Superb Seasiders Suffer Last Gasp Spurs Heartache
White Hart Lane
May 7, 17:30
Blackpool put in a sterling performance to draw 1-1 away at Tottenham in Saturday's late kick off.
The point keeps Pool in 17th with two games remaining after a Charlie Adam penalty and an 89th minute Jermain Defoe equaliser ended this encounter all square.
The Seasiders, who had Sergei Kornilenko leading their attack, looked more assured than in the last three months as they sought to get the ball down from the off and play their football.
Spurs were sluggish to begin with but carved a number of opportunities from wide areas throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Gareth Bale was causing the Pool backline problems with his direct running at Neal Eardley, but the right back stuck to his task well, despite not having much cover in front of him.
Although Spurs did look threatening it was Ian Holloway's team who should have gone in at half time ahead.
Charlie Adam - who was sensational throughout, a real return to form - saw a blistering volley from 10 yards superbly saved by Gomes in the home goal moments before DJ Campbell was thwarted by a last ditch Michael Dawson tackle.
The game was slow at times due to the humidity down in the capital, and Kornilenko struggled to find his feet but did show a couple of nice touches. The problem Pool were having was that attacking movement was too tight and the need for a pinpoint ball in the final third was too great instead of playing their usual expansive football.
However, tightening up in attack had a profound effect on their defensive play. Ian Evatt and Alex Baptiste were rarely turned or under severe amounts of pressure for large spells of the game, which, away at such a good side, was hugely encouraging.
Keith Southern continued to put himself about in the middle of the park whilst Vaughan alongside him was at his imperious best.
However, the introduction of Aaron Lennon at half time gave Spurs an extra buzz and kick as they pressed for the opening goal.
The England international had the measure of Stephen Crainey (as is to be expected) but his final ball wasn't quite killer enough or the tangerine backline were able to clear the danger.
Rafael Van Der Vaart was pushed into a slightly more advanced role and spurned a good opportunity over the bar before Adam and co really got a hold of the game.
Jason Puncheon - also a half time substitute, replacing Kornilenko - took 20 minutes to find his feet in the game but once he did, Pool packed more punch going forward and were slicker in possession.
DJ Campbell had a brilliant chance to put the Seasiders ahead as he was cleverly found by the advanced Southern. Campbell only had a split second to wrap his foot around the low cross and steer it goalwards but Gomes pulled off a world class save to tip it around the post.
Pool were pressing, and were awarded a penalty from the resulting corner. Adam whipped it in and it was centre half Dawson who handled in the area (whilst home players and supporters argued that he had been pushed by Ian Evatt); referee Lee Probert had no hesitation in point to the spot.
Adam - having not missed a spot kick all season - had his effort down to Gomes' left marvellously saved by the Brazilian who turned it around the post.
That despair for the 3000 travelling fans was soon jubilation again. The corner wasn't dealt with by Gomes who half-punched it away. He then followed the ball and got himself in a tangle 12 yards out with Danny Rose and Alex Baptiste before the goalkeeper felled Gary Taylor-Fletcher from the knock down to give Pool a SECOND penalty in 70 seconds, sparking delirium from the Blackpool supporters housed in the corner of White Hart Lane.
DJ Campbell wanted the ball, but there was no moving captain Adam, who confidently powered the ball home to make it 1-0. Adam then sprinted over to the support, punching the air, pointing to the badge and gesturing how much it meant to him.
GTF was substituted for Craig Cathcart soon after. Baptiste went to right back whilst Eardley played in a more advanced role, but acutely aware of his defensive responsibilities.
In fairness, Blackpool weathered the Spurs storm pretty well and should have made the game safe with five minutes left. A slip by William Gallas in not dealing with a through ball allowed Campbell into the box. He waited for Puncheon to arrive before slipping the loanee in between defenders, but the winger's shot skewed wide when he really should have hit the target.
Cue further onslaught.
But the equaliser was to come in awful fashion for Pool. As Harry Redknapp's side came forward once again from the halfway line, David Vaughan tucked in field to deal with the primary danger source but forgot about the lurking Jermain Defoe 25-yards from goal. Vaughan by this time had left his man, allowing Defoe time to spin on the ball and rifle a strike right into the corner of the net - giving Gilks no chance and setting up an extremely tense six minute of injury time.
In true Ollie fashion, he brought a striker, James Beattie on, but that was to thwart the threat of Peter Crouch.
And the Pool held on for what could turn out to be a very valuable point. A point which nobody - not even the staunchest tangerine optimist - would have realistic expected at the start of the day.
They are also free of the drop zone on goal difference as Wigan could only draw at Villa. If Wolves lost against neighbours West Brom tomorrow, it is as you were at the foot of the Premiership table with just two games left!