Fans panel: Super Kev is the new hero

Kevin Phillips
Kevin Phillips
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OUR fans’ panel give their thoughts on Saturday’s draw at Brighton.

TOM WILSON

When we failed to put in an appearance in the first hour against Brighton on Saturday – just as we did for the entire 90 minutes against Derby in midweek – I feared the worst.

Thankfully Ollie made a triple substitution following their second goal, which sparked a tremendous comeback. (I think this is the first time I’ve ever praised his tactics in my fan’s column... shock horror.)

Eardley’s return had a massive impact as he provided some much-needed energy from right-back. His cross for Kevin Phillips’ header was just what the doctor ordered following some poor deliveries.

Basham looked out of his depth and Matty Phillips was anonymous... I didn’t even realise he was on the pitch until nearly half-time after arriving late at the ground.

In the last two games, we have passed the ball around for fun and enjoyed plenty of possession, without any end product. Our players seem afraid to shoot.

The absence of Charlie Adam is very noticeable as he could test the keeper from distance.

Kevin Phillips’ lack of pace causes us to frequently play the ball out to the wing and cross it instead of working it through the centre.

Reinforcements in the strike department are urgently needed. If we had Brighton’s Mackail-Smith in on our side then I think we would’ve won both games comfortably.

Our defence is solid enough for this league, so it’s baffling why so much has been spent this summer recruiting players in that area instead of up front.

We surely have the funds to land a half decent striker so sort it out sooner rather than later Oyston.

MOM Derby: Gary Taylor-Fletcher

MOM Brighton: Kevin Phillips

PHIL CORBETT

There have been a couple of common themes from the two games this week. In both, we’ve had plenty of possession, but frequently in areas that were not really penetrative, keeping the ball to good effect at the back but then not stretching sides, allowing them to regroup before we tried to pass the ball through them.

Secondly, we’ve been somewhat statuesque at times, defensively. Against both Derby and Brighton, it’s been their players on the move at set-pieces while we stand waiting to react. Twice it has cost us a goal that could and should have been avoided.

At least we showed the character in the side against Brighton. After going two down at the Amex Stadium, many sides would have given up, but the introduction of Eardley and Ormerod gave us a fresh spark, both combining to good effect to set up Kevin Phillips for the first, while Ormerod had a couple of chances to score, demonstrating that he still has something to offer. Ultimately, it was the predatory instincts of Phillips that gave us a valuable point. As a role model to the younger players and as our linchpin up front, he is proving he’s not here to play a bit part.

With the transfer deadline approaching, I think we’re not far off being a decent team. With a couple of experienced additions to provide a bit of leadership and give us more potency up front, we can really challenge this season. Surely there are the funds in place to support Ian Holloway.

MOM Derby: Gary Taylor-Fletcher

MOM Brighton: Kevin Phillips

FIONA MARTIN

After the highs of the first two games, we’ve had a slightly more difficult week. The Derby game was disappointing, but in a way we learnt the most from the game. Derby came for a point, stopped us playing and left with three points. Struggling to counter that style of play is something we can take a lot from.

And the character we showed to come back at Brighton will also give us a lot of confidence. We struggled for the middle third of the game. We found ourselves outnumbered in midfield, and missing Grandin, but the three substitutions changed the game. It was a gamble from Holloway, but the almost instant impact gave us the impetus to up our game. And it was definitely about time we had a last minute goal to celebrate.

Naturally, all the talk is about Kevin Phillips. But goals were the reason we signed him. He’s doing what he was brought here to do, and quite frankly still looks absolutely top class. It is a team game though, and whilst there were some weak performances on Wednesday and Saturday, there were also some strong ones. I’m sure there were some heavy legs on Sunday morning though.

I do feel there are other goals in the team, but we haven’t quite found the key to unlocking them yet. There’s about a week left of the transfer window. I trust Ollie to know what we need, and to bring them in. Absolutely nothing about the start of our season has given us cause to panic.

MOM Derby: Matt Hill

MOM Brighton: Kevin Phillips

DAVE WHITE

Given the number of times it was done to us last season, to leave Brighton with a point after being 2-0 down was most satisfying. In truth it was not the greatest of performances and between Albion scoring their first and us scoring our first it looked like being a very long afternoon. However, it was undoubtedly the triple substitution which changed the game as Ollie brought on some extra energy.

