'Pool 1 - 1 Wednesday
26th December 2008 - 15:00
If you wanted a score of how the caretaking duo of Tony Parkes and Steve Thompson did in their first game after Larry left, I'd say not many 'Pool supporters would give less than a 7. The Seasiders looked well-organised, well-drilled and played great flowing football in parts as they came away from Hillsborough with a point - perhaps two less than they deserved.
Parkes, who seems to be manager with Thompson as his assistant, didn't make too many changes to the side who drew against Swansea last week. The predicted change of Gow in for Burgess was correct, and Rob Edwards came back after two weeks injured.
Barker - Edwards - Evatt - Martin
GTF - Southern - Fox - Reid
Gow - Dickinson
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2):
Buxton - Wood - Beevers - Spurr
Small - O'Connor - Watson - Sluraski
Burton - Jeffers
I think 'Pool will be happy with a point from the fixture, given the festive period's events, and the eleven men in tangerine showed that they can knock the ball about freely - completely different to the games played recently under Grayson.
Shackles looked to have been loosened (even thrown off in some cases, probably most notably Shaun Barker) throughout the side, and every played seemed to be encouraged to express themselves.
Alan Gow and Liam Dickinson looked extremely lively up front all afternoon for Parkes' men, making a mockery out of Beevers and Wood, but a final ball was sadly lacking for either wing to create any real opportunities.
But the away side really upped a gear in the opening stages of the second half, when they deservedly took the lead. Shaun Barker was fouled inside the penalty area, and referee Mike Oliver had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Alan Gow, my man of the match, stepped up and sent Lee Grant the wrong way on 48 minutes to send the healthy travelling support wild.
Sadly, we weren't ahead for long. A dubious freekick from our perspective was given, and yet again we failed to deal with the delivery, which led to former 'Pool loanee (and I'm not attempting to spell his first name) Sluraski to bury past Rachubka to end the scoring on 55 minutes.
Liam Dickinson on another day might've sealed all three points for Blackpool with 15 minutes left when he raced clear of Beevers but his rasping shot rose over the bar, and in fairness, he should've made the 'keeper work.
We hit Wednesday on the break all game long, with Kyel Reid being lively on the left. I might have played Adam Hammill on the right instead of GTF, but that would mean sacrificing GTF's defensive qualities.
Alan Gow had his best game in a tangerine shirt, continuingly beating his markers like they weren't there and intelligantly finding team mates. It really was a joy to watch, as the Scot looked more like Diego Maradona (and judging by a couple of his mazey runs, that comparison isn't as far-fetched as it sounds) in his pomp. He and Keith Southern typified some renewed optimism in the Blackpool camp with all action displays - Southern himself getting better and better as the season progresses.
And just as the fourth official was indicating three additional minutes of time, Gow tried an audacious strike from 35 yards which just dipped wide after he'd chipped himself up with two kick-ups.
Hopefully we will see more of Gow and Dickinson after Wolves. Maybe we won't, but it's been great having them at Bloomfield Road, and if we play like we did today consistantly, midtable will be comfortable.