At the time of writing this, I’ve had a very long day at work and am beginning to feel as if I’m going down with the flu like bug that’s doing the rounds. My joints ache and I feel a few per cent under and so I’ll keep this mercifully brief (mainly for you the readers rather than me!) Will couldn’t go to the game and so I drove up alone to his brother, Chris’ pub at Baginton from where we set off to the ground. It was a glorious afternoon on the way up and not too cold which was a change of late. Little Jack has just parted company from his tonsils and is in quarantine by order of his surgeon so he was unable to join us. Parking up was easy and it was obvious a big crowd was not expected. After a pint in the Royal George, it was into the ground where those choosy about where they sat were spoiled for choice.
The game was pretty non-descript and I’ll not dwell on it too much although it improved after the interval. This encounter was played out between two poor sides both lacking in confidence. The goals were virtually identical and came from corners to the far post where due to bad defending the scorers in each case had a free header and time to pick a spot. Blues scored theirs in time added on at the end of the first half and Blackpool restored parity about 15 minutes from time. Apparently both managers were disappointed with a draw and feel they should have won the game. Well they can’t both be correct so do they each have a case?
Lee Clark states that Blues deserved better and my response to that is ‘yes and no.’ He cites the chances that fell to Zigic, Lovenkrands and Wade Elliott in the second half. Certainly, they were excellent opportunities particularly Elliott’s that came to him six yards out, goal gaping but bobbled as he connected and the ball was in the Tilton. That was the game right there. I would agree that of the two teams Blues were more deserving of the win but they didn’t win because those chances were spurned. The one I feel sorry for was Lovenkrands who chased a wide ball in the area, side-footed it back away from goal wrong footing the goalkeeper and the covering defender before bending the ball around them both only to see it cannon off the foot of the far post. It was a classy piece of play and certainly deserved a more favourable outcome. Zigic snatched at his chance when Gilks spilled a cross and Wade Elliott scores on another day. Burke also had a good chance that he would normally hit the target with.
Paul Ince claims that Blackpool could have been two or three up at half time. I don’t know which game he was watching but it wasn’t the same one I saw. Blackpool started lively enough and Tom Ince found the side netting with a shot but the attempt was covered. Blues nearly got caught out early on when the ball was knocked in behind us and Taylor-Fletcher lobbed Butland as he charged out. Curtis Davies easily chased down the ball and shepherded it behind safely for a corner.Butland dropped a cross but redeemed himself when Taylor-Flatcher’s goal bound shot was saved from the rebound. One or two other speculative shots and crosses were pumped at our goal but that was about it. 0-0 was what the game deserved and I would add that Zigic, Lovenkrands and Spector all had passable chances to register the first goal but it was Curtis Davies who netted as described earlier.
Blues could and should have added to their tally in the first 15 minutes of the second half when the chances, apart from Elliott’s which came with a mere three minutes to go, came and went. Unfortunately, this failure to get the second goal and seal the game meant that Blackpool started passing it around aided and abetted by former Blue Barry Fergusson who controlled the midfield just like the old days despite being a shadow of the player he once was. The equaliser was inevitable and when Wade Elliott skied his shot you knew it was going to be another one of those occasions that we have had too often this season. Don’t get me wrong, Blues didn’t play badly but circumstances dictate that for the rest of the season, the football is going to be pretty direct. We have to average just over one point a game for the rest of the campaign which will give us 54-55 points which in my view will see us safe to all go on holiday and forget this season ever happened. Blackpool secretly will be far more pleased with the point than we will but we must get a couple of wins to start feeling a little more secure.
Now dear readers I am going home to bed!
The Good: Reilly’s performance which gained him the man of the match award.
The Bad: The defending for the goals.
The Ugly: The direct type of play but there is little choice with our injury situation; as long as we stay up, I don’t care.
Butland 5, Caddis 6, Davies 7, Robinson 5, Hancox 5 (Elliott 70, 4), Burke 6, Spector 7, Reilly 7, Ferguson 6, Lovenkrands 6 (Thomas 78, 5), Zigic 7
Subs not used:Doyle, Mullins, Morrison, Gomis, Redmond
Blackpool:Gilks 6, Baptiste 6, Broadfoot 7, MacKenzie 6, Crainey 6, Eardley 7, Ferguson 7, Martinez 6 (Sylvestre 57, 5), Phillips (Delfouneso 73, 5), Taylor-Fletcher 5 (Futacs 41, 6), Ince 6
Subs not used:Halstead, Grandin, Cathcart, Derbyshire
Referee: David Phillips 5: Reasonable start and gave Zigic a free kick on the edge of the area in the first half quite correctly as he was having his shirt pulled. After that he gave him nothing. Eardley was booked in the first half for a reckless lunge on Reilly. I think he was lucky that Mr Phillips showed leniency. Had the challenge occurred in the second half I suspect the card may well have been red.