8th – Blackpool – 4 points.
12th – Burnley – 3 points.
20th – P.N.E. – 1 point.
After an absence of 29 years, Blackpool don’t seem to be too worried with this Championship lark do they! Above both their Lancashire rivals after the first two games and still unbeaten – with the winning run broken before the 13 game mark, still a magnificent achievement.
On a rather bleak day, Blackpool started off on the offensive attacking towards the car park behind the net on the South side of the ground (winky thing) and immediately put the visitors under pressure forcing a corner which came to nothing.
Ben Burgess, in for Keigan Parker who started the game on the bench, had ‘Pool’s first real chance of the game as he pounced on Andy Morrell’s knock-down from the right hand side but could only see his stretching effort roll safely into the ‘keeper’s clutches.
The vein of anger for ‘Pool fans Lee Trundle – ‘if he’s worth a million, so’s my gran!’ – was up to his old tricks again as he tumbled to the ground in the area just after the half hour mark, only for the referee to give a freekick in the Seasiders’ direction for ‘simulation’ – with no card being shown to Trundle to the dismay of the Tangerine faithful.
Andy Morrell had the first of his chances to score following a Taylor-Fletcher effort that was parried by Chris Weale in the Bristol goal.
Midfield ace Keith Southern began another run forward towards the end of the first half and almost got his just rewards. ‘Pool’s saviour on so many occasions in the past let rip and saw his shot roll agonisingly onto the far post and clear which left many fans cursing their team’s luck as the teams went in for the half time break all square at nil-nil.
The second half saw ‘Pool attacking towards the packed Kop who were in fine voice for the majority of the game and the deadlock was finally broken – much to the joy of the Tangerine contingent – in the 51st minute.
Once again Keith Southern picked up the ball 25 yards out and greeted by cries of ‘shoot’, the midfielder duly obliged. His powerful shot squeezed it’s way through the crowded penalty area and took a massive deflection off Andy Morrell who blasted the ball into the left hand side of the goal, despite Weale getting a hand to the shot.
Cries of ‘Blackpool are Back, hello, hello!’ rang around the stands of Bloomfield Road, followed swiftly by ‘E, I, E, I, E, I, O…Up the football league we go…’ as the fans expressed their delight at the team’s progress.
Keigan Parker was introduced to the game, replacing the tireless Andy Morrell who received a magnificent round of applause from the fans as he left the pitch. Parker would have an immediate impact.
A long ball over the top of the defence opened up acres of space for the fiery Scot who cut back inside onto his right foot and attempted another Oldham playoff/Wembley curled goal into the far corner – with pretty much his third touch of the ball – only for it to be thwarted acrobatically by Weale.
City clawed their way back into the game against the run of play following a great stop by Rachubka from a Trundle strike, only for the ball to land neatly for Scott Murray to power the ball into the back of the net from 8 yards.
Claus Jorgensen came off the bench and forced a fantastic save from Weale in the final 10 minutes from a Ben Burgess knock-down at the back post. Jorgensen leaped into the air and karate kicked the ball towards the top right hand corner of the net, only for Weale to stretch – somehow! – and claw the ball away from danger.
All-in-all the game can be looked at in 2 ways. Another game without loss with what could be a vital point gained. Or, it could be seen as 2 points dropped in a game we could – and possibly should given the number of chances – won. Given the recent history of the fixture, a draw was on the cards!
With Wolves next up for the Seasiders, the 13 game unbeaten run is bound to be under pressure as the team make another trip to the midlands and look to come away with something from the game.
8th – Blackpool – 4 points.