TWO Famous Faces See Blackpool Overcome Wolves
20th November 2010 - 15:00
First of all, we all know Prince William was in attendance today. Brilliant, hopefully he adopts us as his second team. I can however top that - the ginger kid from the Sun's pre-season television advert (you know the one: "this time last year Blackpool were relegation candidates") was sat next to me. Totally star-struck, and he was decked out in tangerine!
Anyway, onto the game. A dogged display ensured Blackpool three points as they beat Wolves 2-1 at Bloomfield Road.
Ian Holloway's men can now go to the Reebok Stadium next week in the second of the Wanderers' double-header with no fear and a relaxed attitude.
Goals from Luke Varney and Marlon Harewood were enough to secure the win, with a late Kevin Doyle header only a consolation.
The Seasiders were blessed with a fit Charlie Adam after injury whilst playing for Scotland in midweek. He lined up alongside David Vaughan and DJ Campbell in an attacking three which overran Wanderers in the opening stages.
Matt Phillips began on the right hand side of the front three and was immediately in the game as he got the better of George Elokobi; a pattern followed for the remainder of the half.
And after pressing Wolves hard in the opening moments, Pool got their breakthrough. Ian Evatt's straight ball down the left hand side was met by Luke Varney who controlled brilliantly to knock the ball inside Kevin Foley before rifling a looping volley from the angle of the area over Marcus Hahnemann's despairing dive.
That was after 3 minutes and from then on the away team looked the better of the two sides for a sustained period without ever creating much to worry Pool.
Matt Jarvis was seeing a lot of the ball out on the left and had the beating of Neal Eardley but fortunately any balls in were ably defended by both Evatt and Craig Cathcart.
Foley was hauled off after being given a wretched time from Varney.
In what was a fast, but lacking in real quality, game, the Wolves keeper nearly got himself onto one of David Seaman's blooper DVD's as he allowed a tame 30-yard strike from Evatt slip through his fingers; luckily for the American, he regained composure before the ball rolled over the line.
But he was again at the thick of the action just before the break. A floated David Vaughan corner seemed to be down Hahnemann's throat but Varney nipped in ahead of the keeper; that header found Marlon Harewood and the big man made up for his glaring miss last week at West Ham by bundling the ball home in between two lunging defenders on the line.
2-0 up and seemingly cruising at the break, Pool were up in the top half.
Mick McCarthy, who had picked a team to match Blackpool man for man, was left needing goals again after giving the opposition a head start. Starting with Michael Mancienne as the holding man has to go down as a managerial error (much like the Baptiste fiasco at Chelsea) and he reverted to right back midway through the opening period, which was actually probably more to do with the withdrawal of the dreadful Kevin Foley, who was given a wretched time by Varney.
McCarthy also threw on Sylvan Ebanks-Blake at half time and went with a genuine three up front. It seemed to me that they didn't really believe in committing numbers forward before then. After the restart though, they looked more of a threat and peppered Richard Kingson's goal on numerous occasions.
The Ghanaian goalkeeper was always equal to anything Wolves threw at him and his handling is a big improvement on Matt Gilks', who he replaced after the Scottish international was ruled out until the new year.
Most of the away efforts were from in and around the box and as they pressed so did Ollie's men, which supporters have come to expect.
They kept playing their football and had numerous opportunities to hit Wolves on the break but a lack of composure from Charlie Adam and notably DJ Campbell meant they weren't able to extend their lead.
Unlike in recent weeks, Blackpool kept their shape and that ultimately meant they were able to hold onto the two-goal lead until later in the game.
The introduction of Ludovic Sylvestre saw a tighter midfield, who were more adept at keeping possession. It's questionable whether Ollie got his team selection correct, but his substitutions were spot on. Gary Taylor-Fletcher replaced Matt Phillips, which saw the midfield drop in and defend the space instead of bombing forward constantly.
That decision to tighten up meant the defence dropped back five yards and ultimately conceded. Evatt had left proceedings after a clash of heads, a Wolves throw in was navigated towards the back post for Kevin Doyle to head home on 86 minutes.
However, although they conceded the team defended as a unit (again, unlike recent weeks) and were difficult to break down. That has to be the most pleasing thing about Blackpool's second home win of the season; a team able to hold onto leads will not be relegated and with a run of tricky games now awaiting, the three points are massive.