Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Tuesday April 6 2010
I don't know about you, but I've had a good Easter. Two wins, bang in the playoff race, and the cherry on the top: Preston's defeat today coupled with our win means that we'll now finish higher than the Nobbers this season.
Bottom half of the table irrelevance aside (oh, we can't get relegated now either... happy days!), the 'Pool's two wins over the Bank Holiday (just in case you've been away with the fairies or something) has catapulted them right into the thick of the race for the playoffs.
The only downside today was QPR losing 4-0 at Leicester and Swansea beating Scunthorpe 3-0 at home, meaning that the Seasiders remain seventh, a point off the pace.
Still, it is up to us and us alone to keep picking up the points over the coming weeks, putting Swansea and Leicester under pressure.
And even if we don't make the playoffs come May, there's no doubt it's been a fantastic season and the Seasiders have really made people sit up and take notice - just look at the comments of Nigel Adkins and Sean O'Driscoll this weekend for proof.
Anyway, back to today's game. Ian Holloway made four changes from the side that beat Scunthorpe 4-2 - as predicted, David Vaughan, Hameur Bouazza and DJ Campbell returned to the side in place of Billy Clarke, Stephen Dobbie and Ben Burgess, but perhaps surprisingly, Stephen Crainey made a return to the side. Craines has been laid low with a knee injury, but had stepped up his return in training and Ollie deemed him fit enough to start. This however meant that there was no place on the bench for Barry Bannan - something that the young Villa loanee was very disappointed about.
Doncaster meanwhile were only able to name six subs due to an injury crisis, a victim of which was star striker Billy Sharp who may miss the rest of the season. They did however have former 'Pool loanee Jay Emmanuel-Thomas available, and he played on the right wing up against Crainey, and it's fair to say that he gave the returning left back the run around during the game, but without Sharp up top, didn't have as big an impact as he perhaps might.
Still, Doncaster are a decent side and gave the Seasiders problems today. Ultimately though, the Seasiders ground out their fourth win in a row, ending Doncaster's faint hopes of making the playoffs themselves at the same time.
The first penalty box action of the game saw Paul Heffernan booked for diving in the Blackpool area. The BBC reporter said that it was a good shout for a penalty... utter rubbish. Baptiste got the ball, although I did feel that a booking was harsh.
After that early incident though, both sides struggled to find the required cutting edge up top (mainly because the linesman in front of the West flagged literally everything as offside whenever the 'Pool went forward!).
On twenty seven minutes though the Seasiders were ahead. Stephen Crainey's goal was nearly deflected into the Doncaster goal by one of their own players. Instead, the ball hit the post, but DJ Campbell was alert enough to prod the rebound home past a stationary Neil Sullivan.
Doncaster nearly equalised just before the break though, but between them, Matt Gilks and Seamus Coleman managed to clear the ball away. Coleman was later deservedly named man of the match by the sponsors.
Doncaster came close again in the opening exchanges of the second half, but Stephen Crainey was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
At the other end, Sullivan saved from Southern, before Gilks denied Doncaster's Roberts. The game was certainly becoming more open and entertaining, with the Seasiders being backed by an impressively vocal home crowd.
Hameur Bouazza then raced onto a DJ Campbell through ball but was denied by Sullivan, who tipped his effort over the bar.
Bouazza, who had picked up a slight injury, was then replaced by Stephen Dobbie. Just minutes later Dobbie raced through and curled home. 2-0, game over.
DJ Campbell could have added a third, but had the ball stolen off him just as he was about to pull the trigger.
Donny substitute Jordan Mutch was then denied in injury time by Gilks as the Seasiders secured yet another three points.
Date:Tuesday April 6 2010
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