Back To Earth
27th Jan 09, 7.45pm
Playoff-hopefuls Queens Park Rangers sent Tony Parkes, Steve Thompson and the entire 'Pool dressing room crashing back to reality with a bump this evening after a 3-0 undressing on a dismal night in the Seaside.
'Pool lined up;
Barker - Evatt - Edwards - Harte
O'Donovan - Vaughan - Fox - Martin
Campbell - Taylor-Fletcher
Subs: Gilks, Baptiste, Crainey, Owens, Nemeth
QPR lined up;
Connolly - Gorkss - Stewart - Delaney
Routledge - Leigertwood - Mahon - Miller - Cook
Subs: Bulmer, Di Carmine, Hall, Blackstock, Ephraim
Kaspars Gorkss was given a mixed reception at the start of the game. With QPR shooting towards the South end of the ground (something which Blackpool prefer to do in the first half of games) he took his place in the centre of the Rangers defence as the Kop chanted his name in recognition of his work in Tangerine. When the game kicked off though, it was a different story, he was back to being the enemy. It would turn out to be a fairly easy night for him, along with his team-mates in defence as 'Pool were taught a harsh lesson.
The game did start out brightly for the home side, though as they went in search of their first back-to-back home win in what seems like an eternity. Gary Taylor-Fletcher went close, DJ Campbell had a couple of chances to get in behind the R's defence, but was prevented by the defence or 'Keeper Lee Camp. Then, on the break, Wayne Routledge showed his worth to the visitors as they took the lead.
QPR's new favourite had the ball played into his stride on the right hand side after a long clearance from a 'Pool attack. He whipped a delicious ball into the penalty area and as Shaun Barker was at sixes and sevens along with the rest of the defence, Helguson ghosted in and headed expertly away from Paul Rachubka into the right hand corner of the goal. Against the run of play, but from that point on, QPR were in the ascendancy.
'Pool did have chances though, drawing energy from the crowd that had no doubt helped them in their last outing just a few days prior. Ian Harte had a shot deflected wide from distance, David Vaughan had a rasping shot pushed away from goal by Camp and Campbell was still pressing. The long-ball tactics against the likes of Gorkss weren't helping matters, though, and would prove to be the side's downfall. Instead of playing to our strengths, we simply ended up playing to Rangers' instead.
The half-time whistle couldn't come soon enough for many fans who once again braved the cold for a sub-par performance. Every chance would have to count in the second 45. Unfortunately, one cannot remember a single instance.
Joe Martin was replaced at the half time break, as Parkes and co tried to rectify the dire football seen in the first period. 'Boro loanee Graeme Owens replaced him in a like-for-like swap.
It wasn't the only change at half time, however. Referee Graham Laws was replaced by...someone (sorry, I didn't catch your name, dear?) - one can only imagine because he was called a few names during the first 45 minutes by fans who weren't exactly fond of his decisions. Bless. It meant another 'is there anyone who is qualified to be a fourth official?!' message being belted out over the PA system during the break.
The hosts tried desperately to get a foot-hold on the tie after change-around, but they simply couldn't. Wayward passes, goal-kicks resembling a 40-20 (that's a Rugby League term for those of you who are wondering what I'm talking about!) and poor tactics costing us dearly throughout the drab 2nd half. More excitement was had laughing at a fire engine that had, seemingly, lost its way a bit having been one way up Bloomfield Road, only to return with flashing lights still on a matter of minutes later!
Ian Evatt gave away a needless penalty kick on the hour mark. The ball wasn't cleared from a corner and as the ball fell at the feet of the QPR player, he steamed in from the side and hacked him down after the ball had been played back out wide to the player who had just taken the corner. A stone-waller. Helguson cooly dispatched the spot-kick, sending Rachubka the wrong way. No way back for the 'Pool, 0-2.
Krisztian Nemeth then replaced Roy O'Donovan - with Taylor-Fletcher switching back to the right of midfield - to make his debut for the Seasiders after signing on a month's loan on Monday. Not much to say about his performance, rarely got onto the ball, such was the capitulation of the side after Saturday's heroics.
David Fox did have a long-range chance that was turned around the post, and there may have been other chances, but they were most certainly few and far between. Lee Camp was barely challenged.
Stephen Crainey entered the fray to replace Ian Harte on the left of defence after his failure to contain Routledge, but it was clear only a matter of minutes later, that he was still tender after his long lay-off. Having gone in on a challenge with an on-rushing Routledge where he cleared the ball into touch, he collided with the winger - seemingly on his hip/thigh - and was in a lot of pain. Both men had the physio on but, while Routledge played on, Crainey - despite trying to soldier on through the pain - succumbed to the pain and had to limp off. As he limped around the touchline of the pitch back to the dugout, he received a standing ovation from the 'Pool fans. One certainly hopes that it isn't a lengthy lay-off!
The game was wrapped up late in the day as ten-man Blackpool failed to deal with a through-ball from Lee Cook from midfield and 2nd half substitute Hogan Ephraim (on for Liam Miller) slotted past Rachubka to rub salt in the wounds of everyone in the 'Pool camp.
QPR weren't done though, they still pressed for another, with Dexter Blackstock - another 2nd half substitute, originally mistaken for Fitz Hall by PA Announcer Tony Parr! - seeing his shot deflect up off Rob Edwards, loop over the 'Keeper and rebound off the bar to be finally cleared by Ian Evatt.
Most of the home support had left before the final whistle had blown and there was no doubt that it came with a sigh of relief from those still inside Bloomfield Road. There were a few muted boos as the game drew to a close, but there was undoubtedly an overwhelming feeling of dejection, both in the fans minds, and on the faces and in the body language of the players.
They, and the management team, now need to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and start afresh this coming Saturday at Crystal Palace. Is it good or bad news that they were also defeated tonight, against rock-bottom Charlton Athletic?
The main question still remains unanswered, it seems. Have Parkes and Thommo done enough to remain in charge? Tonights result may well have changed people's minds after the euphoria of Saturday afternoon.