DJ Puts Playoffs Within 'Pool's Reach
What a few days it has been for DJ Campbell. On Thursday he was arrested and taken down to London to be interviewed in connection with a stabbing incident. Yesterday he scored the winner as the Seasiders took a massive step towards the playoffs.
Swansea's defeat away at Sheffield United coupled with our victory at Peterborough means that the Seasiders now lie sixth in the table, a point clear of the Swans.
With one game to go, this means that should the Seasiders beat Bristol City at Bloomfield Road next week, then it will be they who advance to the playoffs regardless. Of course, different permutations become involved should we fail to win (and let's face it, Bristol City is always a tough game!), but we'll cover those later this week in out pinsticker's guide to the final day.
Back to yesterday though, and the Seasiders made hard work of a Peterborough side clearly lacking in both skill and confidence. In their defence though, they have been ravaged by injury and Gary Johnson and his men were good enough to applaud us at full time and speak highly of us to the media.
Ian Holloway named the same side that had beaten Forest last weekend, despite DJ's arrest and concerns over Charlie Adam's fitness.
And it was the on-bail DJ who had the first chance of the afternoon, but after cutting in from the right, his finish flew wide.
Minutes later Brett Ormerod fired wide from a similar position on the left hand side on the area.
With eleven minutes gone though, the Seasiders took the lead. A cross into the box was headed back across goal by Gary Taylor-Fletcher towards DJ. DJ went for the acrobatic overhead kick, only to be denied by Posh keeper McKeown (who definitely deserved their man of the match award). However, DJ was alert enough to jump up and pounce on the rebound and head the Seasiders into the lead. Cue delirious scenes from the fantastic 'Pool backing both on the terrace and in the seats. Cue flares/smoke bombs as well...
On the quarter of an hour mark, everyone thought that the Seasiders had doubled their lead when Ian Evatt appeared to have headed home David Vaughan's corner. However, McKeown made a 'worldy' to keep the ball out and the Posh eventually scrambled clear.
Matt Gilks was called into action a couple of times as Peterborough started to string a few passes together, and you always had a horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that one mistake would let them back in (especially when you saw some of our backpasses!) - thoughts echoed by 5 Live's reporter after the game.
Ten minutes before the break, the Seasiders should have killed the game off. Taylor-Fletcher ran through on goal, but instead of hitting a shot with his right foot, he went round McKeown, which not only narrowed the angle, but left him on his left foot. To his credit, he did pull the ball back for DJ, but the striker was denied by a great save from McKeown.
Keith Southern then had the first chance of the second half, firing just over the bar. At the other end though, there was the constant reminder that we were only 1-0 up as David Vaughan was forced to clear off the line. We needed a second, if only for my nerves!
And a second we pushed for, but didn't get. DJ had a great goal ruled out for offside, before both Bannan (who had replaced Taylor-Fletcher) and DJ missed great chances. The latter was just like Gazza failing to connect with the ball in Euro 96 v Germany. Fortunately, we weren't made to pay the price.
The news that Sheffield United were winning had everyone in the 'Pool end bouncing, but there were still nervy moments on the pitch as we battled to hold onto our own lead.
We were still creating chances though: Dobbie was denied by McKeown before DJ had a penalty appeal turned down. If it wasn't a penalty, he should have been booked for diving.
DJ was then replaced by Jason Euell as the Seasiders looked to run down the clock. And run down the clock they did, to record a massive win.
After the game, the 'Pool players threw their shirts into the ground, whilst the celebrations in the 'Pool end went on and on and on, even after we were asked to leave!
Let's hope that the celebrations weren't premature and that we finish the job next Sunday.
God I'm nervous!