Woeful 'Pool Left Feeling Blue
Awful, awful, awful.
I can't remember the last time we played as badly as we did this afternoon. There was no shape. No movement. No passing. No closing down/winning of the second ball. And then there were basic, basic errors (see Adam's howler for Birmingham's second for the best (or should that be 'worst'?!) example). It was the complete polar opposite of last weekend and I was left rueing staking some dollar on the 'Pool to record a fourth away win of the season at 3/1.
Birmingham were pretty good, but we allowed them to be so. We just never got going and were duly punished.
Ian Holloway made one change to the side who gallantly lost to Man City last weekend; Marlon Harewood replacing Elliot Grandin.
I really fancied the Seasiders today against a Birmingham side who have recently lost their year-long unbeaten home record and have struggled for both goals and points this season, but from the start the Seasiders weren't at the races and looked like a pub team.
Yet despite this, it was the Seasiders who carved open the first chance of the game; Gary Taylor-Fletcher's header being saved by Ben Foster.
Seconds later the Seasiders should have arguably found themselves down to ten men when Neal Eardley tripped Keith Fahey just outside the area with the midfielder through on goal. However, ref Anthony Taylor (a 'Pool sympathiser it would seem) only brandished the yellow. The resulting Sebastian Larsson freekick was tipped over the bar by Matt Gilks.
Gilks then saved again from a combination of Larsson and Nikola Zigic as the Blackpool midfield was overrun yet again. Our midfield were nowhere today, and Charlie Adam had an absolute stinker. Despite this being glaringly obvious however, manager Ian Holloway held back from making any changes to either the system or personnel until far, far too late and must hold his hands up for such an error.
Another error in our play is playing a stupidly high offside trap, and it was this that Garry O'Connor exploited on ten minutes, only for a splendid Craig Cathcart tackle preventing him from scoring. Cathcart is perhaps the only 'Pool player who can hold his head high tonight after another composed and dogged performance. What a steal this young lad looks. You can tell he's come through the Man United youth ranks.
DJ Campbell then fired straight at Foster whilst O'Connor headed over, before Birmingham took the lead from a set piece. Yes, that's right, we conceded from a set piece yet again.
I don't know how to explain how the ball went in, but it did so after some woeful defending, especially from Stephen Crainey who was caught ball watching yet again at a set piece. School boy.
Ten minutes after the break (and with 'Pool still not having made any changes), Birmingham doubled their lead from anothre corner.
There looks like there was an offside in the move, but nevertheless there can be no excuses for what Charlie Adam did. I can't even begin to describe it... just watch the highlights. Zigic was the one who capitalised on the Scot's 'mare to double the lead.
Adam's last action of the game saw him force a save from Foster; he was then substituted for Keith Southern (Ollie will say Adam was injured, I say that he took him off because he was shit). Matt Phillips also came on, replacing a poor Marlon Harewood.
Brett Ormerod then came on for a below par Luke Varney, but even his guts, effort and desire came up short (the same could be said of Southern). Matt Phillips did provide some spark however and cannot be too far off earning a start.
Despite some late 'Pool pressure however, the Blues comfortably saw the game out.
Attention now turns to West Brom at home on Monday week; a team on fire at the moment. We're due a win against them and in general really need a win on Monday to alleviate some of the pressure that is building both in terms of winning at home and winning in general.
Today was the kind of game that we need to win to stay up and we fell woefully short. Fingers crossed we're back to our best against the Baggies else the nerves might just start tingling...