The Vital View
The game on Saturday was typical of two newly-promoted sides who were evenly matched. Having said that, 'Pool could have - and possibly should have - broken the deadlock before half time on more than one occasion. Keith Southern's shot onto the post from the right hand side typical of the Seasiders not getting the luck they deserved. Andy Morrell's first goal of the season however, was just the slice of luck that Blackpool needed and at the right time too, during a spell of prolonged pressure in the 2nd period.
With Keigan Parker starting on the bench after Tuesday night's poor performance in the Carling Cup and Ben Burgess up top in his place, the team lacked any real pace and threat up front. While "BBB" won the majority of his headers, most of them however landed a good 5-10 yards away from a Tangerine shirt and Bristol went on the offensive. This further adds to my personal opinion that when Burgess plays, we play the ball in the air more than we perhaps should do and it creates a negative way of playing - which on Saturday resulted in Bristol harrying and harrying our back-line when at one point, we had all 11 players on the wrong side of the half way line!
While I'm not Parker's biggest fan (and that's being kind!), his introduction lifted the team and the fans who were chanting his name even before he started warming up. He then went and attempted another audacious "Wembley goal" with his third touch of the ball which again lifted the entire Kop out of their seats in expectation because lets face it, when he's firing on all cylinders, he can rip defences apart in a second.
As my mate commented at the time, Bristol City's goal came completely against the run of play, with Lee Trundle turning Kaspars Gorkss - who incidentally looked extremely confident all game and seemed very capable of filling "Evo's" boots - inside out and forcing a save out of Paul Rachubka at the front post, only for the save to balloon up into the air and fall kindly at the feet of Scott Murray who blasted home on the volley through Shaun Barker and Michael Jackson on the goal-line. Once again, showing that lady luck was not shining on Bloomfield Road - and neither was the sun!
I thought that David Fox did well in the first half - most notably that sliding tackle in the area that denied City of a chance at goal - but seemed to go missing for most of the 2nd, while Crainey did well at left back once again and linked up with Wes on a few occasions. "Gnashers" was his usual self putting himself about all over the place, "Jorgi" when he came on showed me once again that he is not a winger and is much better suited to the middle of the park - even if opportunities will be limited there this season.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Taylor-Fletcher is not a winger either and may benefit from a chance in the front-line somewhere down the line when injuries/suspensions come along, or an FA Cup tie against a smaller club, lets say...Leeds? I'm afraid if he doesn't impress in the next month or two, he could become the object of ridicule much like Adrian Forbes was last season.
Personally, I think it is time for Vernon to push his way back into the starting line-up. A natural finisher that has good skill with the ball at his feet or on his chest and has some great positional awareness. For me he is the third choice striker at the club but unfortunately, it seems "Larry" is more set on giving Burgess a chance at breaking into the team this season which, looking back to last campaign, you could say cost us vital points that would have seen us automatically promoted.
1 point gained or 2 points lost? Make your own decision. One thing is for certain, the real test will come this Saturday against Wolves. A side full of young players which have some real pace and skill, especially in their frontline. This could pose a serious threat to our defence, particularly the skipper Jackson who was caught out by Lee Trundle on Saturday on a couple of occasions.
I personally believe that we should be hoping for a draw at the most. If we win, then we can look at it as 2 points gained but if we do suffer our first defeat in 13 games, then - as Corporal Jones used to say - DON'T PANIC! We're likely to suffer some defeats this season, some of which may very well be heavier than others but as long as we pick up points here and there, and play like we know we can, we should have no worries in escaping relegation.
Hell, if we'd have won on Saturday, we would have been top of The Championship...you never know what this season holds...