Cov Hold Blackpool
27th September 2008 - 15:00
If you asked ten people to analyse Blackpool's 1-1 home draw to Coventry City, I think you would struggle to get any two matching summaries; such was the nature of the game today. Some would argue that we deserved more than the one point we did indeed earn, and others would say that Coventry bossed the game for long periods and were unlucky not to come away with a win. Personally, I`m in-between the two.
The team news was as expected. There were no real surprises that Simon Grayson opted for the same starting eleven which beat Birmingham City last week, but Daniel Nardiello picked up an injury in training in the week, and failed to make the bench.
Barker - Edwards © - Evatt - Camara
GTF - Southern - Jorgensen - Vaughan
Burgess - Kabba
Coventry City also started with the team which won last week - at home to QPR - meaning last season phenomenon Michael Misfud had to be content with a spot on the bench.
Coventry City (4-4-2):
Osbourne - Ward - Dann © - Fox
Tabb - Doyle - Gunnarsson - McKenzie
Eastwood - Morrison
After the great result last week, I expected the stands to be fairly full today. However, the ridiculous ticket prices are hindering the support too much, and only eight-and-a-half thousand (sellout from Coventry) turned up to watch the game, which is a real shame, albeit the atmosphere was greatly improved right from the start.
And it was directly from the start where the Sky Blues could have taken the lead. From the kick off, a long ball was misjudged by Shaun Barker which allowed Clinton Morrison to cut the ball back for Gunnarsson who smashed a 20 yarder onto the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Chris Coleman's team were already showing their quality in stringing the ball around the park in bright North West sunshine, and Barker particularly looked uncomfortable with Leon McKenzie on the City left. There was considerable flexibility from the away team, with McKenzie - striker by trade - roaming up and down the left, not playing in a fixed position.
The Seasiders were finding it difficult to hold the ball up; Burgess failed to win any early headers and Steve Kabba was reduced to running down lost causes, although there was a glimmer of a chance when David Vaughan fired over the bar from 20 yards.
It was becoming apparent that something needed to be done by Pool in order to stop the attacking flow from Jay Tabb and McKenzie, who were both allowed to come inside too often and cause havoc.
Doyle in the middle of the pitch was dictating play with a good range of passing, and Southern was finding it difficult to get close to him. In fact, Doyle reminded me of a young Michael Hughes (former Wimbledon and Crystal Palace midfielder) - who left the Ricoh Arena this summer.
The quality of delivery from City left back Daniel Fox (obviously no relation to David judging by his set pieces!) from corners was causing Pool problems, and Clinton Morrison will consider himself unlucky not to have scored with a sharp shot on the turn.
This however was after him limping off moments beforehand, which sparked a chorus of boos from the home fans.
Morrison broke down on the halfway line as Cov were attacking… they carried on playing without him. But when their move broke down, Morrison tried to reach his feet, only for Steve Kabba to knock the ball out of play so he could receive treatment, whilst Pool were on the counter attack. Unfair? It seems so, especially as there was nothing wrong with the striker; certainly a rule that needs clarifying!
Blackpool did try to get into the game, and utilised the right hand side in an attempt to work openings. Gary Taylor-Fletcher was guilty of dithering on the ball too often but he did pick out Burgess late on in the half - only for the big man to head wide.
With half time upon us, the referee finished his dismal opening period by adding an extra minute of added on time, when in reality three or four should have been awarded - with countless stoppages for injuries and the like, which left Larry perplexed on the touchline.
A rocket must have been perched at the behinds of Burgess and Taylor-Fletcher, amongst others, at half time by the manager, as The Seasiders came out a reformed unit. The first half was as bad as we have played all season (bar Burnley), but the Pool started to get a foothold on the fixture, obviously realising a win would see them finish the day in the playoffs.
The men in tangerine managed to earn a flurry of corners without really threatening, but it wasn't long before they took the lead as they stamped their authority on Coventry.
The goal, on 58 minutes, was fair on the second half balance of play and came from a neat move. GTF and Kabba linked up nicely before the former squared it for Burgess to curl home (yes, curl) from the edge of the box to the right of Kieran Westwood in goal. Cue the birdman celebrations as Burgess flew off towards the North Stand. Funny, as all his other efforts on goal landed in around row T of the stand!
The goal initiated more home attacks, and for ten minutes we looked like we could win at a canter. Rob Edwards, still up from a set piece, sent a shot fizzing wide of goal and again more corners ensued, before the ultimate turning point in the game.
Burgess, who was now proving a real handful for Dann and Ward at the back, missed an absolute guilt edge chance to further the lead. Mo Camara was slipped in by Claus Jorgensen before whipping in a peach of a cross for Burgess. Six yards out. Free header. No keeper to beat. And the big man hit the bar. The story of Ben's football career in about ten minutes - brilliant to baffling.
But the crowd, not to be deterred by his miss, broke out into spontaneous birdman flapping!
The miss woke Coventry back up again though. They started to get hold of the game in midfield, picked up too many second balls and started working the Pool fullbacks.
Clinton Morrison was unlucky not to score before Freddy Eastwood eventually did on 68 minutes. The former Southend striker wriggled clear of a few home defenders as he strode into the box, before stabbing home the equaliser; a really poor goal to concede from our point of view.
This saw the game become wide open for the remaining 20 minutes, as Keith Southern being replaced by Adam Hammill. Unfortunately, the on loan Liverpool winger didn't adjust to the game at all.
There were chances at both ends, with Steve Kabba endeavouring to notch another seaside goal, but alas it wouldn't come and despite creating good opportunities, neither side could force home the winner.
Michael Misfud, who I mentioned earlier in the report, came on as a late substitute and really might have won it for them late on as he peeled off Edwards at the back post but his shot found the stomach of Paul Rachubka.
If you'd have given me a point against a very attacking minded Coventry team before the game, I'd have certainly taken it. The Sky Blues are much improved from last year (where we beat them 4-0 at Bloomfield Road) and possess some of the best strikers in the league. It definitely would not surprise me if they were in the shake up for promotion come May, and although it is a pity we didn't hang on for a win, we are still only a point away from the playoffs!