It wasn’t a classic by any stretch, but a last gasp winner from substitute and debutant Paul Dickov ensured The Seasiders claimed all three points against an average Leicester City side in front of over 9000 fans.
Simon Grayson reverted back to 4-4-2 after the defeat last week, and didn’t start with any of his deadline day signings, but welcomed back Hoolahan and GTF (Morrell and Fox dropping to the bench), with Blackpool looking like this:
Barker © – Evatt – Gorkss – Crainey
GTF – Flynn – Jorgensen – Hoolahan
McPhee – Burgess
Ian Holloway’s Foxes’ certainly had a few names that sprung off the teamsheet – most notably in the midfield – and they lined up like this:
Stearman – Kisnorbo – McAuley – Mattock
Hume – Oakley – Clemence © – Laczko
Hayles – Howard
Kicking towards the well populated South Stand, Blackpool started brightly and within three minutes were ahead. Left Back Stephen Crainey’s cross field freekick picked out Gary Taylor-Fletcher fantastically and the winger took the ball on and hit home from within the 18 yard box into the corner to give the home side the lead.
The goal clicked City into gear for a spell of heavy pressure with a number of good attacking positions threatening Paul Rachubka’s goal. Laczko had an early chance and fluffed his shot, but apart from that and despite of the positions, the away team didn’t create much – in fact that was about as much as they made in front of goal.
However, ‘Pool weren’t able to keep the ball for long enough spells, and despite of their 1-0 lead, found themselves chasing around the opposition instead of playing the game at their own tempo. Balls in behind of the City fullbacks did border on aimless punts upfield at times, and McPhee – along with strike partner Burgess – found it difficult to hold the ball up.
Just a quick mention to the fourth official at the game today, namely Steven Townsend (who looked to have come from A block area?) who filled in when called upon due to an injury to a linesman, getting a well deserved cheer from the home support when doing his duties!
Just before the break, ‘Pool woke back up and created a few chances that should have seen the game safe before the half time whistle from referee Graham Laws.
Burgess missed a good opportunity when he beat the offside trap but to fire wide from an angle, before skipper Shaun Barker missed a glaring chance as his free header flew over the top. And with that the half time whistle blew, with The Seasiders leading 1-0, perhaps shading it overall despite the away possession.
Ian Holloway made a double switch at half time – showing his bold nature as a manager – with DJ Campbell replacing the poor Laczko (who was booked for a stupid foul in the first half) and Chambers coming on for the left back Mattock.
Despite Leicester seemingly going three up top with Hayles, Howard and Campbell on, it was Grayson’s men who had the opening chance of the half when Crainey whipped in a cracking ball for Burgess who missed a glaring chance as he looped his header over from six yards.
The big man maybe should have done better when a poor clearance when the goalkeeper presented him with an open goal 30 yards out, but again his shot wasn’t even close.
Then the away changes came to fruition, and they sort to hit ‘Pool on the counter with lightening pace through Campbell. However, it was through a defensive error they equalised; Ian Evatts’ poor ball allowed Howard to gather and side foot home from ten yards, through a defender on the line.
If you described the game up until this point, it was the typical story of our season so far – not able to kill a game off and lacking a goalscorer. Now we have a little Scot though who came off the bench and grabbed all the headlines after an all action 20 minutes on his debut. Paul Dickov entered the pitch to rapturous applause from the home support, who were obviously buoyed by the former Scotland internationals appearance, replacing Stephen McPhee.
Soon after Hoolahan and Burgess were taken off – both having slight off days – being replaced by Andy Morrell and Andy Welsh, the latter having a really good 15 minutes.
The game did look as if it were to conclude in a draw, until the 90th minute when a Paul Rachubka freekick found Shaun Barker – whose diagonal run into the box was phenomenal – and his flick-back found Dickov in the right place at the right time, the typical fox in the box Larry has wanted for so long, and he smashed the ball home across his body, into the opposite corner past Alnwick – nearly as special as Southern’s goal at The Walkers for the supporters?
Dickov looked with pleased at his goal, (let us not forget that he hadn’t found the net in two years and he did score against his old side; pretty special!) and whilst the fist punching was not quite on a par with Dickinson and Crainey in the past, it does show that he is in it for the season, and if his goals can keep us up then Thursday’s business could prove to be very tidy.