Late Strike Denies 'Pool Deserved Three Points
Football's a funny old game. Just a few seasons ago Brentford were doing the double over us as they finished bottom of League One and we went up through the playoffs. Fast forward to Saturday and the tangerine hoards left Bloomfield Road disappointed that the Seasiders had failed to pick up three points against last season's Europa League runners up.
We've come so far it's untrue, and yesterday, in the first ever Premier League game to take place at Bloomfield Road, the Seasiders proved themselves to be more than a match for their opponents.
Indeed, had it not been for Dickson Etuhu's late strike, then the Seasiders would have recorded a fully deserved victory after playing some superb football.
As it is, four points from a possible nine is a good start to the season, and we can only hope that Ian Holloway is able to add to his squad before the close of the transfer window on Tuesday.
One new signing did make his debut however; Luke Varney, who joined on loan from Derby yesterday. And it was a man of the match performance for the debutant that was the catalyst for a stylish performance by the Seasiders that will certainly have the rest of the division sitting up and taking notice. You can't but feel as well that England manager Fabio Capello will have left Bloomfield Road very impressed with what he saw.
It was debutant Varney who had the first chance of the afternoon; his wonderful strike being tipped over the bar by Fulham stopper David Stockdale, who it is believe Fabio was watching.
'Pool had the ball in the net on the quarter hour mark, but Brett Ormerod's superb header was correctly ruled out for offside.
Varney's impressive debut continued when he fired agonisingly wide on 20 minutes as the Seasiders dominated proceedings, roared on by a great home crowd.
Ten minutes before the break though, Fulham took the lead against the run of play; Moussa Dembele crossing the ball for Bobby Zamora to head home. However, the goal should have been ruled out for a foul on Ian Evatt in the build up, although the officials were correct to judge Dembele as being onside despite protestations from the Blackpool fans.
The second half began just like the first, with 'Pool pressing forward.
Ian Evatt nearly levelled, but Stockdale saved his low effort.
'Pool then had another goal disallowed correctly on the hour after Luke Varney and Stockdale had collided in mid-air.
However, 10 minutes later the 'Pool were level when John Pantsil screwed Luke Varney's shot horribly into his own net.
And just minutes later 'Pool were ahead. An absolutely majestic move saw Varney sweep the ball home with aplomb.
However, with 'Pool looking to add the third, Fulham hit them on the break with a wonderful counter attack that saw Etuhu lift the ball home over Matt Gilks.
Both teams had other chances, but in the end it finished 2-2.
Ian Holloway must take great credit for a substitution that changed the course of the match today (taking Ian Evatt off and bringing on Neal Eardley), and whilst he was furious we conceded late on, you can bet your bottom dollar that he's delighted with four points from August.
Let's hope that he can add to our squad over the coming hours and that we continue to play like this regularly.
If we do, we WILL surprise people.