Blackpool underpar but share Cardiff spoils
September 17, 2011 - 15:00
Blackpool were at their season poorest as Cardiff dominated but failed to convert their chances in a 1-1 draw at Bloomfield Road.
It took a superb solo strike from Kevin Phillips to give the hosts a share of the spoils after Don Cowie had given City the lead just after the break.
The Seasiders looked bereft of ideas going forward as the visitors tactically out-manoeuvred Pool's 4-3-3 system.
Kenny Miller and Anthony Gerrard wasted glorious opportunities in the first half for Malky Mackay's side - who could have been out of sight by the interval.
Scotland international Miller was put clean through when left-back Matt Hill was caught out of position, but bearing down on goal the striker could only find the side netting.
Bluebirds skipper Gerrard was a constant threat at corners and Aron Gunnarsson throw ins, having two headed chances in front of the North Stand but failing to find the net.
And the central defender saw a wicked shot fizz over Matt Gilks' bar.
The only home chance of real note in the opening 45 was a Kevin Phillips header which was diverted over the bar by David Marshall. Although well offside (not spotted by the linesman), the striker did brilliantly to strain his neck and force a stop from the keeper.
Ian Holloway's normally fluent eleven were uncharacteristically quiet and nothing changed after the restart as Cardiff took the lead.
Peter Whittingham - who we have to assume had a contagious disease given the fact none of the Blackpool midfield chose to track him all game - once again found a large portion of Bloomfield Road at his mercy and he floated a cross for Don Cowie to plant a header past Gilks' left hand four minutes into the second half.
Cowie was an astute summer signing on a free transfer from Mackay's old club Watford and showed why the Hornets took a gamble on a relatively untried Scot.
Then for the second week running, Holloway's changes made the difference to the game.
He hauled off Billy Clarke, Craig Cathcart and Matt Hill - replacing them with James Hurst, Stephen Crainey and Matt Phillips, moving Alex Baptiste to centre half.
That clicked the Seasiders into action. Phillips was as busy as he's been in a tangerine shirt and linked up well with the raw Hurst at right back.
But it was not the injection of pace which brought about the equaliser - it was an old head.
Kevin Phillips pounced on namesake Matt's persistence in harrying defenders and took on the ball 20 yards out on the angle of the penalty area. Although there were other options on, the 38-year-old bent a wondrous right-footed shot right into the top corner with half an hour to play.
Unfortunately they were unable to really capitalise on their advantage - despite looking more threatening.
Stephen Crainey showed his class down the left hand side and gave more attacking purpose but a winner was elusive.
In the final 20 minutes the game became stretched but both teams lacked real quality and Pool will be delighted with a point (which sees them seventh) in a game they could quite easily have been out of after the dismal first half display.