Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Wednesday February 23 2011
From victory at the San Siro to defeat at Bloomfield Road, football's a funny old game isn't it?
Although Blackpool certainly lived a charmed life at the back at times tonight, there was definitely an improvement from the Seasiders and their clinical finishing (combined with sheer wastefulness in front of goal by Spurs) meant that they recorded a much welcomed three points that once again gives them a little bit of breathing room amongst the pack battling to beat the drop.
'Pool manager Ian Holloway spent his week off analysing where the Seasiders had gone wrong in recent times, and on the basis of tonight it was time well spent. Although there's still plenty to work on, tonight's win will have got the confidence flowing once again and we can only hope that we follow it up with a good result at the weekend against Wolves - another win would see us on the verge of safety with ten games to go. A defeat though would see us sucked back into things at the bottom; we might be 12th tonight, but the bottom half of the Premier League still remains tighter than Karl Oyston's wallet. Still, let's not talk about such matters on such a great night.
Perhaps as a result of his analysis, Ollie rang the changes again tonight. David Carney was dropped, Alex Baptiste switching to left back and Neal Eardley returning to the team at right back. Elliot Grandin missed out through injury, so Ludovic Sylvestre got a long overdue run-out, whilst Sergei Kornilenko was handed a surprise debut up top alongside James Beattie and DJ Campbell.
Spurs were without Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale, but still fielded a formidable line up, switching from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2; Jermain Defoe partnered by Roman Pavlyuchenko in attack.
The Seasiders started the better team without really creating anything, at least until they were awarded a penalty for Sebastien Bassong's crude challenge on DJ Campbell. Charlie Adam fired home expertly from the spot.
'Pool continued to enjoy the better of the game, and Sergei Kornilenko was just millimetres away from marking his debut with a goal midway through the first half, but he just didn't quite have the legs to connect with David Vaughan's low cross from the left.
As the first half ticked on, the visitors began to grow into the game.
The unimpressive Steven Pienaar had a shot well blocked by Craig Cathcart, but Charlie Adam's resulting clearance richocheted off the South African and only just flew over the bar with Richard Kingson beaten.
Jermain Defoe then breached the Seasiders' offside trap and lobbed the onrushing Kingson, only for Cathcart to clear off the line.
Defoe then had another effort cleared off the line just moments later, this time by Alex Baptiste.
The visitors were left to rue such wasteful finishing/last gasp defending when just before the break the Seasiders scored one of the goals of the season; a great counter-attacking team move.
DJ Campbell collected the ball inside the Blackpool half and ran at the Spurs defence before sending Kornilenko scampering down the right. The Belarussian then backheeled the ball to James Beattie who crossed the ball for Campbell to fire home. Majestic.
Spurs made a change at the break, replacing Wilson Palacios with Jermaine Jenas, and the conquerors of AC Milan dominated the second half.
However, they wasted chance after chance as by hook or crook the Seasiders held onto their lead.
Richard Kingson made a ridiculous point blank save at one point, whilst the ball seemed to roll across the Blackpool goalmouth countless times without anyone poking it in. It really was quite surreal and evoked memories of Blackpool's away win over Sunderland earlier in the season.
Ludovic Sylvestre had a good game tonight, but with him starting to look leggy in the second half, he was replaced by Keith Southern who ran himself into the ground to ensure that the Seasiders maintained their lead. Although players like Southern aren't the most skillful, their work rate alone makes them invaluable, especially at this stage of the season.
Another player the same could be said to apply to is Brett Ormerod. He was back among the subs tonight and came on in the second half alongside Matt Phillips for the impressive pairing of James Beattie and Sergei Kornilenko.
I've always been a massive fan of Brett (despite his spell with the Nobbers), and he seems to always score massive goals for us. Tonight was no different.
With Spurs continuing to dominate and pile forward, 'Pool hit them on the counter again and killed the game off.
Keith Southern won the ball in midfield, laid the ball off to DJ Campbell who fed a through ball through to Matt Phillips. Although the winger was unable to get a shot off, Brett Ormerod was and he made no mistake from close range.
I went beserk during the celebrations, not just because the goal wrapped up the three points, but because of what the goal meant: with it, Brett Ormerod became the first player to score in all four divisions for the Seasiders. A remarkable feat by a remarkable player. He truly can be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Matthews, Mortensen, Suddick, Armfield and Green.
If the night was tarnished in any way it was by Spurs' goal in injury time; Pavlyuchencko's volley hitting a 'Pool player and looping over Kingson. A clean sheet would have seen us 11th tonight, plus it would have been our first clean sheet at home this season. Oh, and by Charlie Adam's late booking which now means he serves a two game ban and misses the games v Wolves and Chelsea.
Still, we can't have everything... at least we have the consolation that we're better than AC Milan...
Date:Wednesday February 23 2011
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