Ince Stoppage Time Stunner Sinks Doncaster
October 19, 20:00
A stunning injury-time Tom Ince strike gave Blackpool the points as they again struggled past an improving Doncaster Rovers.
The Seasiders turned round a 1-0 deficit at half-time to seal the three points in the 94th minute after Ince had equalised midway through the second period.
Pantomime villain Billy Sharp had given the visitors the lead in the 27th minute with Pool finding it difficult to break down Dean Saunders' side.
Ian Holloway made four changes from the 4-0 demolition at West Ham with Craig Cathcart, Neal Eardley, Brett Ormerod and Daniel Bogdanovic all starting. The most notable absentees were Ian Evatt and Kevin Phillips who both dropped to the bench.
But despite the changes, the manager persisted with Keith Southern and Barry Ferguson in midfield, who appear to be finding it difficult to strike a partnership in the Blackpool engine room.
The Seasiders were sloppy on the ball and looked sluggish in difficult conditions, allowing Doncaster to control the first half with better use of possession.
They had a focal point up front in Sharp, who was able to bring wingers Giles Barnes and Kyle Bennett into the game with ease.
Their pace caused problems for the home team when hit on the counter attack but a solid display from Cathcart, playing alongside Alex Baptiste, kept Rovers at bay.
The sides traded fairly meagre blows for the opening half an hour with no-one really looking likely to break the deadlock.
That changed in the 27th minute when Giles Barnes' mis-hit shot across the face of goal found its way to the unmarked Sharp who swept home to keep up his remarkable scoring record against the Tangerines.
Sharp has the same habit as old nemesis Luke Beckett in scoring against Pool regularly while being hated by the crowd as he played up to their chants.
The goal left Blackpool shell-shocked and they weren't able to compose themselves until the last five minutes of the half when they were able to get in behind the well drilled Donny.
And it was unfortunate that the half time whistle went with Pool in the ascendancy. Because of that, Holloway resisted the urge to make immediate changes.
However, after the break it took him just 10 minutes to shuffle the pack.
Brett Ormerod and Daniel Bogdanovic - both ineffectual - were hauled off for Kevin Phillips and new signing Callum McManaman. Surprisingly, the manager also brought of Jonjo Shelvey who had looked the only bright spark in tangerine - even after being shifted to the right hand side.
The substitution of Shelvey was met with cries of derision from the home crowd who couldn't see the logic behind the switch which saw Tom Ince enter the fray.
It still seems a strange sub even now, but little did they know the impact Ince would make in turning the game on its head.
The former Liverpool youngster needed just six minutes to make his mark on the fixture.
He picked the ball up inside the Donny box on 62 minutes and with quick feet quickly shifted it to his left half a yard, creating space from his marker, before bending a super strike past the timewasting Neil Sullivan to level the scores.
With speedy wide outlets in Ince and McManaman (the latter looking brilliantly composed on the ball and a fast train of thought) Pool were able to switch the ball better than before and committed more men into the box.
Unfortunately, moves tended to break down in the middle as Southern and Ferguson continued to labour in possession. Ollie cannot continue to play both of them together, especially at home.
McManaman went close soon after but Sharp had a fantastic chance with 20 minutes remaining to give his side the lead again. He beat the flat Blackpool back four with an intelligent run and, well onside, went one-on-one with Gilks but his shot was excellently saved by the keeper who bailed his team out not for the first time this campaign.
With fans heading for the exits and the game seemingly petering out into a draw, Ince collected the ball in the final minute of stoppage time, jinked past his man 25 yards from goal and unleashed an unstoppable left-footed strike that sailed past Sullivan into the top left-hand corner to send Bloomfield Road mad. A goal worthy of winning any game of football and one that moves the Seasiders up to eighth in the table - two points behind the automatic promotion places.
Questions still need to be asked of the manager after a suspect team selection and the way in which the team go about attacking isn't what supporters are used to and it's difficult to adapt. There seems to be a lack of urgency in possession - stemming from the stagnant midfield area - but the Pool are in with the chasing pack despite not playing anywhere near their best as of yet.