Well, days like these are why my blood is tangerine! The support was out of this world and the team didn`t do a bad job either, despite playing against twelve men (if the ref can be described as a man after that performance)! A Shaun Barker header late on in the game gave the ten men of Blackpool the three points at Gresty Road in a thrilling game on a cold Saturday afternoon, which eventually ended 2-1 to the visitors.
The home team created the first chance of note – when defender Julian Baudet volleyed over when it was easier to score from a decent set play. This must have sparked the Pool into life, because on three minutes, Andy Morrell slashed home a left foot volley over his shoulder past Ben Williams from the edge of the Crewe penalty area after neat football by Wes Hoolahan.
Both sides then had long range efforts direct themselves way off target. Quick frontrunner, Nicky Maynard hit the top of the stand for the hosts, and former Manure midfielder David Fox endangering the corner flag with a poor 25 yard strike, which won`t have impressed his previous manager, Sir Alex Ferguson who was watching due to the Carling Cup game at Gresty Road on Wednesday.
A two footed lunge by Keith Southern was the scene of the first booking all afternoon. However, the hard tackling midfielder seemed to get the entire ball. If the referee was going to stop the game, surely a red should have been shown if it was viewed as a cynical foul? It wasn`t a foul from where I was. The first mistake in a long line by referee Boyeson.
The first half was full of endeavour by both teams, without creating too many goalmouth opportunities, although The Seasiders could have doubled their lead with a scramble in the hosts penalty area, but the ball was cleared.
Half Time – Crewe Alex 0 – 1 Blackpool
Pool came out all guns blazing second half, and forced several corners where both Shaun Barker and Ian Evatt nearly added another goal. Andy Morrell was foiled brilliantly by Ben Williams shortly after when his curling shot was tipped wide by the big stopper.
Simon Gillett was booked for time-wasting by the ref, which was seen as harsh to say the least. This was after both sides had good chances through Vernon and Baudet, who both shot over.
Schoolboy defending then gifted Alex an equaliser on 65 minutes where no-one could clear, and eventually it fell to Nicky Maynard in the six yard box and he poked home to level the scores and put Crewe in the ascendancy.
Pool then had a penalty appeal turned down when Simon Gillett went through and seemed to be clipped from behind. The referee said no, much to the amazement of the travelling Blackpool support.
The pool almost went ahead again, but for Ben Williams, as the Crewe keeper tipped a fantastic Scott Vernon effort round the post.
The first substitution of the game was made for The Seasiders, as manager Simon Grayson took off David Fox, replacing him with Claus Jorgensen.
Then, a moment of stupidity by Gillett, as the on loan midfielder from Southampton kicked the ball away for no reason whatsoever, and paid the price. The referee got the second yellow spot on. This was quickly followed by Andy Morrell being replaced by Keigan Parker.
In the final minute of normal time, Pool won a freekick near the corner flag, in which Parker whipped in a wicked ball for towering defender Shaun Barker to nod home and send the away support into ecstasy.
Andy Taylor tried in vain to bag a point for Crewe, with Blinks – who came on for Vernon – nearly snatching a third with his first touch.
Full Time – Crewe Alex 1 – 2 Blackpool
All in all, a good days work for Larry and co.
Rhys Evans – 7
Did what he had to, and did it well.
Shaun Barker – 8
Carl Dickinson – 8
Brilliant. Showed great passion, even for a loanee.
Michael Jackson – 8
Great motivating today, and did his duties well.
Simon Gillett – 6
Poor game. Was stupid for the sending off as well.
Keith Southern – 8
All action display. Back to normal now Keith?
David Fox – 6
Again, game passed him by. Claus in there for me.
Wes Hoolahan – 7
Played well, under his usual high standard, but still played well.
Scott Vernon – 7
Could have scored a few, and worked hard.
Andy Morrell – 8
Great goal, have a watch of the highlights of that one!! Worked hard as ever.
Saturday showed what a side can achieve if they work as a team. Everyone battled, especially Southern in midfield and Jackson at the back. At times we played some decent stuff, but getting in behind the Crewe backline was a problem all game, as neither winger could find a way round the fullback. Andy Taylor looked impressive with a Man Of The Match display (it seems t`rovers stitched us up letting him go to Crewe), but Dickinson looks a very hard working defender, and looks better than first choice Paul Tierney. Carl looks a real bobby dazzler! The whole defence now looks in sync with him.
There were a few worrying signs. Gillett`s sending off was petulant and lacked maturity. Hopefully he`ll grow from that, although he may have played his last game for us. Andy Morrell looks knackered after around an hour every game, which Ok means he`s running his heart out, but also indicates he isn`t fully fit. For me, that needs to be addressed, as Andy is a real asset, and full games from him will offer the side much more. Perhaps we`ll see more moments like his superb finish for the opening goal if he ends a game?
Like last week, Fox`s delivery from set pieces was poor. Was it coincidence that when he came off, a set play resulted in a goal? A great ball in from Parker and Barker won his header easily to nod past Williams brilliantly.
Pool showed great resilience to steal a win with only ten men. We didn`t fold and throw in the towel like in the past. The whole side kept going and got their rewards.
Here`s a good omen. The last time BFC won at Gresty Road, 1985, they won promotion?
The Train Back
Anyone who was on that train thankyou for an extremely funny journey!