3rd February 2007
Well, we said this at the start of the campaign and there are again murmurings on the Fylde coast that perhaps manager Simon Grayson`s tactics and team selection aren`t quite right and that ultimately contributed to our downfall against a very average Brentford side on Saturday.
The team sheet came under scrutiny as soon as the PA announcer bellowed out the starting eleven. With no Keith Southern down to suspension, the home crowd got their first watch of Claus Jorgensen in the middle of midfield at Bloomfield Road for a full ninety.
There were changes up front also for The Seasiders as both Scott Vernon and Andy Morrell dropped to the bench with Ben Burgess and Keigan Parker starting in their places. The spine of the team completed changed.
The lack of regard for Brentford was shown with the team selection and this was filtered through to the players as an effortless performance was shown throughout.
Even in the opening minutes, The Bees looked very bright and had Neil Shipperley in their team. The former Sheffield United man packed a few pounds but his style was causing Evatt and Jackson serious problems. Shipperley had a 35 yard volley tipped over by Rhys Evans who was very nearly caught out by the quick thinking of the veteran striker.
However, it might as well have gone in, as from the resulting corner on 13 minutes, Andy Frampton`s bullet (free) header put The Bees one nil up. Two things - Evans was beaten at his near post and Frampton`s marker had completely wandered off.
The Seasiders - although still playing poorly - managed to create several chances. The most notable was a David Fox freekick that Brentford 'keeper brilliantly saved. However, this was parried out to Keigan Parker who brought out the best in Abbey who then produced a fine double save to keep the 1-0 lead in tact.
On the half hour mark, the away side scored twice to effectively seal the points. The first one was a great cross from Shipperley to Jo Kuffour who volleyed home and then seconds later Kuffour latched onto a ball through by Pinault, giving Jackson two yards on him, made him look like the snails off that old Guinness advert as he breezed past him and struck coolly in the far corner past Evans.
The Seasiders still came forward, but couldn`t break through the Bees stern defence.
Half Time: Blackpool 0 - 3 Brentford
At the break, I for one remarked I actually expected us to get back into the game and right at the start of the second 45, Pool could have grabbed a goal back. Parker ran through but foiled by Abbey one on one. The superb link up play prior to the chance was created by Andy Morrell who had replaced the poor Michael Jackson with new loan signing Simon Gillett also entering the fray as he replaced the shocking Adrian Forbes.
Serious opportunities came and went, especially Andy Morrell`s sitter in front of goal as he headed wide.
Ben Burgess also had chances but never looked confident although he won many headers yet again. He didn`t have that chemistry with Parker but that was the first time they`d played together.
The Seasiders did manage to score in the end, and it took them 29 attempts on goal. Substitute Scott Vernon came off the bench to grab a late consolation and credit to the lads on the balcony for not playing Glad All Over!
Shocking result I`m afraid.
Simon Grayson seemed to tinker too much with his starting eleven before the game, and despite the media interviews with him saying this would be a difficult fixture, I could sense some complacency from the team he picked. Why drop Morrell? He doesn`t need resting. It looked bizarre prior to the kick off because surely it would make sense in resting your top striker in the middle of our tricky period (with three Tuesday night games in as many weeks), instead of before it`s even started? Unless he thought Brentford would be an easy three points of course. I accept the game was a good chance to see certain players perform for a full ninety - Burgess, Parker and Jorgensen - but that then was three changes (only one being enforced) to the spine of the side, so the team performance shouldn`t have come as such as a surprise.
Yet again Gorkss was found wanting at left back. From my point of view, the club have brought Kaspars in as a centre half, and are waiting for a serious mistake or two from Captain Jackson so they can then shift Gorkss to the middle alongside Evatt. Through the lack of transfer activity in the full back department, I wouldn`t be surprised if we saw Danny Coid out on the left when he`s back fit.
Saturday wasn`t the best start to our busy schedule ahead, but we can certainly turn it round at Oldham.