A Defeat But Don't Panic!
A spirited, hard fought performance from Blackpool ended in a 2-1 home defeat (and the third loss on the trot) to Wigan, but I wouldn`t be betting against us just yet…
Goals from Antonio Valencia and Dave Cotterill sandwiched a Ben Burgess effort in a keenly contested game in front of three and a half thousand fans, with around 1000 coming from Wigan; the Gene Kelly stand was even open!
Barker - Evatt - Gorkss - Crainey
GTF - Flynn - Jorgensen - Hills
BBB - Parker
Athletic opened the scoring after 16 minutes when Ian Evatt was caught in possession when gallivanting through the middle by Valencia whose driving run through the heart of 'Pool`s defence brought holes and the Ecuador international slotted home past Paul Rachubka.
Stephen Crainey was looking to bring a sturdy influence to a fragile looking backline as he tackled hard, but miss communication between him and Rabs almost cost a goal, and another goal would have reflected the first half.
The Seasiders didn`t really have an attempt, and it was The Latics who continued to press with Jason Koumas going close and Aghahowa hitting the bar when it was easier to score.
Emile Heskey was berated regularly by the crowd and looked to be a big lazy lump, much like the crowd were describing him! The atmosphere was brilliant for a friendly, and was nice to see from just 3,500.
After the break 'Pool came out with added vigour and passed the ball beautifully at times. On 49 minutes a mix up at the back allowed Ben Burgess an easy tap in - with fears (from three yards and an open goal) that he`d miss put to bed as the ball bobbled home!
Gary Taylor-Fletcher was beginning to show his potential quality as he burst in from the right on several occasions but failed to deliver a final ball.
Some players did look a bit overawed by the opposition which was littered with internationals but some notable performances from Gorkss, Hills and Flynn were encouraging.
As 'Pool pressed for another goal, Wigan broke away and scored. David Cotterill - the ex Bristol City winger - cut inside from the right and a deflected shot looped over Paul Rachubka into the net, much to the surprising delight of the away following, who looked really 'up for it` with their inflatable!
Major chances from both sides were made, which disrupted a decent game, and no subs made any great impact. Marcus Bean had a shot which cleared the North Stand (is that a first?), David Fox couldn`t get involved and Michael Jackson looked steady.
Michael Flynn was announced man of the match - quite rightly so in my opinion as his steel and quality on the ball were a stand out all game.
Keigan Parker`s offside woes continue as he was flagged at least seven times throughout the match.
'Pool went to 4-3-3 but couldn`t find another goal, and never really threatened again and The Latics won 2-1, but it was a healthy night in Simon Grayson`s preperation for The Championship.