Date:Sunday May 4 2008
After a long, hard season, Blackpool fully deserved to retain their Championship status for another year as a draw against playoff contenders Watford meant that regardless of other results, The Seasiders would be safe from the drop, which eventually opened its trap door on Leicester City - who now ply their trade in League One for the first time in The Foxes` history.
Barker © - Evatt - Gorkss - Crainey
Hoolahan - Southern - Jorgensen - Martin
McPhee - Burgess
Doyley - Shittu - Bromby - Sadler
Smith - Eustace © - Williamson - McAnuff
Ellington - Henderson
A great start to the game by the Pool saw Stephen McPhee win an early corner, which saw Wes Hoolahan find Ben Burgess, who smashed home from close range to send Bloomfield Road wild - the perfect start after just two minutes!
And Simon Grayson`s men continued to press throughout the first half as they attacked the Kop end, with league debutant Joe Martin having a brilliant game down the left.
The up-an-at-'em style that Pool produced meant Watford didn`t have time to dwell on the ball, and much of the first half was spent heading balls back and forth. But the visitors did create two guilt edge chances before the half time whistle as Tommy Smith was first denied by Rabs as he palmed a shot away, and then the goalkeeper got back up onto his feet quickly to brilliantly save a Darius Henderson effort which he had no right to in truth.
Just before the break it was Henderson again who was alone and his header across goal was cleared off the line by skipper Shaun Barker and at the break it was 1-0; the pool are staying up!
15 minutes after the restart, Darius Henderson was sent off for a second booking after an elbow on Kaspars Gorkss, with the big Latvian needing treatment. Henderson had the sending off coming all game long as his persistent fouling made it very difficult for the referee to not give the bleach blonde his marching orders!
But the sending off seemed to galvanise The Hornets into action. Straight after the sending off on 62 minutes, Tommy Smith drove into the heart of the tangerine defence as they backed off and drilled a low shot right into the corner.
The Seasiders sat back far too deep, as is the norm this season, and tried to soak up pressure but it looked likely that Watford would score again, but after orders from the bench, the defence seemed to take a step out ten yards, which enabled us to fight for the ball more competitively higher up the pitch. We maybe could have won it on another day as McPhee hit the post as his drive beat Lee at his near post, but it wasn`t meant to be, and a point was fine.
The last five minutes were a bit farcical as both teams knew that a draw would suit them down to the ground, and shut up shop, with the referee even blowing up early because of the ball being lost in the crowd!
So, a decent game to end the campaign and job done for this season - safety is secured! What for next season though? There were rumours that an announcement was to be made surrounding the building of the South Stand after the match, but that sadly never materialised. However, I think everyone is more confident that the club is looking to push on next season.
WE ARE STAYING UP!
Date:Sunday May 4 2008
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