Writer: Paddy Feeney
Date:Saturday November 24 2012
Blackpool maintained their unbeaten record under Michael Appleton with a late fightback to earn a third straight draw against Watford. Goals from Kevin Phillips and a late strike by Isaiah Osbourne cancelled out Ikechi Anya and Troy Deeney's first half goals.
Appleton made one change to the side that earned a late draw at Bristol City, with Kirk Broadfoot replacing the injured Ian Evatt, as Alex Baptiste moved into the heart of the defence to partner Craig Cathcart. New signing Wes Thomas was named among the substitutes, alongside the returning Isaiah Osbourne.
Blackpool looked to make a bright start, forcing an early corner, but Watford keeper Manuel Almunia claimed Ince's centre, and Watford broke at pace. A through ball beat Baptiste, and Ikechi Anya slotted past Gilks to give the visitors the perfect start.
The home side failed to create any opportunities of note, with Watford looking dangerous on the break before they added a second. A long free kick was launched into the penalty area, and a defensive mix-up allowed Troy Deeney to steal in and poke past Gilks into the roof of the net.
Appleton, clearly displeased with his team's start to the game, made an early change, bringing Tiago Gomes on for the struggling Elliot Grandin, and the Portugese midfielder immediately added urgency and desire to the Blackpool midfield, leading to a gradual improvement without testing Almunia before the break.
The Pool boss made another change at the break, with Osbourne replacing the disappointing Sylvestre. Blackpool needed to make a fast start to the second half, and they duly obliged with Kevin Phillips turning home Chris Basham's cut back from close range to half the deficit and give Blackpool hope.
Blackpool pressed hard for the equaliser, with debutant Thomas introduced in place of Phillips, and came within inches of a spectacular leveller, as Gomes saw a 25 yard effort well touched over by Almunia, and Tom Ince firing a wonderful curling effort against the crossbar.
Thomas was denied by a superb save by Almunia who touched his glancing header onto the post, and the Seasiders were finally rewarded when Ince went on a mazy run, cut the ball back to the edge of the penalty area, where Osbourne swept home his first goal for the club to rescue a deserved point.
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Date:Saturday November 24 2012
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