'Pool Overcome Latics
27th February 2007 - 19:45
A hearty resilient performance from Blackpool ensured Simon Grayson`s men came away from Boundary Park with all three points in the swag bag as Andy Morrell`s strike after 67 minutes was enough to see 'Pool home.
The Seasiders had to defend in numbers and battle against the wind in the first period as Chris Taylor, Paul Warne and Andy Liddell pressed and tested the away defensive line sternly.
Only one chance of note really (at this point it wasn`t looking too brilliant for the away following) when Paul Warne burst through the watching 'Pool midfield which left him one on one at the back with Shaun Barker (who was also watching Chris Taylor to his right) and the former Rotherham striker decided to go for glory only for his shot to balloon over the bar with Taylor screaming in anger as his position was far better.
The battle between Barker and Taylor down the Oldham left was an intriguing one. Taylor, naturally right footed, was forced to cut inside a lot whilst Barker wanted him down the line. The Oldham born winger Taylor didn`t get a sniff and even resorted at one point to knee Barker in the backside as they were chasing for the ball such was his frustration. Of course, the referee (not too dissimilar to the fat cartoon character in 'The Simpsons` - Homer) didn`t spot this unsporting behaviour and his inept display was one that angered the travelling support.
The Seasiders weren`t pressing the home side enough in the opening period, and created nil whilst down the right hand side Simon Gillett was having a poor half as he didn`t track back when defending and was clustered out when he received the ball.
At halftime, something very tragic happened. Bloomfield Bear was fighting with Chaddy the Owl in front of the 'Pool supporters and had his head ripped off, literally!
You could sense the lift in spirit from the off in the second period, when David Fox was found at the back stick (being marked by Sean Gre*an, all together now, "booooooo") by Wes Hoolahan only for his effort to be floated on top of the bar, but credit to him for out jumping Gre*an.
Keith Southern also went close, as the mighty seaside defence pressed a good five or ten yards up the pitch, which enabled the wingers to get in the game. Unfortunately, neither were at their best but still managed to create some good chances.
Then came the defining moment in the game. Paul Warne gathered the ball on the Oldham left 30 yards from goal and unleashed what looked like an unstoppable strike, only for Blackpool debutant (and a very accomplished debutant at that) Paul Rachubka between the sticks to tip onto the bar and keep the clean sheet in tact.
I say that was the defining moment in the game because it gave everyone an extra 10% - you could visibly see that - and moments later Morrell scored after a great effort by Ben Burgess who poked past Poglacomi (I`m glad he didn`t get too much abuse from us) in goal and Morrell had the easy task of beating Will Haining to the ball and tapping home in front of the Blackpool support. This sparked magical scenes in the Rochdale Road end as the Seasiders` fans went wild (the only sad thing being that two supporters were carried away by police for encroaching onto the playing surface). Morrell, who had dived into the fans, didn`t get booked, to the referee`s credit. The goalscorer was then taken off for Keigan Parker due to tiredness.
Hoolahan was booked for a petty foul on Richie Wellens, and his drinking buddy Parker (all alleged of course!) followed suit for dissent - again! Parker, in my view, was a disgrace last night for the record as he failed to show any effort, moaned and failed to applaud the fans at the end.
In contrast, a player that came smelling out of roses was Adrian Forbes. He replaced the ineffectual Hoolahan (who also failed to clap the fans). The former Swansea man went close twice as two carbon copy chances came and went. Both efforts were volleys at the back post - one hitting the post and the other a policeman`s helmet, but very close to the target as I and others around me went up for goal early - hate it when that happens!
Simon Gillett`s sliding pass presented Parker with the best chance of the night bar the goal as he had only the keeper to beat from six yards but failed to hit the target - criminal.
Referee Andy Penn awarded Oldham a freekick in the final moments and Chris Porter curled one onto the bar, much to the relief of those from the seaside.