Blackpool 2 – 2 Forrest
With both clubs striving to different targets this year in the league, Saturdays match was a huge game for Blackpool and Nottingham Forest. The Seasiders, who have picked up some form in recent weeks, were expecting a bumper gate at Bloomfield road for the all ticket match. The fixture also saw former manager Gary Megson return to the club he spent just under a year with.
Blackpool - Neil Wood missed out due to suspension and was on the sidelines alongside Jason Wilcox, who had a groin strain. David Fox and Sean Taylor were both handed full home debuts. Marcus Bean passed a late fitness test to start in midfield.
Forest - The visitors welcomed back three key players into the squad after suspension - Julian Bennett, Nicky Southall and Nathan Tyson. Grant Holt and Kris Commons missed out.
In front of a strong home crowd, Blackpool were cheered on by the home fans and dominated the opening 20 minutes, with Rory Prendergast going close with a freekick. Soon after, Nathan Tyson robbed possession off Sean Taylor, only to see his shot denied by the excellent Lee Jones. Then, on 16 minutes, the ever-present Marcus Bean lashed the ball past Paul Gerrard, into the Forest net from twenty five yards after neat play by Keigan Parker and Ian Morris.
Then 'pool sat back too much, conceding silly freekicks in and around the box, which Forest carved opportunities for the seasoned defensive pairing of Danny Cullip and Ian Breckin to miss, when easier to score. The goal was coming though. Another set-piece, this time from a corner, was floated in and Breckin prodded the ball home from close range. A poor goal to give away, with neither Taylor (on the post) or Butler (the marker) covering themselves in glory.
After the restart, Blackpool came out all guns blazing and, before some fans got to their seats, David Fox latched onto a Marc Joseph throw and hit the ball sweetly into the Forest goal with ease from eighteen yards. A perfect reply. Then the turning point in the game. Marc Joseph limped off, with a suspected tweaked hamstring, to be replaced by Rob Edwards with Taylor switching to rightback. The defence just didn't look the same thereafter. More chances followed, and then the moment that all 'pool fans thought that the points was rapped up. Wes Morgan, who had already been booked, dived in rashly on Prendergast (ala Neil Wood last week), and received his second booking along with his marching orders. Though sections of the home crowd couldn't believe that high-profile referee Dermot Gallagher hadn't produced a straight red. Keigan Parker then missed a glorious chance to seal the win, but chipped the ball wide of Gerrards goal. Keith Southern was brought on to replace the goalscorer Fox, to try to contain the Forest onslaught which was to come. Jones then made another fantastic save to foil Tyson when he should have scored. The Blackpool faithful were crying out for full-time when Edwards gave away a ridiculous freekick, from which Bennett's mis**t shot shuffled it's way home for Forests second equaliser of the game and leaving the away support jubilant. A cruel blow, but one that could or maybe should have been avoided, and Simon Grayson will have told the players that I'm sure.
How many points have we lost in the last few minutes of games now? I have it standing at a massive 11, which would mean we would be eighth in the table!! Just shows how close it is this year. Without Coid for months, a leftback is urgently needed. Sean Taylor clearly isn't one and Wilcox has, and will slip up in important games. Also, hopefully Joesph won't be out too long because the defence looked lost without his much needed guidance. I still feel we'll beat the drop, but we need three points on Saturday in Milton Keynes.
Blackpool: Jones, Joseph (Edwards 53), Butler, Clarke, Taylor, Morris, Bean, Fox (Southern 78), Prendergast, Parker, Murphy.
Subs Not Used: Pogliacomi, Wiles, Kuqi.
Nottm Forest: Gerrard, Morgan, Breckin, Cullip, Bennett, Southall, Curtis, Clingan, Bopp (Dobie 64), Lester, Tyson.
Subs Not Used: Gardner, Perch, Thompson, Pedersen.
Match Report by Toronto Pool