Blackpool 1-0 Millwall ~ Match Report

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Blackpool away; it just has to be done, doesn’t it? The Mecca of the north, so we are told by the great and the good and it is a reasonable excuse to take a day off work on a Friday, get the Bonemobile loaded up with MrsB and Del & Lin and head towards the golden mile for a short break by the seaside to watch the Lions pit their collective wits against the ex premier league upstarts.

Ah Blackpool, In 1881 it was becoming a booming resort with a population of 14,000 and a promenade complete with three piers, a myriad of fortune-tellers, numerous public houses, trams and donkey rides, wall to wall fish-and-chip shops and theatre’s galore.

It hasn’t changed much…well they added a tower a few years later but it hasn’t felt the need to change since then. It is a popular resort for most northerners so you can understand why it hasn’t changed. The locals are your typical ey oop types with fags drooping out the corners of the mouths as they stuff chips with gravy into their fat, dribbling gobs as they shout their puerile conversations at each other as they wobble along the road with vast expanses of puffy flesh hanging over the tops of their grey, track suit bottoms, their grease filled hair slapped down tight on their potato shaped heads…and don’t get me started on the blokes…

The football team is doing quite well again though and with Ian “mad as a march hare” Holloway at the helm they recently thumped Leeds 0-5 at Elland road so it was with a little bit of trepidation that we finally made our way to the stadium to find that Mr Jackett had decided to stick to his guns and field an unchanged side yet again.

So, just for the record, we had Forde in goal, Dunne, Robbo, Ward and Smith at the back, Feeney, Trotter, Abdou and Howard in midfield with Henderson and Simpson the front-runners.

Our recent run of form has been encouraging but from the moment Referee Haines started the game we seemed to be slightly off the pace. We were backing up and Blackpool looked a little bit sharper on the ball.

Forde was tested early on with a 20 yarder from Southern and managed to push the ball round the post for the first of many corners and again it was Fordie to the rescue as the corner went over to the far post where it was headed goal wards only for the Lions stopper to save well.

We had a bit of possession but we began to rely on giving the ball back to Forde and letting him aim for Henderson and although it kept the game flowing it was notable that the home side rarely if ever adopted the same tactic.

They played the ball out from the back with good effect and we had to be at our very best to defend against them.

Southern fired another longish range effort over the bar and then Lua Lua had Forde making a pretty decent save from a shot that looked like it was in all the way.

Mr Jackett made a subtle tactical change to relieve the pressure by bringing Simpson back into the midfield on the right, moving Feeney to the left and plonking Howard in the middle leaving Henderson as the lone striker and we looked better for this change.

It wasn’t all one way traffic now though and we did threaten the home side when Feeney clipped over a neat corner kick that saw Henderson get to the ball first but his header was blocked and then shortly after Feeney had a glimpse at goal but skewed his shot well wide.

Howard, having a pretty anonymous game, got involved with about ten minutes of the half left when he also had sight of goal after being put in by Trotter but chipped the ball high and wide of the target.

The first half ended as it had begun with Forde making a comfortable save from a shot from distance by Shelvey.

It was a tough first half for the Lions but they worked hard and kept the Blackpool attack at bay. They left the field to a decent round of applause from the 1200 odd travelling fans.

The second half started with no changes for the Lions and we were holding our own albeit mildly under the cosh still and we didn’t really look like conceding but around the hour mark the dreaded Blackpool substitution took place as they replaced Southern with Kevin Phillips.

It took Phillips all of three minutes to punish us as he was given too much room to manoeuvre on the edge of our box and he swivelled and hit a fabulous strike that Forde gallantly threw himself at but was never going to get anywhere near it. 1-0.

This set back did not go unchallenged for long as Mr Jackett made an almost immediate change, bringing on Henry for Howard to try and give us a bit more oomph in midfield and it almost paid off as Henry latched on to a Simpson pass and hit a first time shot that was deflected to Henderson whose follow up shot blocked and the ball went out for a corner.

Mkandawire replaced the hard working Abdou and McQuoid replaced Simpson with 15 minutes to go and we did have a go at getting an equaliser whilst making sure that Blackpool were kept at bay.

Feeney crossed a ball to Henderson who managed to tee it up for Trotter but the big midfielder just couldn’t get the ball down quick enough and his hurried volley went well over the bar.

Phillips was prowling around the edge of our box like a hungry shark and he almost got his second with another twist and turn shot that went just past the post, much to our relief.

We thought we had got the equaliser as the clock was ticking down when James Henry burst through on the right side of their box and hit a sweet, sweet shot that was brilliantly saved by Gilks in the Blackpool goal.

There was even time in the last minute for Robinson to miss a golden opportunity from barely ten yards out as he hooked his shot high over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

And so the wining streak was finally over as referee Haines blew for full time and in all honesty I would have to say that they were better than us and the 1-0 result was probably about as fair as it could be.

But we didn’t disgrace ourselves, far from it and Blackpool knew they had been in a game and we knew we had met our match.

We left the ground and spent the rest of the day doing the rounds along the promenade reflecting on what might have been, not too disappointed with the result but disappointed enough to think we were close to getting a least a hard fought draw.

The international break is now with us and the last time that happened our fortunes changed dramatically and we can only hope that the same will again apply and the lads come back rejuvenated and ready to go on another run of winning games.

So next up we are home to Bristol City and it is being shown on Bastard SKY TV on a Sunday.

See you all there!
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