Holloway tinkers brilliantly as Pool beat Ipswich
September 10th, 2011. 15:00
Blackpool continued their good early season form with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Ipswich Town - thanks to subtle half time tactical changes by Ian Holloway.
Goals from Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Barry Ferguson after the break sealed the points in front of 12,804 at Bloomfield Road.
In truth, the visitors were toothless in attack, failing to get sufficient supply to summer signing Michael Chopra. Having caused Ian Evatt countless problems in the past, the former Cardiff City striker had his quietest game against the Seasiders for a long time - down to the defender's attentions throughout.
However, there was always a threat of something about to happen with the impressive Jimmy Bullard bossing the midfield - especially in the first half. The loanee - who had to endure a humorous chant surrounding his hair later in the game - made the Tractor Boys tick and it was only in the second 45 when Barry Ferguson was allowed more freedom that Pool began to take a stranglehold.
In a first half of very few chances, the hosts lacked ideas and an injection of pace to stretch the away back four and test David Stockdale in goal. The closest they came to an opener was when the goalkeeper let a tame Kevin Phillips effort out of his grasp and could have parried the shot into his own net.
But it was after the half time team talk when the Blackpool we know and love showed up. Subtle changes to the attacking shape were made, with Gary Taylor-Fletcher beginning to roam from his deep starting position which saw the pace of the game dictated higher up the pitch.
The move stopped Kevin Phillips drifting too deep - giving a focal point to the front three which wasn't there earlier in the game.
And it was a link between players in their 'proper' positions which brought about the opening goal on 49 minutes. The busy Taylor-Fletcher and Phillips were naturally involved in the build up as the ball was manoeuvred to Billy Clarke 12 yards out and in acres of space. The winger teed himself up before snatching at the chance only for his shot to fall to GTF perfectly for him to slot home to make it 1-0.
The tactical switch by Holloway has to be applauded - recognising that the goalscorer was not able to affect the game from midfield as well as he would have liked. GTF began to operate wider and from past experience, it is known that the player is more effective when meeting the ball from wide areas and cutting inside.
This also enabled Barry Ferguson to play as a more box-to-box midfielder as he scored the second goal on the hour. A goal that was all about the pros and cons of Brett Ormerod.
Firstly, Ormerod found himself in a fantastic position in the box but didn't back himself to go on and take it alone - which possibly shows the striker's lack of confidence in his physical attributes. But then we saw why he continues to be such an important player for Pool as he had the presence of mind to keep hold of possession, before jinking into a position where he could pick out Ferguson to notch his first goal in tangerine from inside the area.
The skipper limped off with 15 minutes to go with a slight hamstring problem, but it didn't look serious. He was replaced by Ludovic Sylvestre who almost made it three soon after as he forced Stockdale into a decent save.
Daniel Bogdanovic - making his debut - and Matt Phillips also came off the bench with the latter disappointingly struggling to make an impact despite Paul Jewell's team becoming more fragile as the game wore on.
The win wasn't a particularly taxing one but had Daryl Murphy connected properly with one of his three chances at the back post the result could have swung significantly.
Murphy finding so much space was the only blemish for right back Alex Baptiste who put in another Vital Blackpool man of the match performance as he continues to show why the manager regards him as his best defender.
And Ollie will be raising a glass this evening as Blackpool sit in seventh thanks largely to him letting his management do the talking rather than his media outbursts that we have witnessed recently.