Blackpool – 3
Nottingham Forest – 1
A game in which our hosts had an eye on ascending to the top six, and one where we – clearly – opted to experiment a bit and avoid the ignominity of having a team do the double over us, which they now have. A strange afternoon, sat in the unreserved ‘golf’ stand in which the atmosphere was strangely flaccid.
Billy predictably shuffled his pack quite a bit, with a surprise return for Joel Lynch at left back, Perch in midfield and the underwhelming strike pairing of Adebola and McGoldrick. With Garner earning a rare start flitting between up front and midfield in exchange with McGoldrick. It seems odd to ‘rest’ key players, but most of ’em were on the bench and indeed, we really required their intervention later.
Chambers Morgan Wilson Lynch
Cohen Perch Moussi Garner
Certainly the home fans were up for it, with the aid of a highly irritating drum they were a fairly constant source of noise. As mentioned above, the Forest fans in the open-roofed stand struggled to make an atmosphere both through their location and a seeming reluctance. The fans in the covered stand to our right tried to make up for it, but unusually it was a fairly home-fan dominated arena, despite the fairly low crowd.
Early doors – on a pitch considerably better than last season, but still worse than we’re used to – was positive for us. Adebola won us a corner, indeed, there was a couple of corners which – characteristically – typically came to very little in the box, although one fell for McGoldrick who appeared to have struck his shot well, but it struck a defender and the home side were able to clear.
Then perhaps the moment that changed the game, Garner made a good run into the box having evaded Alex Baptiste before being blatantly bundled over. The referee, as we have become accustomed, waved away claims for a penalty (but didn’t book Garner for simulating). A poor decision from my vantage point, but it seems we require at least four claims for a penalty before being granted one these days.
The Reds continued to make chances and McGoldrick was the beneficiary of an excellent layoff from Garner, he shaped up and struck goalward with a curling effort from and angle which was just wide. As is customary when we don’t take our chances, and indeed, get skanked by the referee, the home side now started to come into the game.
A bit of a ricochet fest ended up coming off Luke Chambers’ thigh (to cries of ‘handball’ oddly) and finding Ian Evatt in a great position but somehow spooned his shot wide – apparently due to the sadly surface. Then came the second controversial penalty claim, and this time it was given, with Coleman engineering a ‘foul’ from a completely unaware McGoldrick being enough to con the referee into pointing to the spot.
Charlie Adam stepped up and sent Lee Camp with an excellently struck penalty low to the left. It could have been a double-blow too, after Perch gave away the ball to DJ Campbell it required an excellent sliding tackle from Kelvin Wilson to prevent the trouble. The last chance of the half fell to us, Cohen threw in to McGoldrick who in turn found Adebola who somehow conspired to shoot over from barely three yards out.
The second half started with a degree of pressure from the Reds, a Cohen freekick found Chambers at the back post but his header lacked power enabling Gilks to make a straightforward save. At the other end the home side were much more incisive with their chance-taking, a DJ Campbell shot looked to be covered by Camp ’til a cruel ricochet off Cohen wrong-footed the keeper to give Blackpool a two goal lead.
Shortly after this Billy withdrew the unproductive strikeforce of Adebola and McGoldrick for Blackstock and Earnshaw. I don’t like being over-critical of our players, and I do firmly believe we’ve more to see from McGoldrick with a run in the team, but I have been steadily running out of patience with Dele’s cameo appearances in the team, I was glad to see Dex and Earnie introduced, that’s for sure.
It didn’t take too long for the Reds to get back in it either, immediately there was some pace and hassling from the front two, although neither substitute was involved directly. A Chris Cohen freekick curled a cross into the area which found Garner’s head to put it in the net. This awoke Forest who started to look dangerous, Garner, Earnie and Dex all having shots on goal.
Billy’s final change was a positive one, taking off Lynch – who I thought had played very well – for Tyson, and pushing Perch to left-back. A great chance came after Dex headed back across goal towards Garner and Earnie, the latter meeting it with a bicycle kick when perhaps leaving it for Garner would’ve been more productive. As we saw earlier, though, there can be a price to pay for not taking chances.
On a break towards the other end it was an impressively taken strike by DJ Campbell that confirmed the game for the home side who gave us an impressive show of taking advantage of fairly limited attacks. Given our own disjointedness and wasteful finishing earlier in the game, it’s hard to complain really about the result (and of course the dodgy refereeing).
Given the fact that all the other play-off contenders won, it was a result Blackpool certainly needed – they are now the only side who can make a late bid for the play-offs at the expense of either Leicester or Swansea. Although if I were a betting man I wouldn’t be placing cash on it any time soon. As before, we are in need of a point to assure us of a 3rd or 4th place finish to give us the advantage of playing at home last in the play-off semi-finals.
All in all I felt a mixture of meaningless fixture apathy and disappointment that the Reds were set-up so negatively at Bloomfield Road. But still, it was a nice day out with a mediocre football match thrown in, so I can’t have too many complaints – I’m hoping to see something more positive when Plymouth arrive at the City Ground next week desperate for points for their ever decreasing bid for survival.
Filed under: Matches |