Good Point for 'Pool in Bristol
28th February 2009; 15:00
The Seasiders came away from Ashton Gate very happy with a credible point against the Championship's form team. In a game where either side could've won it, 'Pool ended a run of four defeats in the last six.
Tony Parkes made four changes to the side which lost at home to Watford last week; skipper Rob Edwards was out through injury and Roy O'Donovan was suspended. David Fox and Matt Gilks were the fall-guys and dropped to the bench.
Baptiste - Barker - Evatt - Crainey
GTF - Jorgensen - Adam - Vaughan
Ormerod - Campbell
Subs: Gilks, Coid, Fox, Southern, Owens.
Bristol City (4-4-2):
Orr - Carey - Fontaine - McAllistar
Williams - Skuse - Johnson - McIndoe
Maynard - Adebola
Subs: McCombe, Sproule, Weale, Akinde, John.
DJ Campbell came the closest for The Seasiders to breaking the deadlock for 'Pool in the first half as he struck a shot over the angle of post and bar on the run, but in truth Adriano Basso had very little to do in the Robins' goal.
The same went for Paul Rachubka though; the US stopper - back in the side for Matt Gilks - had a couple of shots straight at him, but nothing of any major note.
Bad news for Blackpool half way through the first period when Ian Evatt hobbled off after a heavy challenge. He was replaced by Danny Coid, which saw Alex John-Baptiste move to the middle of defence alongside skipper Shaun Barker.
Nicky Maynard might've done better with a chance created by the lively Michael McIndoe but he fired over 'Pool's bar, and at the break it was 0-0.
The second period saw Blackpool grow in confidence, as Gary Taylor-Fletcher squandered two great chances in a few minutes early on. The first was a header at the back post from a Charlie Adam corner, and the second when he side-footed wide of Basso's post from inside the area.
But the introduction of Ivan Sproule seemed to change the game in City's favour. The speedy winger, who replaced the ineffectual Nicky Maynard, was a constant threat and set up Gavin Williams for a chance with his first touch, but the former Ipswich man fired wide.
Then 'Pool made another change, when GTF was taken off, hobbling slightly, for Graeme Owens, which left the visibly exhausted Ormerod still on the field - something I'm sure the management team hadn't planned.
Brett Ormerod, who was booked for diving in the box earlier in the game, had a decent opportunity with ten minutes remaining, but his left footed shot found the goalkeeper.
The game opened up as it came closer to the full time whistle, and Gary Johnson threw on central defender Jamie McCombe up front to partner Dele Adebola and Stern John. He actually had a fantastic chance seconds after coming on, but he saw his free header sail over Paul Rachubka's bar.
And despite some heavy pressure from The Robins, 'Pool nearly snatched all three points very late on. David Vaughan was set up for a volley, but Basso was equal to it, and from the resulting corner 'Pool couldn't make anything of it.
All-in-all, a very well deserved point for us on the road, once again. Bristol City have been on a tremendous run of form lately, so to come away with something will do out chances of staying up no harm. However, the results from in and around us weren't so great. Southampton, Barnsley, Nottingham Forest, Plymouth and Watford all came out of their games with maximum points, so we drop to 20th place, but still five points clear of the drop zone.
This next week will, in my mind, determine how our season will end. Burnley and Norwich City (who did in fact lose today) both travel to Bloomfield Road, and we need to pick up a win in at least one of these fixtures. If we don't, serious trouble may lie ahead.