Injury Time Heartbreak For 'Pool
After three weeks in Canada I made my return to live football today, and it was very much a case of old habits dying hard; a cracking atmosphere at Bloomfield Road, the big screen not working properly, a totally inept refereeing performance, going a goal behind, and the Seasiders playing some good football. However, a habit picked up against Fulham reared its ugly head again, as once more the Seasiders conceded a goal in the final few minutes, but this time it was a goal that left them empty handed points wise.
We should have won today, make no bones about it. As physical, direct and organised as Blackburn were, they offered little going forward, but they ground out a result; something that we need to learn to do in this division, and fast. As good as our start to the season has been, we've now dropped five points at home (we should have won against Fulham as well). If we're stay up, we have to be ruthless.
After the Chelsea pummelling, Ian Holloway elected to make several changes. In came Craig Cathcart, Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Brett Ormerod and Marlon Harewood. Out went Dekel Keinan, Alex Baptiste, Elliot Grandin and Luke Varney.
And the changes looked to have paid dividends as the Seasiders made a flying start to the game. After just two minutes, Ian Evatt's header hit the bar and the line before being cleared, whilst the Seasiders also whipped in several dangerous balls into the Blackburn box; Neal Eardley nearly scoring direct from a cross, whilst several last gasp challenges from the Rovers defence denied the Seasiders.
However, just like against Fulham, the Seasiders went behind against the run of play. And what a bizarre goal it was. Under no pressure, Charlie Adam headed the ball past a flat footed Matt Gilks.
It was a goal that seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Seasiders, and Blackburn nearly doubled their lead when Christopher Samba's header came back off the post with Matt Gilks beaten. The Seasiders eventually scrambled the ball away, but our defending is definitely something that we need to work on, especially from set pieces.
'Pool were looking frustrated as attack after attack broke down, and when they didn't break down and chances were actually created, the frustration only grew as the chances were missed; Marlon Harewood perhaps being the biggest culprit, tamely firing the ball at Paul Robinson when through on goal.
That frustration developed into sloppiness in the early stages of the second half, and only some fine saves from Matt Gilks kept the Seasiders in it.
However, a double change from Ollie appeared to breathe life into the 'Pool as they begun to chase the game with gusto.
Charlie Adam went mightily close to equalising with a header from a yard or two out that he probably should have buried, but it darted wide. Next up was Taylor Fletcher, whose brilliant curling effort was met by an even more brilliant save from Paul Robinson. Robinson thwarted the Seasiders again just minutes later with another brilliant save.
With 10 minutes to go, Ollie made his last throw of the dice, bringing on Matt Phillips for his debut, and what a change it proved to be with the youngster scoring with his first touches in tangerine.
After collecting the ball on the right hand side, he cut inside holding the Blackburn defence off with some unbelievable tekkers before firing low and hard into the bottom corner. In the ten minutes he was on the pitch, I saw enough to see that he's a player with real potential as he glided and ghosted past players.
However, his debut was ruined deep into injury time when Brett Emerton fired home from the edge of the area after the Seasiders failed to clear the ball completely.
Still, at least we can put things right next week away at Liverpool. Easy three points that.