Blackpool 1 - 0 Reading
December 3, 2011 - 15:00
Blackpool put an end to a bad week with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over in-form Reading.
Callum McManaman's tidy turn and finish after a Matt Phillips run was enough to seal the points in a game devoid of real quality in tricky conditions.
The win came after news that Keith Southern has undergone an operation to remove a tumour, while Ian Holloway will be without Alex Baptiste for a similar amount of time because of a hamstring injury picked up during the defeat at Leicester.
Jonjo Shelvey was also recalled back to Liverpool because of an injury to Lucas during the week. Despite all that, the Seasiders will be happy to be troubling the playoffs again after the tight victory.
Pool, who started with Gary Taylor-Fletcher in midfield to combat the loss of the Shelvey, began brightly but were soon playing second fiddle to a Royals side who had picked up three wins in their last four.
Adam Le Fondre spurned a brilliant chance at the near post when his unmarked header flew over the bar from close range.
Mikele Leigertwood rifled a shot over the bar, and Jimmy Kebe hit the side netting as Brian McDermott's team were able to dominate proceedings.
Simon Church had the ball in the Pool net but his header was adjudged to have been from an offside position - a decision that enraged the Reading bench.
The problems Blackpool had in the opening period were inherently tactically - as they have been all season - with the away side closing the midfield down quickly and turning over possession easily.
Le Fondre and Church were instructed to cut off supply to the home fullbacks, leaving Matt Gilks to kick direct only for Kaspars Gorkss to overcome the aerial challenges.
However, that might not have been the case had referee Brown not fluffed his lines after 13 minutes. McManaman ran clean through in behind his marker and was clearly bundled down by last man Cummings. Unfortunately, both referee and linesman saw differently and waved play on.
In truth, Pool didn't get going until the second half. Holloway said in his post-match press conference that some choice words were said during half-time and a different side came out for the second period.
Ludovic Sylvestre had struggled to find his passing range in blustry conditions but in an attempt to keep things simple, he was able to dominate proceedings.
As the front three constantly interchanged, making it hard for Reading's back four to mark them, Blackpool managed to get in behind more often.
But the winning goal came through play in front of the away backline. Phillips took the ball just beyond the halfway line and drove at the away midfield. After bypassing that line of defence, the winger found himself in front of Cummings before slipping a ball in the box to McManaman.
The on-loan winger had a lot to do but flicked the ball around the corner of Pearce before excellently finding Adam Federci's corner.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Reading. As Holloway brought on Chris Basham and Angel Martinez to see out the game from midfield, while throwing Kevin Phillips on to try and grab the second goal, the Royals had no answer.
The victory was impressive not for the quality of the performance but for the way in which the midfield were capable of keeping their shape and not making any silly mistakes.
Craig Cathcart was superb on his return to the eleven and didn't give the away strikers a sniff - particularly in the second half.
Three points see Pool sit in seventh place in the Championship - two points behind Brighton in sixth.