Blackpool's Vital View
Forum members, Abel and GlasgowTangerine give us their thoughts on 'Pool's 3-1 win at home to Oldham on Saturday.
I said about the first leg that I'd never been as nervous before... well, I was even more so ahead of yesterday's game! Thankfully though, all my worrying was for nothing as the Pool recorded their 9th win on the spin to secure their place at Wembley.
Pool started the game much like they had done at Boundary Park; tentatively. However, for all Oldham's pressure, they didn't really create any clear cut chances. In fact, it was the Pool that nearly found themselves 1-0 up early doors; Andy Morrell's shot being cleared off the line by Oldham captain Will Haining.
However, the Pool did find themselves ahead on 25 minutes; Keith Southern firing home from 25 yards with a quality strike (even if Blayney should have saved it!).
Both teams nearly scored from set pieces; Andy Liddell firing over the bar, whilst Robbie Williams' effort curled agonizingly wide. Parker then blazed wide as the Pool looked to kill the tie off.
Oldham thought that they had levelled the game when Andy Liddell smashed the ball home from close range, but his effort was ruled offside; just one of a number of questionable decisions on the day - another being Adrian Forbes' headed goal, which too was ruled to have been offside.
Moment later though, the Pool were 2-0 up; Hoolahan sent Morrell scampering clear, and he produced a great finish over the diving Alan Blayney. After this, the Pool had their best period of the game and it looked like they were going to go to put the tie beyond any doubt before obliging Platos by conceding a goal for his bet; Matt Wolfenden firing home from close range after a Latics corner.
Frank was ever happier deep into extra time when his winnings were increased after Parker's brilliant goal; something that will give the Scot a real confidence boost ahead of next Sunday.
True, the Pool didn't play at their best yesterday, but thy got the job done and that's all that we can ask; at this stage of the season, it's all about winning.
So Wembley awaits and a tenth successive win will see the Pool promoted to the Championship. Yeovil won't make for easy opponents (especially after hammering Forest), but you'd be a brave man not to back Larry's lads not to complete the job.
It's been a real bonus to get to this stage, but I will be absolutely gutted if we lose next Sunday, as I'm sure you will all be.
Still, this really is a special team and we have to BELIEVE. COME ON YOU POOL!
"Blackpool win 5-2 on aggregate". That`s what all the papers said yesterday. But anyone at Bloomfield Road on Saturday has to surely agree that it was never as comfortable as the outcome suggests. Coming out the ground you couldn`t help but think "Only Blackpool could have a 3 goal advantage with 8 minutes to play, and you`re still crapping your pants", but somehow goals numbers 95, 96 and 97 in game number 54 saw us end up 90 minutes from the promised land.
But, by God, we didn`t half make hard work of it. Right from the start Pool looked nervous, edgy and panicky whereas Oldham looked like exactly what they were - a team with nothing to lose by going for it. I don`t understand what Oldham fans see in Taylor, for me he spent far too much time falling over and rolling around, but for the second week running Pool allowed Wellens too much time on the ball in the first half. Although I thought our midfield were giving the ball away far too often and inviting pressure onto us and as such Keith Southern`s 28th minute strike came against the run of play. Much has been made of Blayney`s poor attempts at a save but, let`s face it, it was always going in as soon as it left Gnasher`s boot. If a goal was meant to settle the nerves it really didn`t, we were never safe, even with a 2 goal cushion.
I was expecting Larry`s half time talk to calm the nerves and Pool to come out, settle down and pass the ball around, and try and get another goal to get a bit more of a cushion. But it wasn`t to pan out like that; John Sheridan`s word`s obviously had an impact on an Oldham side still pushing for a goal. With Parker being ruled offside before putting the ball in the net (and getting booked for the privilege) before Oldham had a goal ruled out and then Forbes having another goal (which came on the end of a great move) chalked off for Pool the afternoon was tenser and tenser. But as time ticked on the Tangerine faithful dared to dream more and more and chants of "Que Sera Sera" got louder, and the collective sigh of relief could probably be heard in Fleetwood when Andy Morrell`s 75th minute strike hit the back of Blayney`s net. Yet as their fans headed down Bloomfield Road Oldham never gave up and Matty Wolfenden`s 83rd minute goal was no more than their pressure deserved. Scrappy it may have been, but the nerves were back, and I have to confess, I spent much of the last 10 minutes hiding behind my scarf. Yet more drama was to follow with the fourth "offside" goal of the afternoon - I can barely remember either keeper having much to do in the way of saves (although Rachubka was easily the busier of the two) yet by this point the ball had been in the back of nets an astonishing 7 times. As stoppage time approached you sensed Oldham had little left and Keigan Parker`s magnificent 93rd minute finish came out of nowhere but capped off a hard working, if unspectacular performance from then men in Tangerine.
Although what should have been an excellent game of football was spoilt by an overly fussy man in the middle (supported by two officials who have yet to learn the offside rule) and Pool were nervy there were still some great Blackpool performances. Ian Evatt was simply magnificent - every time Oldham attacked he seemed to be there to cut it out, I think every part of his body made some form of block. Michael Jackson once again showed why he`s been an important, yet undervalued, part of the Seasiders` defence this season and Forbes produced one of his best home performances. Parker capped off lots of hard work in both legs, despite being closely watched by the Oldham defence on Saturday, with a magnificent goal, which I for one am glad he got, if only to send him to Wembley with confidence.
There were 11 battlers out there on Saturday; come 5pm on Sunday will they be 11 heroes? Legends written in Tangerine folklore? I guess we`ll just have to head down to the expensive arch to find out. 54 games, 97 goals and its all come down to 90 minutes against a team not to be underestimated. Roll on Wembley.