'Pool Stung By Countering Hornets
21st February 2009 - 15:00
I`d love to be able to put a positive spin on the 2-0 home defeat to Watford today, but it`s not possible. The Seasiders lacked fight, creativity and a cutting edge as The Hornets came for a point and ended up with all three.
And it has ended an awful two weeks for Tony Parkes - who has seen his side defeated three times by opposition whom started below 'Pool in the table.
These defeats aren`t unlucky - they are very much our own doing. Focussing on today, Parkes picked exactly the same team that were well beaten 4-1 at Derby in the week - which remarkably meant no place for Paul Rachubka, Ian Evatt, Joe Martin or Paul Marshall, the latter two not even making the bench.
Baptiste - Barker - Edwards © - Crainey
O`Donovan - Fox - Jorgensen - Vaughan
Campbell - Taylor-Fletcher
Williamson - DeMerit - Mariappa - Doyley
Cowie - Cork - Jenkins - McAnuff
Priskin - Smith
In typical Blackpool fashion, we started the game relatively brightly. DJ Campbell was causing Jay DeMerit some problems up the left hand side, and was stretching the away defence, but 'Pool failed to carve any real opportunities out for themselves.
Roy O`Donovan sliced a shot wide on the angle following good build up play by David Vaughan and Claus Jorgensen (who went off for stitches for a head wound midway through the first half) after only five or so minutes, and that ended up being our best move of the game.
Tamas Priskin was slipped in moments later, easing past the poor Rob Edwards, but his strike flew past Matt Gilks` right hand post.
Watford battled well in the opening stages, content with what they had at the time. It was plain to see that they were happy to let The Tangerines have the ball deep in midfield and knew that their opponents were extremely susceptible to a swift counter attack, so Brendan Rodgers` men sat in tight and bided their time.
Tommy Smith dropped off Rob Edwards and Shaun Barker to receive possession on numerous occasions, almost occupying a midfield role, and neither Jorgensen nor David Fox picked him up, which gave Watford an easy get-out throughout the first half.
The Seasiders generally played too narrow, with David Vaughan drifting inside and Roy O`Donovan incapable of beating his full back down the line, so it was left for Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Campbell to muster a chance through neat intricate football; sadly the Watford defence snuffed most of this out. As the first half wore on the home side became increasingly frustrated and resorted to long balls - a recipe for disaster considering the relative heights of our forwards and their defenders.
Campbell, who was becoming visibly despondent, showed what he could do when given the ball into feet with minutes remaining before the break when he picked up the ball on the halfway line and ran at all four Hornets defenders before his shot was eventually blocked.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher saw a sweet volley well saved by Loach in the away goal as the stopped tipped over for a corner, but this was as close as Parkes` side came, despite their dominance in possession. They had a few corners to try and work in the opening period as well, but David Vaughan`s delivery was Fox-like with its lack of penetration and direction.
At the break, it was 0-0.
I do sound like a broken record, but I make no apologies for that - who knows what Tony Parkes tells his players at half time?! We`ve now come out for the second half and lost a game five times during his reign as gaffer - something must be fundamentally wrong with his team talks; if his interviews are anything to go by then the players are probably verbally drugged with sleeping pills before the second half.
And they looked half asleep at a 54th minute Watford corner when defender Mike Williamson headed home, pretty much unmarked, from a Jobi McAnuff centre to send the travelling support of around 300 into raptures.
To be fair to the away side, who are now only two points behind Blackpool, they came out with new vigour for the second period, and imposed themselves on the game far better than in the first. They obviously saw that the Seasiders were there for the taking after the home side failed to create many clear-cut chances.
Brett Ormerod and Graeme Owens were introduced, with David Fox and Roy O`Donovan making way, with 25 minutes left to save the game.
Boos ringing from the kop end won`t have helped the 'Pool players settle whatsoever, and after indecision in goal by Gilks, the "USA" chant came out, clamouring for Paul Rachubka to be reinstated as number one - which was absurd and can`t have helped the keepers confidence. Incidentally, earlier in the game, Gilks had glared over to the west stand at one of his goal kicks after some choice words had been expressed by a supporter over the time the former Norwich man took with ball in hand.
This biting atmosphere did little to help the players, and although GTF did have one half chance to equalise, we never looked threatening, as Rodgers` team sat back and played on the counter attack - something they had down to an absolute tee.
Late in the game, Tamas Priskin capped off a good display by beating Rob Edwards before clipping over Gilks to end the match 2-0, with no way back for the home side.
With Bristol City, Burnley, Norwich and Sheffield United coming up, The Seasiders must be fearing the worst at present as their dip in form emulates that of last seasons. A permanent manager is, in my opinion, imperative if we are to stay in this division.
Please Karl, decision time is upon you.