Seaside Battle On Sky...
The Withdean Stadium
8th October 2006
...is won by The Seasiders, and not The Seagulls.
Wow!! Was that really the same team I`ve been watching all season? Blackpool showed that they can actually perform under boss Simon Grayson with a 3-0 victory over seaside rival, Brighton in the Sky televised match on Sunday afternoon. Goals from Keith Southern and two from Super Scott Vernon were enough to take home the three points from The Withdean Stadium - and a nice way to christen the new 3rd strip, which looked nicer than I had expected.
The game started at a reasonable pace with both teams knowing the fact that a win would severely help their campaigns and the task in hand, scrabbling clear of the drop zone. The home side had a very good shout for a penalty early on when Michael Jackson seemed to handle in the box. On the TV at halftime, they were still debating whether it should have been given, and this was after numerous looks on the slow-mo. Given that, the referee probably made the correct decision in not awarding the spot kick.
Moments after, a beautifully crafted right wing cross by Shaun Barker presented Keith Southern the opportunity to bundle home for the opening goal. He duly obliged after a breath taking sprint from midfield into the box. The cross was magnificent, the centre half cum right back, Barker turned onto his left foot on the edge of the area, and with the outside of his boot, curled a cross straight into Gnashers path. This was after a few hair raising incidents involving the former Rotherham man. He more than made up for them!
Andy Morrell had two excellent chances to further Pools lead, but missed the target on each occasion when in all honesty, he should have at least made Michel Kuipers in the home goal earn his money. Both chances were wonderfully created, something the Blackpool public don`t see to often! All the team looked to pass and move frequently, and the first half performance was 20%more energetic and forthcoming than normal.
Just before the break, the fantastic Ben Burgess had to come off with an injury he failed to run off.
Half Time - Brighton And Hove Albion 0 - 1 Blackpool
The Seasiders were the ones pressing the game at the start of the second period with Wes Hoolahan getting into the game even more and causing persistent problems to the home defence.
On sixty-one minutes, a corner was swung in from the right hand side, and Shaun Barker rose highest to nod the ball into the path of Super Scott Vernon who displayed his predatory instincts to poke home the second ahead of the onrushing keeper.
Then Brighton`s French winger, Alexandre Frutos was dismissed on seventy-two minutes for a flailing elbow on Shaun Barker, and he can`t really have any complaints with the referees decision.
Late on, an awful clearance from former Pool transfer target, Kerry Mayo lead to substitute Claus Jorgensen (who came on for Simon Gillett on eighty minutes) heading Scott Vernon in, and he rounded the goalkeeper to cap off a very confident win for Pool. Keigan Parker (coming on for Morrell) even managed to slot wide even later on for Pool. The home crowd`s boos could be heard predominantly, whilst the gleeful away following from Blackpool danced and cheered at the far end.
Rhys Evans - 6
Shaun Barker - 8
Danny Coid - 7
Michael Jackson - 7
Ian Evatt - 8
Simon Gillett - 6
Keith Southern - 8
David Fox - 6
Ben Burgess - 8
Andy Morrell - 7
Scott Vernon - 8
Next week will in a way provide us a chance to see how quickly we are progressing. If we perform well, against a team near the top, it signifies that we may well be getting somewhere. The two wins have given Simon Grayson some breathing space also, albeit our wins have been against very weak opposition - but you can only beat what`s put out in front of you, so the last two games have been job done. Six goals scored, none conceded. We now have a positive goal difference - when was the last time we could say that?
Grayson now has back to back wins for only the second time in his managerial career and we`re only nine points away from the automatic spots. Why can`t we go and push on for promotion now? Ok, perhaps a tad premature, but I`ve got a positive vibe now, Sundays showing was superb, the best I`ve seen a Blackpool team play in months, possibly going back to Scunny on Sky last season!
The passing and moving on Sunday was alarmingly good considering what`s been served up recently, and I feel the side has instilled a bit of passion within itself, especially Southern in the midfield. A great attacking run for his goal. The cross from Barker wasn`t one of a normal centre half cum right back either! The side looked balanced, everyone knew their job, a stark contrast to previous weeks. Super Scott Vernon bagged another two, and it`s nice he can give Larry a selection headache for next Saturday, a headache he hasn`t had in a positive way for sometime. Long may this continue!