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1 - 1
Crystal Palace

Bloomfield Road

20th October, 15:00

Attendance: 9,037


Why can't we win a bleedin game of Football at the moment? Yet again, Simon Grayson's Blackpool side drew a game which was there for the taking, which consequently sees The Seasiders draw their sixth game in seven.

After a week off, we went into the game looking like this:

Barker - Jackson - Gorkss - Crainey
GTF - Southern - Fox - Hoolahan
Parker - Vernon

Scott Vernon started his first league game all season, and the side had no striker on the bench. Why, after effectively two weeks off are we still without another striker? Vernon couldn't buy a game against the likes of Chesterfield last year, so what makes the management think that he's up to playing against Crystal Palace? It really beggars belief, and if we don't start acting like a Championship outfit, we will struggle.

Palace started the game as if they were playing a team of shadows. Dougie Freedman hit the bar, followed by no les than four corners inside the opening five minutes. Cort could have scored soon after, but it was James Scowcroft who really ought to have powered the visitors into the lead. A delightful ball from Martin from the left wing was headed over by the big target man.

The attacking football played by the 'Pool was - to be kind - frantic and no one got their foot on the ball and dictated play. Wes Hoolahan was trying his best from the wing, but he kept getting caught in possession.

After opening the game in complete control, Neil Warnock's men might have found themselves one nil down on another day when Shaun Barker headed over; that would have been a total sucker punch as The Seasiders were reduced to playing counter attacking football at home, thus was the dominance of Palace.

The two sides traded blows, with the home side had a string of corners, but at half time it remained 0-0, although shaping up to being a cracking game.

After the break, the pattern of the game was resumed straight away as exciting winger David Martin had a rasping drive fly over inside the opening minute.

However, much was the story of most of the game, Blackpool came straight back as a left footed Keith Southern shot just missed.

Right back Shaun Barker (whom I felt was below average again) had another opportunity but his effort was deflected onto the bar and over. Just as there was an air of hope inside Bloomfield Road, anxiety soon knocked that back, as The Seasiders failed to deal with a routine cross and Tom Soares was on hand to hit home from six yards at the back post past Rabs on 58 minutes.
The goal prompted a change from Grayson, as GTF, who was impressive today, was replaced by the tricky Andy Welsh.

This change brought about the equaliser. The switch allowed us to play wider, and bring Stephen Crainey into the game more, which in turn allowed Southern to get more involved in attacks, creating little triangles - often with the Irish magician at the heart of them.

So it was, after ten minutes of Andy Welsh, all square again. Keigan Parker, with a suspect fall, won a freekick in which Crainey hit the wall, fell nicely to Fox who drilled home past a ruck of bodies on the line.

The somewhat dodgy looking award of the freekick was one of only a handful decisions that went to Blackpool, as the referee Graham Laws had a shocking game. He seemed to 'bottle' plenty of decisions after his opening few minutes' performance, when both sets of fans chanted at his expense. I haven't seen the sending off of Tom Soares in the final moments again yet, but that looked slightly innocuous at the time.

Before the dismissal of The Eagles' scorer, Michael Flynn was brought on for Fox, to drive from midfield in the final minutes. However, he wasn't given enough time with only ten minutes left on the clock. The 'Pool did have a glorious chance at the death, as Flynn and Welsh both missed right in front of goal, but Welsh's opportunity being the harder pill to swallow as he had the whole goal to aim at and time.

Crystal Palace, who brought Paul Dickov on from the bench, had an even better chance at the end when the ball fell nicely at the back stick, but the fantastic Paul Rachubka saved miraculously.

At full time, 1-1 was probably the right result, but at the end of the day, Palace shut up shop after 70 minutes, and we didn't do nearly enough to win the game. Another draw, more dropped points, and the table isn't looking quite as rosy as it did this time last month.

Oh, and get a striker in; please!

Date:Saturday October 20 2007
Time: 7:00PM

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