Seasiders Earn Crucial Point in Sheffield
10th March 2009 - 19:45
After the fantastic victory over Norwich City on Saturday, Tony Parkes' Blackpool side could travel to Bramall Lane this evening in high spirits and with the attitude of nothing to lose - with the weekend's points in the bag.
And what ensued was a refreshing performance by a depleted starting eleven, which was missing two star performers from Saturday - Brett Ormerod and David Vaughan - along with captain Rob Edwards, Ian Evatt and Ben Burgess. Couple that with the fact that Graeme Owens was given a late call up to start due to Roy O'Donovan's late sickness, you'd be forgiven for thinking that perhaps this wasn't to be 'Pool's night.
And after five minutes I'm sure a few in the away end were staring in disbelief as The Seasiders went a goal down. United won a corner from Danny Coid, and as Dave Cotterill whipped in a cross, Coidy headed into his own net to give 'Pool the worst possible start - much like last season when we conceeded an early goal (after six minutes though that time!) and had Ian Evatt sent off.
In great parallels to that game, which Simon Grayson's team fought to a 1-1 draw, Blackpool battled hard and found their feet well after that early setback.
On loan Blackburn striker Nick Blackman fired over from just outside the box, whilst United kept pressing and had six successive corners at one point.
In a drab first half, 'Pool were just looking to get a foot hold in the game until the break, but ended up with more than they bargained before moments before referee Booth blew for half time.
Blackman, who possess a fine first touch for a striker so tall, was picked out after wonderful work by DJ Campbell, shifted the ball onto his right foot before shooting towards goal. The shot was deflected over Paddy Kenny and into the net to level the scores at 1-1.
Although Kevin Blackwell was the man to make a change at the break (Craig Beattie on for Greg Halford) it was Parkes' men who came out of the traps the quicker. Alex John-Baptiste threaded a ball through for DJ Campbell to chase and, as he pounced on a mistake by Blades skipper Craig Morgan, stroked home the second past Kenny to the delight of the travelling supporters.
Inevitably the away side took a few steps back as they tried valiantly to protect the slender lead; a lead they looked like needing given results elsewhere. However, it wasn't to be and a shocking pass back by right back Danny Coid to Paul Rachubka saw the US stopper take down Jamie Ward who was racing through on goal. Penalty to the home side, in which Rabs took a yellow card for his troubles (natives were baying for a red) and saw Dave Cotterill's spot kick send him the wrong way to make it all square at 2-2.
Minutes before the penalty incident, DJ Campbell has been put clean through again, but had failed to beat Paddy Kenny who made a smart stop.
And it was to be the Irish international's night, as with nine minutes of normal time remaining he saved brilliantly from a bullet freekick by Charlie Adam; the Rangers man once again pulled the strings in the tangerine midfield and looks to complement Southern nicely.
United had their chances to clinch the three points they desperately needed if they were to make a dent into the top two tonight, and hums of 'ooo's' and 'aaaah's' were sounding all around the ground as Lupoli, Morgan and Cotterill all went close to finding Rabs' net, but a final goal wasn't to be and Blackpool came away from a very tricky with a point.
A crucial point it is too, with only Plymouth and Nottingham Forest out of the relegation pack losing. Saturday is another massive game for the club away at Barnsley. A victory would put six points daylight between the sides, and although The Tykes will have three games in hand, can you see them winning them all?