Nosebleed For Blackpool
Yes, I can see it, ewwwwwww nasty. Blood streaming down Blackpool Football Club's nose....Why? Becuase we're Sixth!!!
Before the Boxing Day sell out at Bloomfield Road, Simon Grayson was able to welcome back midfield dynamo, Keith Southern into the team. Also, before the match kicked off, the former Everton man signed a new contract which will keep him at Bloomers until the end of the 2007/08 season - a stay that will last an extra two and a half years. Marcus Bean gave way for 'Gnashers` after his good comeback performance on Saturday away at Bournemouth. The only other change was Claus Jorgensen giving way for crowd pleaser, Wes Hoolahan on the left hand side of midfield.
Shaun Barker Ian Evatt Michael Jackson Andy Wilkinson
Adrian Forbes Keith Southern David Fox Wes Hoolahan
Andy Morrell Keigan Parker
The Seasiders started the game kicking towards the pit of a stand that is The South (can we call it the Vital banner stand now?) and begun with a few waves of attacks involving Hoolahan and the pace of Scottish striker Keigan Parker.
The opening goal of a superb match came after just five minutes when Parker was sent down the right hand channel where his curling cross was headed into his own goal away past goalkeeper Kieran Westwood by the once 'Pool target Peter Murphy. Was the cross swirling into the net anyway? The PA announcer seemed to think so, as he credited the goal to Parker, sparking chants of the 'Keigan Parker Song` which were sung nice and loud from The Kop.
Subsequent to the goal, Carlisle managed to obtain a hold on the game, with holding midfield Chris Billy along with Chris Lumsdon pulling the strings and although their passing was mostly sideways movement, the away team came into the game. On 18 minutes, they won a corner, and from that captain Kevin Gray headed wide of Rhys Evans` bar.
The Seasiders managed a corner of their own soon after, where Ian Evatt`s header flashed wide, despite the best efforts of Keigan Parker to keep the ball in play. What is it about Blackpool corners? We never ever seem to create goal scoring opportunities from them. My personal opinion is that David Fox cannot take them, and perhaps we need to try someone else?
Just before the half hour mark, the dominant home side scored another through the very impressive Keigan Parker, as he linked up well with fellow striker Andy Morrell. The ball broke in Blackpool`s half, and Parker threaded a wonderful ball through to Morrell, for the former Wrexham hitman to run in and slot past Westwood, so everybody thought. However, Morrell - who is what I`d describe as a thinking footballer - ran the ball well into the Carlisle area, shaped to shoot, only before cutting the ball back to Parker who`d kept running, and he had the simple task of finding the unguarded net from ten yards. Parker then received a booking for over celebrating, which will rule him out of the FA Cup tie against Aldershot Town, which may in hindsight be a very sensible thing to do.
Never out of the game, Keigan Parker then found himself through on goal again, after a great ball from David Fox but unfortunately the Scot fired wide.
Carlisle nearly found themselves back in the game on 35 minutes when left back Arnalale`s shot almost crept in Evans` near post, but the big stopper got one massive hand to the ball, tipping it for a corner, and prevented the visitors scoring. The proved to be huge save in the context of the game.
Andy Morrell just before the break was foiled by Westwood who tipped wide after fantastic tricky work from Hoolahan.
Half Time at a jumping Bloomfield Road: Blackpool 2 - 0 Carlisle United
Young Andy Wilkinson (and not Carl Wilkinson as it stated in the match day programme!) had to be substituted early on in the second period as he failed to shake of a niggle that had occurred in the first half. The on loan Stoke man was replaced by the on loan Forest youngster, Vincent Fernandez.
Again, the home team won several corners, but nothing came of them. This for me is very frustrating as with players such as Evatt, Jackson and Barker in there, what`s the point in hitting the first man? Or crossing a ball at knee height?
A goal for the away side was coming though, as they started passing and moving well. You could sense this throughout the ground, as the mumble that can be heard normally became a deafening hush, with all chanting stopped whilst fans were biting nails (of course, the Carlisle fans in the hospitality boxes weren`t included in that summary. Idiots.).
Normally deadly striker, Karl Hawley had broken the Blackpool offside trap only for him to waste his chance and balloon the ball over the top.
Former Seasider, Chris Lumsdon then rifled a shot wide, before Adrian Forbes was taken off by Simon Grayson for Claus Jorgensen.
With 17 minutes left, Karl Hawley forgot all about his earlier miss when he slotted home after good approach play. This put Carlisle right back into the game, and had the jittery home support on the edge of their seats.
Andy Morrell, whilst blowing out of his rear end, came off for Ben Burgess soon after. The former Hull City man obviously brought on to try and hold up the ball and slow down the play. Too many times through the second half the ball wouldn`t stick up front.
Coming into the final ten minutes, Blackpool produced the move of the match as Wes Hoolahan, Keigan Parker and David Fox carved open United`s defence before the ball found its way to Jorgensen back stick, only for him to head just wide.
The fourth official signalled four added minutes at the end of this fantastic, nail biting and somewhat traumatic game. Hands up if that four minutes felt like forty!
The news about Southern signing a new deal is fantastic, and he showed what an asset he is to the club with a fantastic performance (although was giving him the man of the match a bit of tokenism?). His work clearly goes unnoticed as fans call for Marcus Bean to replace him, because he`s a better passer of the ball, they say. They must be clones of Colin Hendry, where the defensive midfielder also has to dictate the play, and wear the cape of superman whilst he`s at it! I was impressed with Southern`s awareness as well in the game, as United striker Karl Hawley (who`s very deadly) kept dropping off the forward line to receive the ball, but kept getting tracked by Keith. Superb defensive midfield play.
Again, needless to say, the atmosphere created was fantastic, and the attendance pleasing to see as a regular (although I`m not sure if I like getting out the ground so late with all those people!). Will these stay away fans come back? We shall see Saturday.