Writer: Eamonn Moore
Date:Sunday August 21 2011
How good is Kevin Phillips? Even at 38 the man oozes class, and it was that class that saved the Seasiders yesterday.
At 2-0 down with around half an hour left, the 'Pool looked done for; Brighton were better than them in every department. However, Phillips dragged Ian Holloway's men to what will probably prove to be a very good point at the Amex Stadium with two goals in last thirty minutes.
Brighton's new stadium is very stylish, and Gus Poyet's men play in a style befitting it and should do well this season.
They play at a good tempo, with fluid passing and commit men forward, and quickly. With the pace of Craig Mackail-Smith up top, they'll trouble a lot of teams.
By contrast, the Seasiders were very languid yesterday. We had a lot of possession, but with little penetration - it many ways it was like Wednesday night all over again. This was especially surprising given that Ollie had included more pace in the side, with Billy Clarke and Matt Phillips patrolling the flanks.
Brighton had the first clear cut chance of the match - centre half Lewis Dunk heading over the bar from close range as Brighton's wingers - Ashley Barnes and Craig Noone - troubled the Seasiders throughout.
On the half hour, Brighton took the lead - just as the Seasiders looked like they were beginning to establish themselves in the game.
Matt Phillips and Chris Basham (in at right back with Alex Baptiste moving to centre half) failed to deal with Noone once again, and his perfect cross picked out Mackail-Smith, who evaded Evatt and headed home past Gilks.
HT: Brighton 1-0 Blackpool
'Pool showed no signs of picking up in the second half, and just five minutes after the break, 'Pool found themselves 2-0 down.
A clever corner kick routine saw Noone play the ball in low to Gordon Greer who backheeled the ball into the path of Barnes to stab home. Matt Gilks was left to bemoan his defence once more.
With no improvement in sight, 'Pool made a triple change; Neal Eardley, Brett Ormerod and Craig Sutherland replacing Chris Basham, Billy Clarke and Matt Phillips.
The change had the desired effect when, ten minutes later, Neal Eardley picked out Kevin Phillips at the back post with a wonderful cross.
After that, there was only one team in it - the Seasiders. For the last half hour we dominated the game, and speaking to Brighton fans on the train back after the match, they were quite relieved to escape with a point.
That said, Brighton were still very dangerous on the counter; Matt Gilks forced into a point blank save from the ever lively Mackail-Smith.
However, the Seasiders kept chugging away and with the clock on ninety minutes, Kevin Phillips produced a moment of true magic to snatch a point.
Stephen Crainey's cross was only half cleared to the edge of the area, where Phillips was waiting. If you blinked, you missed it as the veteran striker showed that he most certainly still has it with a wonderful instinctive volley that sent the 'Pool fans behind the goal into delirium.
Five minutes of injury time were to be played, but 2-2 it finished, meaning that 'Pool remain unbeaten on the road in the league thus far this season.
We'll undoubtedly have to improve on our last two performances if we're to get the headlines this season, but with Kevin Phillips in our side there's always the very real chance of something special happening.
Date:Sunday August 21 2011
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