'Pool Pick Up Preston Point
Pre-match there had been a lot of geeing up by Ian Holloway and various players as the Seasiders aimed to pick themselves up from three defeats on the spin, and the result today was a much better performance and a well earned point.
Backed a vocal 'Pool following that drowned out the Preston support vocally (and nearly numerically as well!), Ian Holloway's surprising, but effective, line-up battled hard for ninety minutes and will no doubt have improved their confidence as we head into the final third of the season.
Matt Gilks returned in goal, Ian Evatt returned at centre half alongside Rob Edwards with Alex Baptiste at right back. Keith Southern was captain for the day and partnered in the middle of the park by David Vaughan and DJ Campbell. Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Brett Ormerod operated the flanks with Ben Burgess leading the line up top.
Mike Dean was scheduled to be referee today, but for some reason was not present. Personally, I think he just didn't fancy a trip to Nob End - and who can blame him?!
It was the Seasiders who had the first chance of the afternoon. Breaking from deep, DJ Campbell helf off Youl Mawene but could only direct his low finish wide of Andy Lonergan's post.
'Pool found themselves on top during the opening stages, but despite some find build up play, especially from Ben Burgess, struggled to create any clear cut chances.
On the quarter hour mark, the linesman failed to flag Danny Welbeck offside, but just as the striker was about to pull the trigger, Rob Edwards got back to make a superb tackle.
Minutes later Alex Baptiste was on hand to clear a Ross Wallace freekick off the line.
On the half hour Ben Burgess headed over as the Seasiders looked to hit their hosts on the counter. However, although Preston were beginning to get a grip on the game to an extent, they too struggled to create any clear openings.
Just before the break, 'Pool were nearly gifted an opener when Youl Mawene, Sean St. Ledger and Andy Lonergan combined to fire just wide of their own goal. Nearly one for DVD blooper reels everywhere!
Lonergan then tipped a Gary Taylor-Fletcher header over in the last action of the first half.
The first chance of the second half also feel to the Seasiders - Ben Burgess' dipping volley landing on the roof of the net.
A couple of flares were then lit in the Blackpool end as the party atmosphere perhaps went a tad far.
Just before the hour David Vaughan was booked for a late challenge. The Nobber he fouled didn't half make a meal of it though. I thought he'd been shot.
On the hour, Ben Burgess' knockdown found Brett Ormerod ready to tap home from just a few yards out, but Brett conspired to airkick the ball and Preston cleared.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher then fired over after a DJ Campbell cutback as the Seasiders began to exert themselves.
Danny Welbeck nearly hit us on the break however, but Stephen Crainey got back to clear the striker's effort.
With fifteen minutes left, DJ Campbell nearly scored a peach of a header, but Youl Mawene, who was in the right place at the right time, cleared it off the line, onto the bar and away.
Both sides pressed for a vital win in the closing stages, but at the end of the day I don't think either side will be too disappointed with a point. I imagine that Ollie will be very happy with a clean sheet as well!