked toothless in the remaining ten minutes.

Jon Stead replaced the lively Kevin Lisbie and within seconds was put through on goal only for his beautiful lob to clip the bar as it went over. The Pool then went and hit the bar with just seconds left as David Fox found Gary Taylor-Fletcher with a cracking ball but the winger’s header only found the crossbar with Richard Wright completely beaten after he misjudged the flight of the ball.

But hopeful punts upfield won’t win you a game, or indeed as was the case today, get you a draw and it was Ipswich who won the match with apparent ease. The celebrations at the final whistle from the healthy travelling support summed up when a tricky place Bloomfield Road is to get a result. But these opinions have been devised from last seasons home record – this seasons’ is looking bleak.


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