Simon Grayson`s Blackpool side saw off a strong looking Huddersfield Town team in a stormy encounter at Bloomfield Road in front of 7400 watching supporters, with 1500 coming over from Yorkshire. Goals from Keigan Parker, Keith Southern and Andy Morrell capped off a great performance by The Mighty. The win also saw Pool beat Huddersfield for the second time in a week.
It was an absolutely freezing day by the sea, with Seasiders fans wrapped up warm – knowing that the wind swept Mortensen Kop and Matthews West were to be extremely cold. Sadly, no-one told the travelling fans that The Gene Kelly Stand was to be even worse, as the Town followers wore plain t-shirts, and in some cases, nothing at all to cover their bodies!! The things people do when they go away!
Anyway, down to the game, and kicking towards the North, Blackpool started very brightly and at a high tempo, which got the crowd going, with fantastic noise created once again by the home supporters. Despite the atmosphere and a high tempo, skipper Michael Jackson almost gifted Town the lead on 10 minutes when his misplaced header fell to Danny Schofield whose shot was blocked by the former Tranmere man, who did well to recover. This was followed by the games first booking – that of Carl Dickinson, whose rash challenge on veteran Andy Booth deserved a caution.
Shortly after his booking, the Stoke City left back whipped in a great ball for Adrian Forbes. The ball was precisely placed, with Forbes meeting it flush on his forehead, only to see his effort nearly hit me at the top of J block!! The efforts of both players were greatly appreciated by the home supporters.
The match didn`t stay goalless much longer, as The Seasiders took the lead on 26 minutes. The Town goalkeeper, Matt Glennon was helpless as Keigan Parker rounded him before slotting home with his left foot after a fantastic through ball by Forbes, which split the Huddersfield defence in two. The five and a half thousand Blackpool fans sent into raptures. Blackpool 1 – 0 Huddersfield Town.
A second booking for Blackpool was to follow as Andy Morrell`s needless challenge on Taylor-Fletcher earnt him a yellow.
Keith Southern doubled the home sides lead as Wes Hoolahan intercepted a Glennon clearance, before sending in a cross which bounced out to “Gnashers”, and for him to smash the ball left footed against the Terrier`s crossbar, only for the ball to bounce onto the keepers head and trickle behind the line. The PA announcer gave it Southern, so we shall also! Blackpool 2 – 0 Huddersfield Town.
Just after his goal, Southern tried his luck again with his left, this time from 30 yards. Despite connecting well, his shot was well over the top.
The action became end to end as Carl Dickinson saved Pool at one end – clearing at the back post with a brave sliding tackle as Schofield lurked. This was quickly followed by a Wes Hoolahan cross being guided over the bar by Andy Morrell`s head.
But as the home side were waiting for half time, Huddersfield struck back with a goal from the route one handbook, as Glennon`s long punt downfield from a free kick given for offside (which from where I was looked an incorrect decision) fell to Gary Taylor-Fletcher, and he duly obliged to strike The Terriers back in the game. Half Time: Blackpool 2 – 1 Huddersfield Town.
Straight after the re-start, Parker should have extended Pool`s lead, as he breached the wavering away offside trap, before rounding Matt Glennon, only to see his shot cleared off the line by John McCombe.
The usually instrumental Danny Schofield, who was surprisingly quiet all game fired a set play into the Kop.
Shortly after, The Seasiders made the game safe, when Andy Morrell flicked home the third. This was after an incisive break away, involving David Fox and the excellent Wes Hoolahan. It was only as much as The Pool deserved and the togetherness of the team after the goal spoke volumes, showing how far we`ve come as a team. Blackpool 3 – 1 Huddersfield Town.
David Fox picked up a booking for kicking the ball away, another stupid caution!
A tactical switch came on 75 minutes; as Big Ben Burgess was brought onto replace Adrian Forbes, with Andy Morrell switching to the right wing.
Pool made two other changes later on as Claus Jorgensen and Scott Vernon came on to replace David Fox along with Keigan Parker, who both played out of their skins.
The home side had to withstand heavy away pressure, as keeper Rhys Evans had to punch away twice, and pulling off a remarkable save right at the end. This was after Luke Beckett was brought on. The former Sheffield United front man had only one effort, which was floated wide. I wonder how is wife felt about him being away from home for a day?
The win saw Blackpool climb up to 10th and only seven points away from automatic promotion, but five adrift of the playoffs.
Full Time: Blackpool 3 – 1 Huddersfield Town
Rhys Evans – 7
Great save at the death, and despite a couple of dodgy kicks, he played well.
Shaun Barker – 7
Quiet game today. But do you really want your right back grabbing the headlines?
Carl Dickinson – 8
Solid. Looks excellent going forward as well as defending. Controlled himself well after being booked.
Michael Jackson – 7
Played well. Headed what needed to be. Solid. Always talking, a great skipper.
Ian Evatt – 8
I say this every week, but he’s a man mountain!! Great player, let’s get him signed.
Adrian Forbes – 6
Good throughball for the goal, but was poor again. Hopefully he’ll pick his form up, as I like him. Caught in no-mans land again when defending.
Keith Southern – 8
Hard tackler. Sensible passer, ie knowing his limits and organises well. A rare goal ot boot!
David Fox – 7
I hate the saying ‘quietly went about his business’ – but that’s exactly what he did!
Wes Hoolahan – 8
Nowhere near his best, but was still one of the stand out players. Naturally gifted.
Andy Morrell – 8
Worked well, as always. Good finish for the goal.
They seem to get worse and worse every single week!! What’s it like in The Conference or leagues or that ilk if we’re subjected to clowns like today?
If we keep playing with the same quality and gusto and we`ll go far this year. 18 games gone, and we`re within touching distance of the playoffs. What if we`d started well, or even started averagely? Where would we be now?
The team now has a steady blend of youth and experience, along with solid players as well complementing the flair players nicely. This is apparent in the midfield especially.
Up front, Morrell and Parker seem to be clicking – both keeping Burgess and Vernon out of the team. Parker looks to have changed his ways now, with work rate which is as noticeable as Morrell`s. They have distinguished their roles with one another. Keigan is pulling defenders wide when both full backs play balls down the line. This then enables players such as Hoolahan, Morrell and to a lesser extent – Southern, to tuck inside of his run and pick up the ball. With the central defender out of position, a move can be developed very quickly, leading to a high tempo game, which is wonderful to watch.
A high tempo game plan gives the crowd a massive boost, livening the atmosphere up, which in turn sparks the team into even more life. Sometimes it can be a give and take with the team and supporters.
Only one criticism from Saturday, and that`s the Huddersfield goal. It looked like when we`d scored the second that we`d take that and we shall wait for half time. Well when you sit back like that, what do you expect? We were always going to concede. Thankfully it didn`t cost us.
All in all though, another fantastic weekend for a Blackpool fan and the recent reassurance continues. Five points from the playoffs, with 28 games left?