Up until that point it looked as though the team’s long coach journey on Friday had really taken a lot out of them, as we struggled to make a meaningful impact on the game. We did see a fair bit of the ball but we seem to be missing that certain something in midfield – a player who can create a defence-splitting pass out of nothing. We do look quite solid as a defensive unit now but I, like many others, would like to see a striker and an attacking midfielder come into the squad before the window closes.

As expected, the Brighton match was far more open than our fixture with Derby last week, who played the most defensive system I’ve seen at Bloomfield Road for a long time but managed to grab the three points. It wasn’t a pretty performance to watch but we did not deserve to lose the game. However, a dozy moment in defence has cost us and Derby will feel their style of play to be vindicated.

With Crystal Palace to come before the transfer window shuts, we are just a couple of quality signings away from being a real force in this league. The signings of Ferguson and Phillips are so far proving astute and it is players of this quality that we must be bringing in before we enter September.

MOM Derby: Gary Taylor-Fletcher

MOM Brighton: Kevin Phillips

MIKE MORRISON

I know I’ll likely get slaughtered for saying this, but I’ve had my doubts about Ian Holloway in the past.

As a man, I think he’s hugely entertaining – but if I wanted to be entertained I’d go to a comedy club or the circus. As a manager, I’ve found him to be a bit one-dimensional at times, making bad decisions at the wrong time of the game and being a bit gung-ho at times where I feel we needed to be more conservative.

Having said that, Ollie pulled it out of the bag on Saturday. Without a shadow of a doubt it was his actions and thoroughly inspired substitutions that changed our fortunes against Brighton – a team that, until Saturday, held a 100 per cent record.

Don’t get me wrong, we shouldn’t have ever allowed the Seagulls to score twice against us, but the immense amount of character and bullishness we showed to come back and steal a point was awe-inspiring.

Kevin Phillips showed the best characteristics of a striker by popping up and scoring two vital goals in a game he was oddly quiet in. Apart from his age, Phillips is looking every bit the replacement for DJ Campbell.

MOM Derby: Not sent

MOM Brighton: Kevin Phillips

JANE STUART

Following a gentle introduction into the Championship, last week was always going to be more challenging, as the Seasiders faced two sides with 100% records.

Derby impressed by coming to Bloomfield Road with a plan to prevent us from playing – and they executed this magnificently, nicking a goal to win the game. They reminded me of Birmingham last season and I do not relish facing either side again this season. I never like to see us lose but take my hat off to teams who treat us with respect and win through fair means. I hope they have better success than Birmingham did last season.

We looked very shaky from the off at Brighton and I doubt if anyone could have foreseen any way back at 2-0 down. This was one of those games (thankfully rare in recent years) where you just want to fast forward to the end to put yourself out of your misery.

But we were forgetting Super Kev!

This man – nay superhero – sends fans into raptures and the depths of despair for a living. And he’s ours and it’s wonderful.

So we are sitting pretty in the top 10, where we deserve to be.

This last week has highlighted a number of areas for improvement. If we are to make mistakes and have a slight wobble then this is the best time to do it. The transfer window remains open, we have loans at our disposal and the players we already have are just as hungry as their manager to continue to grow and improve.

MOM Derby: Gary Taylor-Fletcher

MOM Brighton: Kevin Phillips

PETER GILLATT

Kevin Phillips is quickly becoming a new Blackpool legend at 38! His late equalising strike at Brighton’s new impressive Amex Stadium made the long journey home for most fans that much more bearable after rescuing a point for Pool.

On what became a blisteringly hot afternoon, a lot of credit to both sides for never letting up the searing pace from start to finish helped by a heavily watered pitch and matched by the cracking atmosphere in the ground.

Although Blackpool kept good possession as they did against Derby, it was Brighton who always looked the more likely to score with their dangerous wing play and they broke the deadlock after Craig Mackail-Smith evaded Evatt to head past Gilks. Albion then increased the lead shortly after the re-start when a clever back-heeled move following a corner caught out Pool’s defence leaving an irate Gilks no chance as Barnes stabbed the ball past him.

Ollie then reacted by making a rare triple substitution, bringing on Eardley and Brett for a disappointing Clarke and Basham whilst Sutherland replaced Matty Phillips.

It was to prove another masterstroke when Eardley found Phillips to net a great far post header to give Pool a lifeline two minutes later. Albion’s own counter-attacks were still troubling Pool who had Gilks again to thank but with Blackpool pressing right to the whistle, a Crainey corner was only half-cleared into the space Phillips had intelligently drifted into and the veteran striker was on hand to rifle home directly in front of the baking Blackpool supporters.

MOM Derby: Not sent

MOM Brighton: Kevin Phillips