Chester City 1 - 2 Pool
Right, I'm going to try to be positive about this but at half time I wanted to go home! After five minutes we could have been three down and indeed, by the break we should have been. The only bright spots in an otherwise pitiful first 45 mins were the performances of Coid and Forbes.
We did have a couple of chances - Forbes fed by Fox, and Parker latching onto Vernon's header but the keeper was first to both. However, time and time again we were giving the ball away cheaply, conceding needless fouls which was where Chester's goal came from. A neatly taken free kick from Kevin Sandwith's excellent left foot curled round the wall and beat Lee Jones at his near post. Chester continued to dominate virtually all aspects of play and the referees whistle was a relief.
I don't know what was said at half time but we came out looking brighter and played with a bit more vigour. Scott Vernon pounced on a loose ball in the box and buried it from close in after 58 minutes. After the hour Bean came on for the disappointing Fox and Joseph replaced Coid and soon after we produced a quality goal. The ball was played through several one touch passes from right to left where Southern's incisive ball down the flank was instantly crossed by Tierney straight into the danger area and was met by Scott Vernon with a thumping header that gave the 'keeper no chance.
The game became a bit more end to end and first Jones was called upon to make a save low down to his right from another Sandwith free kick. Then, at the other end Parker won and took a free kick on the left which was met by Jackson at the far post only to see it loop over the bar.
hester 'keeper Danby was called into action late on to stop a Bean piledriver after neat work from Hoolahan, although to be fair it was straight at him.
So, a win is a win; it was a good workout against a big physical side and we came from behind after an abysmal first half. Jones was competent, Clarke was given an hour and after a ring rusty first 15 mins started to look his old self. Tierney had a decent game and provided two superb crosses; Hoolahan showed enough in the second half to warrant a chance; Forbes' work rate is tremendous; Vernon must have boosted his confidence with a brace and an all round decent outing.
However, the negatives were also there - shaky defending, a real lack of creativity in midfield and Keigan Parker showing the side of him that just frustrates us all. He has talent and pace to burn but in the mood he was in tonight he clearly wasn't chasing any lost causes and when a supporter had the temerity to shout 'Chase it Parker' he was told to 'go away' in no uncertain terms by the player himself. That is unacceptable behaviour as far as I'm concerned.
The need for a playmaker and a couple of strikers was clear for all to see tonight - I just hope Larry has got something up his sleeve.
Blackpool- Jones, Coid (Joseph 60), Clarke (Slater 75), Jackson, Tierney, Forbes, Southern, Fox (Bean 60), Hoolahan, Vernon, Parker.
Subs Not Used K Clancy, S Clancy, Burns, Paterson, Donnelly, Prendergast
Chester City- Danby, Marples (Vaughan 75), Artell, Westwood, Linwood, Sandwith, Hand, Bennett, Wilson (Holroyd 77) Broughton (Blundell 66), Walters (McSporran 81)
Click here to read the Chester City review of the match