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Blackpool 4 Wigan 1 - full match report

IT is fair to say that Roberto Martinez and Ian Holloway had very different upbringings.

Martinez hails from the Spanish town of Balaguer in the province of Lleida, famous for its fruit-growing industry, in particular pears and peaches.

Holloway comes from Bristol, which isn't quite as exotic and where the only peaches come in Del Monte cans from Asda.

But both have one thing in common – a desire to play attractive, exciting, attacking football.

By the looks of it Holloway's Blackpool team are getting the hang of it faster than their counterparts at Wigan.

This was terrific stuff, bringing a smile to the face of everyone inside Bloomfield Road (aside from the rather cheesed off folk on the east side of the ground) and probably confirmed once and for all to Holloway that he has done the right thing in heading up North and taking charge of the Seasiders.

Proud Bristol lad that he is, Holloway will know his city is the birthplace of Cary Grant.

An interesting chap, Grant was actually christened the slightly more wordy Archibald Alexander Leach.

He didn't have the best of upbringings, his father placing his mother in a mental institution and telling young Archibald she had "gone on a long holiday".

Archibald went on to join a stage group and tour the United States (presumably hoping he might bump into his mum sunning herself on a Los Angeles beach…), eventually having some success on Broadway and being signed up by Paramount Pictures. He changed his name and the rest is history.

The point of that tale is that there's a statue of Grant in Bristol.

If Holloway can bottle last night's performance and reproduce it on a regular basis, there'll be one of him in the Fylde before long.

What a night and – after four successive draws, and up against Premier League opposition – who would have thought it?

Wigan were given a walloping. Even Manchester United couldn't score a first-half goal against Martinez's men. Pool smashed three.

And all this despite the Pool manager making seven changes. Weaker squad? Pah, you're having a laugh.

As the Seasiders tore their Premier League opponents apart, Martinez could only watch in motionless horror.

His dugout was opposite the Wigan fans in the east stand and the Spaniard must have been squirming with embarrassment as several supporters started leaving the ground as early as the 32nd minute when Pool scored their third.

A shame for Martinez, who, in mitigation, had made nine changes to his starting line-up. He is a dignified and very likable footballing man.

But for Holloway this was dream-like stuff and well deserved too.

His team looked impressive throughout the pre-season and have deserved to win at least two, possibly three if you count Watford, of their opening four matches.

In each game they've played, they have had bags of possession and have threatened to score but not quite been able to do it. That's why we've had draws rather than wins.

Against Wigan they turned the possession into goals, thanks to speed, movement and some fine finishing.

What with the new south stand going up apace – there are now nice tangerine seats in the south-west corner and some fancy side panelling at the far end – it all adds to the feelgood factor flooding the club at the minute.

And yet a victory like this didn't seem possible when the team was announced.

It wasn't that it was a bad 11, far from it.

It was just that there were wholesale changes from the 11 which drew at Vicarage Road on Saturday, and that usually results in a less cohesive, less effective performance.

In came Matt Gilks, Rob Edwards, Al Bangura and Ishmel Demontagnac, Ben Burgess, Brett Ormerod and Billy Clarke. All excelled.

Demontagnac deserves the greatest praise, producing an explosive performance which began with a goal three minutes and 48 seconds after kick-off.

He has pace to burn, a good touch and by the look of it a sweet left peg too. Fed by Burgess, he clattered a shot which beat Mike Pollitt before the Wigan keeper had time to react.

Ben Burgess's finish for the second goal on 19 minutes was no less welcome if not quite as emphatic.

Charlie Adam supplied the pass but with Burgess clean through and the crowd urging him to take it further, the striker chose to shoot early.

Whether his effort was brilliantly placed or it was just rank poor goalkeeping (a bit of both probably), the ball squeezed into the bottom corner.

It was 3-0 and pretty much game over by the 32nd minute. Billy Clarke darted into the area only to be comprehensively felled by centre back Paul Scharner.

Skipper for the night Adam grabbed the ball and refused to let go of it when Clarke and Burgess begged to take the penalty.

It was almost humble pie time as Pollitt leapt to his left to save Adam's spot kick, but the midfielder had followed his shot and rammed home the rebound.

It was at this point that some visiting fans left – and several of the Wigan players looked like they felt joining them.

Defensively, in particular, the Premier Leaguers had been very poor, giving Pool way too much time and space.

Perhaps they needed a Bangura in their side. The newcomer sat in front of the Seasiders back four and mopped up any loose ends. It was one reason why Pool looked so strong at the back. Rob Edwards also excelled.

Eight minutes into the second half, the only real negative of the night.

Demontagnac pulled up with a hamstring strain and had to limp off. Bad news for a player surely on the verge of forcing his way into Holloway's first team plans.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher replaced him and, perhaps spurred on by the knowledge that he suddenly has serious competition for his place, scored a beauty on 66 minutes to make the game safe.

Adam was the architect, supplying a nice pass, but Taylor-Fletcher's finish was coolness personified, leaving Amaya on his backside before dispatching a right-footed shot past Pollitt with the minimum of fuss.

Pool should have scored more but Alex Baptiste headed over from close range and Brett Ormerod didn't get the goal his performance merited, missing a late one-on-one chance.

Then some bad news. A pitch invader in front of the North-West corner.

Was this going to be another West Ham-Millwall?

Not quite. Just a very happy bloke dancing on the pitch with his jeans round his ankles, giving several members of the crowd a good eyeful before being escorted away by the stewards. No damage done, just some harmless hi-jinks.

A head injury to Alex Baptiste meant Pool played the final few minutes with ten men.

Wigan took advantage, scoring a meaningless consolation at the death when defender Amaya headed in Ben Watson's corner. It was last kick – or head, to be more accurate – of the game.

A tremendous performance, several so-called fringe players well and truly giving the manager something to think about before the weekend home game with Coventry.

If Holloway gets a win in that one, it will put the club in perfect spirits heading into the two-week international break and will make it a terrific start to the campaign.

POOL: Gilks, Eardley, Edwards, Baptiste, Crainey, Bangura, Adam, Clarke, Demotagnac, Ormerod, Burgess. Subs: Rachubka, Southern, Evatt, Vaughan, Taylor-Fletcher, Euell, Almond

WIGAN: Pollitt, Edman, Amaya, Scharner, Watson, Scotland, Sinclair, Boyce, McCarthy, Diame, King. Subs: Kingston, Won-Hee Cho, Thomas, De Ridder, Rodallega, Bouaouzan, Figueroa

REF: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)

ATT: 8,089 (1,393 visitors)

 
 
 

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