Blackpool in Draw Shock...
6th October 2007, 15:00
...ok so maybe it's not such a shock!
In front of a near house at Bloomfield Road, Ian Holloway`s Plymouth side battled hard and earned a point which perhaps on another day they wouldn't have achieved.
Before the game, the last remaining FA Cup hero Cyril Robinson lay a wreath down at the Kop end of the ground in memory of Bill Perry, who sadly died recently. The tribute led by PA Tony Parr was a fitting one for the Blackpool legend and the minutes silence was impeccably observed by all spectators, including the healthy away following, which was as many as 1500.
The Seasiders reverted back to 4-4-2 for the game, and lined up with new loan signing Matt Jackson partnering name sake Michael at the heart of the defence.
Barker - Jacko © - Jackson - Crainey
GTF - Southern - Fox - Hoolahan
Parker - Morrell
Before the game, the surprise inclusion of Stephen Crainey at left back gave everybody a huge boost prior to the match.
Despite early pressure from Argyle, Wes Hoolahan had the best opportunity of the opening few minutes as Parker's cross found his left boot 10 yards out but he blasted over - a total lack of composure.
Moments after that miss, another glaring chance passed us by. David Fox's cross found Barker in behind the away backline, but his casual side foot soared over.
These missed chances could have proven costly for 'Pool as Plymouth's foreign winger Peter Halmosi (whose 'simulation' antics were laughable at times) struck a huge left footed shot which was brilliantly parried away by Rabs. The rebound fell to Ebanks-Blake but Crainey was on hand to clear from the goal line.
After a promising start to the fixture, it started to peter away as a spectacle until David Fox was put through, breaking the offside track. As he raced clear, the goalkeeper advanced, which may have out Fox off when he reached the 18 yard line, as his attempted lob ended up a limp as his effort sauntered well wide.
At the break, it remained 0-0, and yet again 'Pool fail to score in the opening half of a game at home.
The first real moment of note in the second half was an Argyle change: old campaigner Barry Hayles on for the cumbersome Luke Chadwick - whom had a handshake with Keith Southern as he exited the game - a nice touch from the two former Everton men and showed their mutual appreciation.
Shortly after the first substition, Gary Taylor Fletcher showed everyone present why many fans have been calling for Andy Welsh to start ahead of him. The former Huddersfield man was put clean through, and from eight yards he tried to lob the goalkeeper, but instead of his deft touch going in, it just looked daft as it wandered into the 'keeper's grasp.
Then came the moment which made me think that it wasn't to be our day; Shaun Barker's cracking cross found its way to Taylor Fletcher at the back stick, who fired straight into the post from three yards.
Claus Jorgensen came on for Keith Southern and Scott Vernon replaced Andy Morrell. Both changes were baffling to me at the time, as Morrell was posing a huge threat - the most dangerous he'd been all game, and David Fox was having a very poor afternoon and I felt he could have made way for Jorgi.
Keigan Parker had a great opportunity nearing the end as he was one on one with the 'keeper (albeit at an angle) and McCormick didn't know an awful lot about the save, as it hit his foot and stuck, thankfully for the visitors. Parker was one of the shining lights with his tireless running and general willingness for the cause. I just wonder whether contract talks have moved on swiftly in the last few days, thus his improved display?
Barry Hayles had the final sniff of goal, as his hit was tipped wide by the impressive Paul Rachubka, whose improvement from recent weeks will have helped his confidence no end.
At the end of the day, it was two points dropped, again. Grayson was left frustrated again, especially with Wes Hoolahan whom overplayed the ball far too much; the manager believes we have to be more ruthless, and who's to argue with that assessment?