Bad day for BFC...
Bloomfield Road, Blackpool
24th Feb 2007, 3pm
Blackpool lost their third consecutive home game against Millwall on Saturday, but it was events off the pitch that overshadowed the disappointing result...
First of all, deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the man who tragically collapsed in the West Stand before the game and later passed away. Also, here's hoping the woman in the Kop, who was knocked out by a Scott Vernon volley in the warm up, is ok and will be at Bloomfield Road for the next home game against Bournemouth. All of this occurred during an immaculately observed minute silence - from both sets of fans it has to be mentioned - for the late "Jock" Dodds who passed away in hospital on Friday evening after being taken "gravely ill" during the week. Once again, all of us associated with BlackpoolVital wish to extend our condolences to all that knew the great man - who scored 66 goals in the 1941/1942 season alone!
Within the first few minutes, we saw the first [of many!] controversial decisions when Keigan Parker had a goal disallowed for offside. This was quickly followed up by another Parker "offside" goal - unfortunately from my position high in the Kop, it was unclear whether he was definitely onside, but it certainly looked a tight decision either way.
Both decisions infuriated the 'Pool fans and by the time Millwall scored their first goal, fans were fuming. In the build up to their goal, a Millwall player kicked the ball onto Kaspars Gorkss' left arm - which was down by his side and did not move towards the ball - yet a freekick was given. From Ian Evatt's clearance of the said freekick, Millwall scored a wonder-goal through Dave Brammer from around 25-30yards out on the volley. At that time, Blackpool could - and possibly should (given a different assistant referee on the West side of the ground!) - have been 2-1 up.
On the stroke of half time, Keith Southern had the chance to level the game at 1-1. He slotted home from a neat ball from Simon Gillett, but once again the linesman disallowed the goal for offside despite Southern making a darting run from an onside position - it seemed to many that as soon as a Millwall player appealed for offside, it was given!
Andy Morrell made his eagerly-anticipated return to action following an injury setback, replacing the ever-frustrating Keigan Parker - I could be certain I heard a few boos around the Kop when he was being substituted, make of that what you will.
He immediately began linking well with Ben Burgess and nearly forced a penalty, going down under a challenge from former Chelsea 'keeper, Lenny Pidgeley. He also had a fantastic chance in the 2nd half to level the scores. The 'keeper could only clear the ball 25 yards, Morrell picked it up on the half-volley left-footed and curled it over the stranded 'keeper's head, only for Richard Shaw to fly across the goal and volley the ball clear, preventing a certain goal.
Simon Grayson shuffled the team around with around 20minutes to go with Adrian Forbes replacing Keith Southern and then Scott Vernon coming on for the disappointing Kaspars Gorkss. A 3-2-5 formation came from out of nowhere as 'Pool pushed on for an equiliser while Millwall stuck every man behind the ball and played for time whenever they could - most notably Pidgeley in the Millwall goal!
Burgess had a chance late on but it flew wildly over after he couldn't adjust his body to come across the ball and strike it with accuracy. Adrian Forbes broke free in stoppage time and attempted to cross the ball, but it bobbled into the arms of the 'Keeper at the near post - much to the annoyance of the fans in the Kop.
The team have now become consistent in being inconsistent at home which has led some fans to question whether they are truly capable of making the playoffs this season - which we all know is possible! No matter what, we have beaten Scunthorpe this season on their home turf, whereas results such as a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest midweek - while not perfect - is still a point gained against one of the front-runners for promotion.
The teams above and around us once again had off-days yesterday, Tranmere lost and we still have 3 games in hand on them - if there was ever a time to start winning games then this is the time to do it with Bournemouth the next visitors to Bloomfield Road, quickly followed on the Saturday of the same week by Brighton.
As Tony "PA Guy" Parr said before last week's game with Bristol City, this is the "Business End" of the season and with so many crucial games coming up, wins are needed away from home - especially as the Bloomfield Road pitch isn't helping our "total football" style of passing we have enjoyed so much this season.