Date: 22nd September 2009 at 9:40pm
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Blackpool were mighty unlucky not to at least force extra time tonight as they went down 4-3 away at Stoke City after being 2-0 up at the Britannia Stadium.

Blackpool (4-5-1):
Baptiste – Eastham – Edwards – Martin
Thomas – Bangura – Vaughan – Adam – Clarke

The Seasiders took the lead as an incisive pass from the brilliant Charlie Adam found David Vaughan who notched past Steve Simonsen from just outside the box in the 40th minute.

And ‘Pool were deserved victors of the opening period as they kept the ball brilliantly with a five man midfield which seems to be serving the side well so far this campaign.

If there were any worries with the inclusion of Ashley Eastham at centre half alongside Rob Edwards there shouldn’t have been as the youngster – only just back from a loan spell at Hyde United – served manager Ian Holloway well up against Tuncay and James Beattie.

At the break it was 1-0 to the away side, but it wasn’t to stay that way for long.

Moments after kick off, Billy Clarke pounced on poor play by Andy Griffin and sent a shot goalwards which was saved smartly by the ‘keeper – tipping away from the corner. But Clarke wasn’t to be thwarted twice, as Vaughan’s deadball found him and he headed into the net to make it 2-0 to the Championship side.

The second goal seemed to wake the Premier League team up, and they began their onslaught on the away goal shortly afterwards. Beattie went close, but it wasn’t long before The Potters were back in the game.

Liam Lawrence missed a penalty 10 minutes after the second goal, but…

Firstly, with 16 minutes left, Danny Higginbotham headed home from a corner past Matt Gilks to set up a nervy end.

Just two minutes later midfielder Matty Etherington was found inside the box and he hit home into the roof of the net to level the scores.

The frantic scoring wasn’t over there, as Tony Pulis’ side took the lead for the first time in the game. This came just a minute and a half after the equaliser; Ricardo Fuller found the net after decent build up play. Fuller was proving a real threat after he came on for Beattie.

However, this ‘Pool team has terrific character and pegged City back just one minute later in the 81st as a right footed Joe Martin cross found Ben Burgess who nodded home to level the scores again from close range

You’d think the chances might stop there, but both teams had good opportunities to win the game. Jay Emmanuel-Thomas might have done better with a left footed chance whilst Michael Tonge went close for Stoke.

And there was one more twist in the tale in this topsy-turvy game. Charlie Adam – captain for the evening with the absence of Euell – tried to let the ball run through his legs and City pounced with Andy Griffin driving into the box and finishing past the unfortunate Gilks in the 96th minute to break tangerine hearts. 4-3, an unbelievable game.

But this battling performance from the Seasiders should give them confidence ahead of the two games next week against Peterborough and Bristol City where they need four points to keep in touch with the teams in and around them in the playoffs.


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