Date:Wednesday February 2 2011
2nd February 2011 - 20:00
After the relative euphoria from the Monday night transfer brilliance, it was back down to footballing action for Blackpool as they entertained bottom club West Ham United.
But the Seasiders put in a spineless performance devoid of attacking ideas as they went down 3-1 in front of 15,095 at Bloomfield Road.
New signing Andy Reid was given the task of heading the midfield triangle and Pool looked threatening in the opening minutes but soon switched Reid and Gary Taylor-Fletcher and lost shape within 10 minutes.
The Hammers, who withstood early pressure, took a grasp on the game as Scott Parker dropped deeper to help out his defence and begin to ping balls out to Victor Obinna and Gary O'Neill on the flanks.
Obinna had Neal Eardley stretched throughout the first half and it was he who forced Richard Kingson into a smart stop after 15 minutes.
Nine minutes later Obinna had the ball in the net. The Nigerian winger made a mockery of Craig Cathcart's attempted tackle as he skipped past the right back before a low drilled shot was inexcusably shovelled into his own goal by Kingson.
Blackpool looked all at sea, failing to string more than two passes together before a West Ham shirt was all over them like a rash. The midfield of Vaughan and Adam lacked runners ahead of them which saw possession died a death most of the time, with Alex Baptiste seeing the bulk of the ball and finding an away defender with long balls forward.
DJ Campbell was also struggling; although guilty of a lack of movement, Campbell was found wanting some support when the ball did reach him and failed to hold the ball up sufficiently enough to get Luke Varney in the game.
On 37 minutes the lead was doubled. Obinna was again involved as he saw two close range shots marvellously saved by Kingson but the second of which was only palmed into the path of debutant Robbie Keane who prodded home to make it two. Blackpool weren't tracking runners and on the edge of the box there were three players - including Keane - totally unmarked.
Whether the work-rate of the team wasn't good enough or not I'm not so sure but there was a defensive naivety about Pool with the absence of Ian Evatt, who had been dropped to the bench.
However, there was a way back into the match on 42. Andy Reid had earlier forced a cracking save from Robert Green and from another set play Charlie Adam notched a goal which could have sparked a home comeback. The Scottish midfielder seized on a gap at the near post from a corner and deliberately drilled a wicked corner straight into the West Ham goal; a truly memorably strike and further proof that he is worth more than suitors were willing to pay for him in January.
Sadly, the sniff of a comeback was short-lived and the Seasiders only had themselves to blame. A total lack of concentration from the midfield (yet again) allowed Scott Parker the time and space to drive his way forward and lay the ball into the path of the impressive Obinna who unleashed an unstoppable shot from 25-30 yards which penetrated the top right hand corner of the tangerine goal to send the visitors 3-1 going into half time.
The look of disgust from Ian Holloway said it all and he replaced Craig Cathcart with Ian Evatt at the break.
Pool were poor from the start of the second half and failed to create chances until a double substitution on the hour mark when James Beattie and Marlon Harewood were introduced for the below-par Varney and Andy Reid - the latter looking like he will be a shrewd acquisition once Holloway nails down what position he wants him to play and when Reid figures out the mechanics of the way Blackpool play.
Ollie flummoxed the home crowd as Harewood operated on the right hand side of a three man attack with DJ Campbell roaming as the third midfielder.
The big striker failed to make a real impact on the right but Pool had a lot of possession as Iron dropped 10 yards and allowed them to play.
But the Tangerines didn`t want to play: getting the ball forward as quickly as possible was the name of the game as they chased a result.
They were tremendously unlucky as James Beattie won a freekick on the edge of the box which Neal Eardley cracked against the bar, which was wobbling for sometime after. If that goes in it is a different game but it seemed to knock the wind out of the Seasiders, who looked resigned to defeat far earlier than the final whistle.
They did have penalty shouts and some heavy pressure ensued with Beattie taking up excellent positions, drawing Adam and Vaughan into the game.
However, his luck in front of goal deserted him as he feebly stabbed a fantastic chance at goal which was easily cleared.
The ball just wasn't dropping for Pool and West Ham dealt with balls into the box quite well, despite seeing their defender Daniel Gabbidon hobble off before half time.
What the result means is that Blackpool are now only four points ahead of Avram Grant's team (with a game against Tottenham in hand) and go to Everton stuck in a rut with one win and six defeats in the last seven.
Worrying times ahead maybe, but the trouble is with the amount of signings brought in is that they need time to gel and bed in with the squad.
Some points to take away from the game are that Holloway perhaps picked the wrong team with no Ian Evatt starting and Elliot Grandin on the bench - he was missed knitting midfield and attack. His substitutions can be questioned as they went for the jugular too early with big men on from 60 minutes and stopped the passing football.
Most of all though is that Vaughan and Adam need to decide who is going forward and who is sitting. We are now in February and it still hasn`t been sorted and whilst it isn't, we'll continue to concede through quality players finding too much space 20 yards from goal.
Roll on Everton, but I'm very, very fearful.
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Date:Wednesday February 2 2011
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