Pool's unbeaten run ended
24th November 2006
Attendance: 8247 (1384)
An unchanged 'Pool side made the trip to Merseyside on friday night, looking to continue their unbeaten run in League One and their subsequent promotion push...
Tranmere started the game off and within 55 seconds, they were 1-0 up following a defensive error. The Seasiders failed to deal with a simple cross from Chris Shuker from the right hand side with the ball making its way to Steven Davis who crossed for Chris Greenacre - one time Blackpool transfer target - to put the home side in the lead very early on.
Almost immediately, 'Pool went back on the attack and nearly forced an equaliser through midfield talisman Keith Southern following a neat through ball from Wes Hoolahan - forcing a save from the Tranmere shot stopper low down to his right hand side. On 16 minutes, Steve Davis curled a free kick just wide of Rhys Evans' post following a foul by Ian Evatt.
Wes Hoolahan was again very lively and presented Keigan Parker with a chance to level the scores on 18 minutes, only for the young Scot to fire straight at the Tranmere 'keeper. Blackpool's 'keeper was in the limelight again only seconds later when he was adjudged to have handled the ball outside the 18 yard box. A free kick was given to the home side, but the referee kept his cards in his pockets on this occasion - luckily for Blackpool who, once again, had no substitute goalkeeper on the bench!
Hoolahan was again involved on mid-way through the first period with a volley following a half-cleared teasing cross from on-loan left-back Carl Dickinson. Keigan Parker was also a live wire throughout and his cross on 27 minutes was met by the head of Adrian Forbes at the far post, only it flew wide and the score remained 1-0 to the home side. However, Tranmere were once again at it at the Blackpool end, with Gareth Taylor and Steve Davis going close on the half hour.
The referee was once again involved towards the end of the first period, first denying 'Pool of a blatant penalty, then booking Hoolahan - who will now miss Saturday's FA Cup 2nd Round tie vs. MK Dons. Keigan Parker broke into the area before he was upended by Ian Goodison, only for the referee to wave away claims for a penalty kick and give a goal kick to Tranmere. Goodison was adamant that Parker went down too easily, but once again the cards stayed in the referee's pocket. Unlike Hoolahan's booking when he was adjudged to have deliberately handballed, even though the referee didn't see the incident!
'Pool came out much brighter in the 2nd half and started well, forcing a corner in the opening exchanges - unfortunately however, the corner was cleared by Goodison. On 50 minutes, 'Pool could have been level but Andy Morrell shot straight at the Tranmere 'keeper following a neat lay-off from Keigan Parker.
Against the run of play, Blackpool found themselves further behind after yet more questionable defending. A cross from the right was once again not dealt with properly and the ball found its way to Steve Davis who fired home to give the home side a comfortable goal cushion.
The goal prompted activity on the 'Pool bench, which saw Keigan Parker and David Fox replaced by Ben Burgess and Scott Vernon respectively - with Vernon slotting into centre midfield on occasions, a decision that perplexed a few fans.
Ian Evatt was then carried off by both physios, being replaced by Andy Wilkinson with 15 minutes of the game remaining.
A goalmouth scramble at the death almost resulted in a third goal for Tranmere, after Adrian Forbes' clearance rebounded back towards his own goal, resulting in a scramble that Blackpool thankfully cleared.
As they say, all good things must come to an end...and The Seasiders' unbeaten run came to an abrupt end with questions once again looming over the head of Rhys Evans' abilities between the sticks. Many have commented that, while he is a good shot stopper, he is less able to command his area and let the defenders in front of him know what he is doing when coming/not coming for crosses. Lee Jones is currently injured and Lewis Edge hasn't been included in the last two weeks which shows that Larry is content with keeping Rhys in goal for the foreseeable future.
Some fans would agree that it is a good move, dropping Evans at this stage could dent his confidence and have a negative effect on further performances, however there are always some doubters. Some believe that Lee Jones should never have been dropped after his fantastic season last year - cemented by collecting numerous awards at the awards evening.
Whatever Larry's decision, it is more important that we do not lose our goal-scoring form. This is the first game since the 26th September that Blackpool have failed to score in the league, and also the last game they lost in League One also - the 2-0 defeat away at Carlisle.
Lets just hope that this loss will make the team stronger and more determined to go out and win the next game and begin another run of great form.