Blackpool – 2
Nottingham Forest – 2
Bloomfield Road rarely seems to be a happy hunting ground for us, nonetheless over 1,200 Reds braved the trip on a Tuesday night and were rewarded with a spirited performance and the magic of a late equaliser – one of those things few things better, aside from a late winner of course, in terms of match-day experiences!
For those of us who couldn’t juggle the time off to make the trip, a nostalgic evening of listening to Martin Fisher commentate on the Reds again, deputising for Colin Fray. If you fancy an even more nostalgia-driven factoid – with Ceefax being switched off last night, Dexter Blackstock’s late leveller goes down in the history books as the last goal to feature on the archaic bringer of goal news thanks to the slightly later kick off time for our game.
With Guedioura suspended following his red card against Cardiff, Sean brought in Majewski in a straight replacement, with Jermaine Jenas taking his place on the bench – so quite a straight forward arrangement really!
Halford Ayala Collins Harding
Cohen Gillett Majewski Reid
The home side had the first opportunity of note, Crainey burst into the box down the left channel playing a neat exchange with Thomas Ince. Camp rushed out to meet him, but was beaten by a calmly finished effort which struck the post to give us a shot across the bow, as it were.
At the other end some nice play between Cohen and Sharp ended with Cohen running on to a pass in the area, the midfielder went down in the box whilst close to former Reds loanee Isiah Osbourne, but I’m not entirely convinced the shouts for a penalty were particularly convincing – even if it has been more than a year since we’ve had one!
Cox spurned a great opportunity with a rash volley off target when he had the time and space to compose himself a little better.
Forest were starting to pick up though, Sharp burst into the box and hit a decent shot which Gilks sprawled to save whilst a defender conceded a corner. From this Reid picked out Cohen on the edge of the area, his shot was blocked but the ball came back to him to nod back into the six yard area where Billy Sharp was lurking to flick the ball over Gilks and into the net.
The resulting celebration is probably something that will go down in folklore – the striker ran to the Forest fans holding his LJS Foundation wristband aloft, before promptly taking a hot dog from one of the Forest fans and taking a bite from the end of it! Classic!
So, as on Saturday – donations in to Goals for LJS please, if you’re participating!
Ayala picked up a knock which saw him substituted for Brendan Moloney – the Irishman took up the right back spot whilst Halford moved to the centre of defence alongside Collins. Brendan almost immediately had an awesome impact, clipping a cracking lobbed throughball to find the run of Billy Sharp, who got a shot away but it deflected off-target.
At the start of the second half you could feel the frustration Reid must’ve felt whilst on loan at Blackpool come out in the form of a venomous free-kick. Whilst John McGovern bullishly stated the kick was too far out to shoot from, Reidy lined it up and struck a powerful effort just wide of the post – so I guess the former skipper was probably right, but it was a decent hit!
Even after Holloways customary ‘throw caution to the wind’ when behind tactic the Reds looked pretty comfortable containing the home side – but conceded the equaliser and went behind in quick succession thanks to some fairly poor lapses in concentration. A great cross from deep by Matty Phillips was met by Grandin in the box to level from close range.
The next goal was worse, Forest didn’t get a decent challenge in despite several opportunities to clear their lines, the ball eventually falling to Taylor-Fletcher in the box to put the ball in the net with a not particularly powerful, but well-placed, shot from inside the area. To have gone from winning and comfortable to losing is always a frustration.
Having seen Holloway’s mix-up of personnel draw benefits, O’Driscoll introduced Jenas and Blackstock for Majewski and Gillett respectively to try to fashion us an opportunity to get back in the game. It nearly paid dividends when a cracking flick-on from Dex put Billy Sharp through but the striker put his effort off target.
We did have the last laugh though, Reid somehow managed to dig out a right-footed cross under the attentions of a number of Blackpool players, the ball eventually fell to Blackstock who took a calm touch before planting the ball into the net whilst the Blackpool defence seemed to be hoping for an offside decision.
A cracking result, and great to see the Reds not letting their heads drop when falling behind. Of course, the defensive lapses and indecision are food for thought on the training ground, but to have taken four points from the visit of Cardiff and a trip to Blackpool is very decent indeed – with a forthcoming trip to (we never win at) Barnsley coming up this weekend it’s great we’re heading up to Yorkshire in a positive mood.
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