10-Man Rearguard Display Earns 'Pool Points
16th February 2010 - 19:45
The Seasiders produced a battling performance in the last half an hour with 10 men to pull three points out of the bag against playoff chasing Middlesbrough.
'Pool led through a Brett Ormerod strike but had Rob Edwards rightly sent off with 30 to play.
That didn't stop the home side adding to their lead late on, as DJ Campbell tapped in to seal the points in stoppage time.
Playing a front three of DJ Campbell, Brett Ormerod and Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Ian Holloway welcomed back Charlie Adam in the middle of midfield.
But it was 'Boro who started the quicker, with an early chance for Aliadiere who forced a smart stop from Matt Gilks, diving well down to his left.
On the boggy pitch, 'Pool struggled to get a true grip on their passing but might've scored midway through the opening period when DJ Campbell was slipped in. The on-loan striker had his initial shot blocked before rashly blazing over from close range.
The chance signalled a spell of home dominance as David Vaughan began to stamp his authority in midfield - creating space and time against midfielders better suited to the Premiership in Barry Robson and Gary O'Neil.
And the 'Pool then opened the scoring. A cheeky back heel from Taylor-Fletcher saw Brett Ormerod in the clear, who calmly slotted home on the half hour mark.
In the second half Blackpool looked more comfortable in possession and were passing and probing from the middle in order to carve chances.
However, they had a huge piece of good fortune shortly into the half when Aliadiere was put clean through only to be taken down by last man Charlie Adam. Referee Haywood - who had a shocking game start to finish - steamed in only to show the captain a yellow card. Fortunate indeed.
There was no such good fortune five minutes later when a suicidal sidewards pass from Stephen Crainey put Rob Edwards under extreme pressure from Scott MacDonald. The Australian was hauled down more centrally and Rob had to go. A stupid error from Crainey, who after having a good few weeks, is looking out of sorts again.
That meant Andy Butler replaced GTF with the Seasiders going 4-4-1. Lee miller came on for the visitors to make an extra attacker.
'Boro didn't really create any clear cut chances despite their man advantage. Having said that, 'Pool were defending deeper and deeper with the attitude of anywhere will do. With 15 minutes still left on the clock Ollie knew something had to change...
He brought both David Vaughan and Brett Ormerod off and replaced with with Stephen Dobbie and the returning Hameur Bouazza - both playing on the wing.
This changed the game all right: 'Boro won a penalty straight away. Barry Robson was fed the ball inside the box and flicked it away from Ian Evatt before going down. It looked a soft decision - in keeping with Haywood's display - and would mean Pool lost another lead.
What nobody was expecting was that the highly experienced striker Scott MacDonald would miss from the spot. Saying he missed is probably doing Matt Gilks a diservice, as the 'keeper flung himself to his right to beat away the effort.
This seemed to knock the stuffing out of Gordon Strachan's team and there was even time for a brilliant counter-attacking second home goal. Hameur Bouazza played a one-two with Dobbie before sprinting clear of the away defence. As he reached the box, he saw DJ Campbell alongside him so rolled the ball across the goal - right in front of 'keeper Danny Coyne - so the striker could tap home for all three points.
Badge kissing and the like ensued, which was good to see.
A massive three points for Ian Holloway's side against the odds which puts them three points behind the playoffs with 14 games left.