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The Galpharm Stadium
9th April 2007 - 15:00
Attendance: 11 432
The Seasiders moved up to fourth (4th, just in case you read that wrong!) with a comfortable 2-0 win at mid table Huddersfield Town.
Another goalkeeping injury hit 'Pool; this time being that Lewis Edge had "hurt his finger" so Simon Grayson swooped to sign England under 21 international, Joe Hart and he started between the sticks. Keith Southern and Adrian Forbes came into the side and replaced David Fox (injured) and also Chris Brandon (ineligible). This meant I'd got my wish in seeing Claus Jorgensen partner Southern in midfield, but sadly they never really produced their best.
When reading the teams out shortly before kick off, the PA announcer stated in a desperate attempt to get the home fans going that Town's Frank Sinclair is their "Premiership star" and to fair to Frank, his hoofing was Premiership class all day long!
The Seasiders started the game tentatively and found it difficult to grab a strangle hold on the game in all honesty. Wes wasn't getting enough of the ball and Forbes was receiving too much, which probably was the main reason we couldn't pressurise Town's defence. All the effort Adrian puts in should be admired but he just doesn't have the quality a promotion winning side needs and a man sat behind me chanting for Danny Coid as he warmed up summed up what everyone else was thinking, that why is Danny on the bench with Forbes still out there?
The midfield was getting over ran, with the two central players being penned back on top of their back four, with John Worthington (captain for Town) pulling the strings well. He's the kind of all action tenacious midfielder I'd love to see at Bloomers as he's got an eye for a pass as well as being better than Keith when defending.
Joe Hart in goal for the 'Pool hadn't had anything to do until half way through the half when a cross came in and he flapped at the ball, but luckily for him the follow up shot was cleared off the line. This was the youngsters only mistake all game and later on he was to prove to be a superstar. Soon after that minor blunder, Hart made a fantastic reflex stop from a Mark Hudson header. Hudson is another player who is a good player at this level from what I've seen, and it's no wonder the two in midfield for 'Pool found it difficult.
That little Scotsman, Keigan Parker can win you games. I think that's common knowledge. Sometimes the ball doesn't stick up top with him, and sometimes he doesn't look interested, I think we can all say that. However, the last three games I've seen he's been brilliant! Hard working, menacing, skilful and showing a will to win. I think we're beginning to see the Parker of pre Christmas - which is vitally important going into the final few games. Well, on the half hour mark near enough, Mr Parker picked the ball up about 25 yards from goal (you'll have to forgive my possible inaccuracy when describing this, I haven't seen the goals again yet), and set off on a run. The run seemed to be going slightly side wards (I thought for a moment David Fox was on the ball, with the crab like run!). I thought he would shuffle the ball wide to Forbes (obviously then leading to a break down in the attack!) but KP didn't and kept running, inside one defender - declining the chance to shoot - and sprinted around another tackler and was 12 yards from goal at an angle. His shot was one which was stopped by someone on the line with the rebound falling to Claus Jorgensen. He strode up confidently and firmly punched the ball into the bottom corner to give The Seasiders a one nil lead, and in my opinion against the run of play.
Half Time: Huddersfield 0 - 1 Blackpool
Town were creating chances, which are reflected when reading the stats, with nine attempts to our five. Andy Booth had a great chance when he found himself all alone, but headed at Hart.
Throughout the game I felt we never kept the ball as well as we can, and allowed Ahmed in their midfield too much of the ball as he roamed. Southern wasn't at his potent best, and was outclassed by Worthington for me.
However the 'Pool wrapped the game up with thirty left. A corner from Wes Hoolahan was headed goal wards by Evatt, saved by Matt Glennon, with the rebound falling to Robbie Williams who dispatched the ball with no problems. The left back has been superb, and that's his third goal for us now.
Luke Beckett had two chances all game. The first was when a cross evaded his head by centimetres when he was all alone in the six yards out. The second when he was put through by Ahmed but his shot was deflected by the impressive Hart in goal.
Simon Grayson then made his changes, with Kaspars Gorkss coming on for Hoolahan, with Williams going to left midfield and Gorkss to left back - a good move in my opinion. Scott Vernon came on a bit later for Andy Morrell, but failed to make an impact, with Gillett also replacing Forbes.
Right at the death a Premiership quality (!) header from Frank Sinclair was tipped away by Hart. Looking at the game overall, the young keeper kept us in it and I'm left wondering what it may have been like if Lewis Edge was in goal.
A special mention for Joe Hart - who was fantastic between the sticks for us - and kept us in the game in all honesty as we were bossed by a very experienced Town midfield. I couldn`t believe my eyes at full time when we`d kept another clean sheet against a team with Luke Beckett in it! I can`t help but feel sorry for young Lewis Edge though as this would have been a chance to shine for him: when will he ever get his chance?
Keigan Parker is now recapturing the form he was showing pre Christmas, which is crucial going into the final four games and possibly three more on top of that. He`s stretching defences, and for the first goal his run was simply breath-taking. It was nice to see Claus get on the score sheet as well, as he stakes a claim for a regular place alongside Southern. The midfield two player poorly for me though, as they seemed to be far too deep and were almost on top of the back four.
One request for Saturday: Gorkss in for Jackson as the big Latvian is far more mobile than Jacko. I feel this won`t happen though, as Grayson remains loyal to certain members of the squad: Jackson and Forbes being just two.
I`d say but for an almighty mess up, we`re definitely in the playoffs now as I can`t see Swansea overhauling six points in four games, but why not second spot?