Kevin Phillips Beauty Beats Millwall
November 5, 2011 - 15:00
A Kevin Phillips goal minutes after coming on as a substitute gave Blackpool back-to-back wins as they beat Millwall 1-0.
The veteran striker was only on the pitch for three minutes before hitting the winner. Phillips swivelled on the edge of the box and unleashed an unstoppable swerving effort past David Forde in the away goal.
Ian Holloway made just the one change from Wednesday's demolition of Leeds United and that was a forced one - the suspended Ian Evatt replaced by Neal Eardley.
That meant Alex Baptiste moved across to the centre of defence. There was little difference in performance levels, with Baps putting a man of the match display in once again.
The visitors, who had scored 10 goals in their last three leading up the match, were easily stifled by the aforementioned Baptiste and partner Craig Cathcart. Front man Darius Henderson was the victim of a shrewd home offside trap all afternoon - helped by the apparent pace running throughout the back four.
With a solid defensive base, the Seasiders were able to retain possession, pressing and probing the away side - who put 10 men behind the ball for the majority of the 90 minutes.
The manager has struck a formula with his midfield of Ferguson, Southern and Sylvestre - the latter impressing hugely on only his second home start for the club.
But all the post-match reaction on internet messageboards will be about the impact Lomana LuaLua has made on the team.
The former Newcastle United attacker has shown over the last four days he still possesses the skill and presence of mind to be a threat in the Championship. Although nowhere near fully fit (as could be seen after 40 minutes when he allowed the game to pass him by in order to conserve energy) LuaLua is a constant menace to defenders with his tricky dribbling and low sense of gravity.
Despite playing well and controlling the first half for large parts, Pool didn't have too many chances. The closest they came to a goal was a 20-yard drive from Keith Southern that stung the palms of Forde.
And after the break, Forde took it upon himself to entertain the crowd even more as he consistently slipped on the watered grass when clearing his lines.
In fairness, the goalkeeper was rarely troubled after the break until Holloway made his first and most decisive substitution of the game. Keith Southern, who had run tirelessly all game, gave way for Phillips.
The striker dropped into midfield for his first couple of minutes but when the front four had regained the shape the manager was after - KP central - the 38-year-old's eye for goal was devilish.
Callum McManaman drifted infield and fed a ball into Phillips just outside the area. He still had an awful lot to do, but with his back to goal pushed the ball to his left, swivelled and sent a wicked right-footed dipping effort past Forde to make it 1-0.
The Seasiders still pressed but failed to create many more chances as Kenny Jackett's Millwall attempted to find a way back into the game.
They almost had their equaliser as James Henry, a 65th minute sub, fired a shot straight at Matt Gilks before the goalkeeper foiled the same player as he attempting a lob when running clean through.
Ollie made the midfield more sturdy with Chris Basham and Angel Martinez replacing the visibly tiring LuaLua and Sylvestre.
Basham particularly looked every bit the central midfielder as he got amongst the away attackers and stopped play developing high up the pitch.
It was all about keeping the ball for the final 10 minutes and although the Lions threw plenty of balls into the home box, Blackpool were able to keep their shape and defend amicably to avoid a late equaliser.
In fact, they should have won by more as Phillips missed a good chance on the volley from 12 yards but his effort hit the ground before clipping the post on the way out for a goal kick.
It is the first back-to-back wins the Tangerines have secured since the opening fortnight of the season and a result that places them in 5th place in the division. Everyone at Bloomfield Road goes into the international break all smiles.