Date:Saturday April 30 2011
April 30, 2011; 15:00
Blackpool were again lacklustre in front of their own supporters in a 0-0 draw against Stoke City.
In blustery conditions at Bloomfield Road, the Seasiders failed to put Tony Pulis' side under significant pressure throughout the 90 minutes, despite needing maximum points in the fight for survival.
Ian Holloway named the same eleven which last week drew to Newcastle United and they did start brightly, roared on by a capacity crowd.
However, once the visitors got a hold of the game, Pool struggled to find any answers - or indeed questions - for their well-organised guests.
The flow of the tangerine attacks were hampered by confusion within the front three right from the word go, with young Matt Phillips struggling to get to grips with what the manager expected of him. Operating from the right hand side, Phillips was constantly wandering in field instead of hugging his touchline - where he can do the most damage.
Whether that is down to the manager of player we do not know, but misunderstandings between the front three and midfield were painfully obvious.
And that meant chances were at a premium for the Seasiders.
But whilst they weren't creating anything going forward, it was crucial they remained resolute at the back, which they did brilliantly well against the tricky combination of Jones and Walters.
The one slip in concentration should have produced a goal seconds before the break. Neal Eardley was lapse in possession and when the ball broke, Kenwyne Jones rounded Matt Gilks before somehow skewing a shot (in front of a genuine open goal) 15 yards wide of the target.
Before that guilt-edge chance, Pool had built up a head of steam, forcing a number of deadball opportunities which Charlie Adam failed to capitalise on.
Adam was described on the BBC after the game as a 'shadow of his former self' which just about sums up his contribution to the cause since the January transfer window. In previous weeks he was criticised for trying to do everyone else's jobs but this time out he couldn't manage his own - giving the ball away needlessly on countless occasions.
After the break Blackpool lacked the punch Adam himself is renowned for, and spent most of the 45 batting away Jermaine Pennant corners or Rory Delap throw-ins.
Remarkably, despite not getting out of their own third for the whole half, it took Ollie until 72nd minute to make his changes. Kornilenko and Varney replaced the totally ineffectual Taylor-Fletcher and Phillips.
The changes did give Pool an added dimension. When they were aiming long balls - which DJ Campbell had no chance with against Huth and Shawcross up until then - it was to a real aerial threat in Kornilenko, who gave the City back four something to think about.
With mutterings that results elsewhere weren't going our way, the Pool had to press for a winner. In fairness, they did re-gather their composure and launched a five-minute assault on the Potters goal but once the fourth official had put the board up for four additional minutes, it seemed clear that the game would end goalless.
Unfortunately Pool haven't been able to capitalise on the four home games in April - winning just two points from them and finding themselves right in the relegation mire. However, results in the end could have been worse as Wigan conceded an equaliser to Everton - remaining in the bottom three.
This week (and indeed last against Newcastle) have to go down as missed opportunities which ultimately mean that the team might need a result at either White Hart Lane or Old Trafford, coupled with three points at home to Bolton, to survive in the Premier League.
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Date:Saturday April 30 2011
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