The Vital View
Well Grayson said he would take 4 points from these 2 home games, we`ve got 3 so surely now we must go into Saturday hoping for another 3 and making it maximum points. At times during last nights game I just wanted the game to end, the rain didn`t seem to stop and at times it was hard to see. Cheltenham to their credit made far better use of it than we did in the first half as our defence looked shaky and we conceded what was a really sloppy goal which they fully deserved. I was wondering if these conditions carried on how we were going to get anything from the game.
Fortunately the weather calmed down in the 2nd half and we were able to get on the ball more. A superb pass from Evatt who had a superb game gave Dickinson space and he provided Morrell with a goal on a plate. We looked more confident from there on and was only one team going to win it, we created chances and thank God for Hoolahan taking his with 10 minutes left. Man of the match for me was David Fox as he won tackles and made some great passes. With this team I have no doubt we will take 3 points on Saturday and edge closer to the play offs.
I have come away from Bloomfield Road tonight with a mix of emotions - relief, happiness and the satisfaction of watching two teams provide an entertaining and competetive game of football despite appalling weather conditions in the first half which must have made it difficult to see let alone play.
For the first half an hour it was Cheltenham who seemed to adapt better to the wind and rain, playing some neat ball to feet stuff, and although their goal was a bit of a shock it wasn't exactly unexpected, although disappointingly from our point of view it came as a result of our back four collectively switching off. I was pleased at the way the crowd got behind the team and almost immediately we started to take the game to the opposition. Our equaliser was one of those irresistable goals stemming from an incisive ball from Evatt out to Dickinson who cleverly turned his marker and crossed with his 'wrong' foot. The ball was delivered with pace and accuracy and Andy Morrell showed just why he is a strong candidate for signing of the season with a slick move to lose his marker, smacking an unstoppable header in from six yards. Sean Barker then somehow managed to head the ball into the ground and over the bar from no more than six yards and the thought 'will that cost us' came to mind.
The second half was dominated by 'Pool for long spells but Cheltenham defended doggedly with their no.5 outstanding. Just when we were getting edgy and looking at our watches Wes Hoolahan decided to cut in from the left, beat two defenders and crash a right footer into the corner. Then, almost immediately their 'keeper pulled off a fantastic save to tip a Keigan Parker screamer over and suddenly we were looking comfortable. Cheltenham weren't done though and gave us a torrid final five minutes in which Rhys Evans emulated his opposite number with a brilliant point blank save which effectively earned us those two extra points.
The defence - including Evans - did well apart from the goal with Evatt easily m-o-m for me. I don't know what is wrong with Forbes but he is clearly not on his game. Fox played well and Wes was his usual enigmatic self. I wish I could be full of praise for Gnashers but for all his hard work and spectacular tackles, his distribution is slow and inaccurate. Parker worked his tripe off for the team again and Morrell was magnificent.
The spirit and work ethic is first class - Saturday should be a cracker! Come on 'Pool fans, get off your backsides and support the lads. They deserve it.
Well, the weather certainly was reminiscent of this time of year and as the saying goes, it never rains...but it p****s it down in Blackpool!!
In the lead up to the Christmas period, it seemed that many had stayed at home to sample the delights of the wife's best bottle of Port while indulging in the "delights" of Chelsea on ITV instead of braving the cold at Bloomfield Road. To be fair to those stay-away's (if it was indeed them and not just the exiles not being able to make it for the evening kick-off) I would have chosen the same option if I had known how awful the weather was going to be - putting up the Vital banner was a tricky task, with nowhere to tie the bugger onto!
Anyway...to the game, I think it's safe to say that a moment of indecision cost us the first goal, a through ball that Evans was going to come out for at the attacker's feet, but changed his mind, resulting in the attacker sliding in and putting it in the bottom corner for the opener. He had a few hairy moments with back passes from Jackson in the 2nd half in particular, but otherwise it was - finally - a fairly solid performance from the 'Keeper, outlined by that fantastic save right at the death that effectively gained us 2 valuable points.
It was an inspired tactical decision by Larry to take of Adrian Forbes who looked uninterested in the time he was on the pitch, and replace him with the big target man, Big Ben Burgess. It signalled a 'Pool revival, however Keigan Parker playing on the right wing is something that must be kept an eye on in future.
Going forward, there is no doubting that he is a pacey player and has the ability to get round the full-back and win a corner or get a ball into the box. However, when it comes to defensive duties, he is very uninterested and lazy in my opinion. On a few occasions he left the overlapping fullback and was ball watching, and on one occasion the left winger ran right past him before he thought about jogging (slowly it must be said) into his own area despite him being the only 'Pool player who could have made a challenge.
Wes Hoolahan's goal was sheer skill all around. In fact just before he unleashed his shot I pointed out to my friend that he always cuts inside instead of going outside the defender, thus making his way diagonally towards the right flank and his weaker foot...only for him to cut inside, onto his right and unleash a fantastic shot into the bottom right hand corner with the 'Keeper well beaten!
Players that stood out for me from the game were Ben Burgess, an inspired sub as I mentioned and was a well-needed tall, physical presence up front - reminiscent of Murphs maybe? David Fox put himself about quite a bit, made a few very important challenges but was maybe overshadowed by Sponsor's MOTM, Hoolahan. Ian Evatt was THE stand out player of the night for me. Three fantastic forward runs, one of which resulted in the equalising goal with a delightfully weighted through ball to Dicko that any centre midfielder would have been proud of! He also put himself about at the back and really showed what an asset he is to the side - "SIGN HIM UP!" The 'Pool faithful started to chant. The best player in a Tangerine (not Latvian "Pink" this time...as one supporter in particular likes to refer to it as!) by far in my humble opinion and if we signed him, along with Hoolahan and Gillett in the January window, we'll definitely be a force to be reckoned with come the end of the season!
9th in the table, 3 points off the playoff places and England vs Wales on Saturday...it's a fantastic time to be a Blackpool fan at the moment.
Up The Mighty!!