Wolves manager Mick McCarthy:
‘I feel like Dick Turpin after getting away with highway robbery. I cannot think of one thing we did better than Blackpool – apart from putting the ball in the net.
‘Passing, tackling and defending – they were better than us all over the park but we have come away having won the game. We have got away with murder and I bet the cops will be coming to see me on Monday morning.
‘We were absolutely rubbish. But the difference was Freddy Eastwood – his goals speak for themselves and it is goals which win games.’
Whilst it was obviously very disappointing to see the Pool lose for the first time in fourteen games (and indeed the first time I’ve seen them lose since New Year’s Day!), it is refreshing to see an opposition manager give his honest thoughts on a game. As Mick McCarthy said, there was no way that Wolves deserved their win today, but win they did. If the Pool are to stay up, they a) need to take their chances and b) hold onto any leads they get. We could have been going into next month with a 100% record. As it is, we’ve still got a very creditable four points on the board from our first three games (something that I think we would have all taken prior to the start of the season).
Larry resisted throwing the fit again Ian Evatt back into the side, instead deciding to stick with Gorkss who had enjoyed a good game against Bristol City last weekend, with Evatt moving onto the bench. Keigan Parker remained on the bench as Burgess and Morrell continued upfront in an unchanged starting XI.
In temperatures reminiscent of Leicester, it was the Seasiders who took the game to their hosts early doors, forcing a corner after just 90 seconds. Another corner followed shortly after, after Taylor-Fletcher’s shot was blocked by Michael Gray and two more followed shortly after that as the Seasiders looked to make their early pressure tell.
An underhit back pass nearly presented an opportunty for Andy Morrell on five minutes, but the impressive Wayne Hennessy raced off his line to clear the ball away from the onrushing Morrell.
Pool forced another corner on the ten minute mark as Wolves continued to struggle to get out of their own half, but once again David Fox’s set piece was found lacking; the ball failing to clear the first man.
On seventeen minutes, Gary Taylor-Fletcher was denied his first goal for the club when his shot from a David Fox corner was cleared off the line by Michael Gray.
Wes Hoolahan (who was enjoying another good game) then jinked past several Wolves players before firing over as the Pool continued to search for the goal that their pressure deserved.
Just before the break, the Pool failed to clear their lines and manager Simon Grayson will have been relieved to see Freddy Eastwood somehow fire wide when he should have scored.
Half time: Wolves 0-0 Blackpool.
Five minutes into the second half, the Pool took the lead. For once, they got the ball down (instead of lumping it forward to Burgess who wasn’t having the best of games by any stretch of the imagination) and passed it about, causing the Wolves defence problems. David Fox’s sublime pass was controlled by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, before the midfielder fired home on the volley. Cue mass celebrations.
Olofinjana then became the first booking of the match for a poor tackle on GTF (in all honesty, he should have also been booked in the first half for a couple of very bad tackles), before Mick McCarthy threw on Neill Collins and Karl Henry for Michael Gray and Darren Potter as the hosts looked to get back into the game.
Pool then made their first change; Taylor-Fletcher still feeling the effects of the challenge just minutes before was replaced by Jorgensen.
Minutes later, the Pool had a great chance to double their lead. After a great passing move, the ball came to David Fox on the edge of the area, but the midfielder blasted his shot over the bar. In hindsight, Foxy had the time to switch the ball onto his right foot.
With 25 minutes to go, Andy Morrell was replaced by Keigan Parker, whilst Wolves threw on Jay Bothroyd as they desperately looked for an equaliser.
And equalise they did. Michael Jackson allowed the ball to bounce when he should have just cleared it, allowing Andy Keogh to nip in and square the ball to Eastwood who promptly fired home.
Then, with 15 minutes to go, Wolves scored the winner. Kightly got the better of Crainey, whipping in a cross for Andy Keogh. Keogh’s header was brilliantly saved by Paul Rachubka, but the rebound found its way to Eastwood, who was left to tap the ball home.
With the crowd now behind them, Wolves looked to further their lead, but it was Blackpool who had the best of the chances at the death; Keigan Parker chipping the ball straight into the hands of Hennessy when through on goal.
On another day the Pool would have got something from this game; let’s hope that that’s not a recurring statement this season.
Southern 9 (Man of the Match)
Morrell 4 (through no fault of his own; him and Burgess up top simply doesn’t work)
Seaside Slip Up