Fans’ panel: The one that got away

Matt Phillips on the attack against Watford.
Matt Phillips on the attack against Watford.
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Watford at home was a game fans expected Pool to win, but it wasn’t to be, much to their frustration, despite plenty of chances and effort. Perhaps one to notch down as an unlucky home goalless draw.

DAVE WHITE

HOW we did not win that game on Saturday I will never know. It was like a force-field had been put in place around the Watford goal as chance after chance was created, and they all went begging.

It is disappointing to have only picked up a point as we need to be winning home matches against bottom half teams if we want to finish in the top six once more.

The first half, in particular, brought one of our best home performances of the season, with some irresistible attacking football; we hit the post twice, put balls across the area, but nothing would go in. It was simply one of those games – they will happen over the season.

A few players put in stand-out performances, with plaudits going to Lua Lua, McManaman, Cathcart, and my man of the match, Matt Phillips, who has deserved a goal for his efforts over the last two games, and is hopefully just one successful strike from going on a scoring spree as he did for Sheffield United.

Watford were as I’d expected them to be – a solid but limited outfit, who only ever seemed to play to catch us on the break, which they failed to do. They will finish mid-table at best this year.

That leaves Barnsley to go before the first set of matches is completed and the reverse fixtures begin. I’m looking forward to a competitive Boxing Day clash. Merry Christmas to one and all.

Man of the Match: Matt Phillips.

MICHAEL MORRISON

BORE-DRAW. That’s what they call the old nil-niller, right? And of course, there’s some truth to that statement. When all is said and done, fans hand over their hard-earned cash to see goals.

But the term ‘bore-draw’ doesn’t always do the game justice – and that was certainly the case on Saturday. In a thoroughly entertaining game, the Seasiders hit the post twice through Matty Phillips and LuaLua, and were the dominant force in a game they would have easily won on another day.

They did everything but score, and that’s the beauty of football – you can better your opponents in every vital statistic, except the most important.

On paper, we failed to take maximum points in a home game against, in all due respect to Watford, a lesser team. To those watching, we put on a display of such supremacy that really ought to send out a message to the teams around us.

With a key signing or two in January, we must surely be looked upon as one of the favourites for promotion.

And who knows, if Liverpool make a signing, we might witness Jonjo Shelvey pulling on a Tangerine shirt once again.

Man of the Match: Matty Phillips.

PHIL CORBETT

AFTER the rising sense of excitement over the FA Cup draw, it was back to the League on Saturday, in a game overshadowed in its build up by all the talk of Fleetwood.

Another frustrating draw, this time through a combination of bad luck and some poor finishing. On another day we could have won by a hatful; I suppose there is some consolation in that we finished the day slightly closer to the play-offs.

The second consoling thought is that we are playing well. I think we are not very far off being a very good team, with maybe the addition of a centre half as cover, and a big centre forward as a Plan B, could see us being a real force in the second half of the season.

We go into Christmas just outside the play-offs, and somewhat under the media’s radar, not being talked about as one of the teams who will go up, yet week in and week out, managers see us as being a difficult opponent.

The lack of interest from the national media might just play in our favour, as it has in the past. Two away games coming up pose a real challenge to us, but if we can get a few points from the games then we can start the New Year with some hope of going back to the Premier League.

I hope all Seasiders have a really good Christmas. Up the Pool.

Man of the Match: Craig Cathcart.

TOM WILSON

SATURDAY was infuriating to say the least. No matter how hard we kept swatting away at the Hornets, we just couldn’t land the killer blow in a game that miraculously finished goalless (it never happens at Bloomfield Road!)

We could have easily won the match 5-0, and it should have been wrapped up, following a dominant first half showing.

Matt Phillips was unplayable at times, and really is beginning to show his true potential. He deserves a goal more than anyone at the moment, and was highly unfortunate to see his effort rebound back off the post, following a surging 40-yard run. He really is unstoppable when he puts his head down and charges at defences.

Our favourite Congolian, LuaLua, was also unlucky to see his blistering long-range effort bounce to safety off the identical piece of woodwork.

GTF regrettably should have settled the game, but somehow contrived to flick the ball wide in front of an open goal.

I thought it was harsh to demote Basham to the bench following a solid performance against Southampton last weekend.

Overall, we can draw plenty of positives from the performance and put the result purely down to it being ‘one of those days’.

The whole team deserves credit for playing a resurgent Watford side off the park. Attentions have now turned to Barnsley away on Boxing Day – hopefully the boys can offer some festive cheer.

Man of the Match: Matt Phillips.

JANE STUART

GOALLESS draws are mercifully rare at Blackpool – and quite how we failed to score against Watford is beyond me.

On another day we would have scored three or four goals from the number of excellent chances we created, with a series of great balls whipped into the box from the flanks. Watford aided us with some panicky clearances, but the ball just would not go in the net.

I was very pleased with the performance of Matt Phillips. He looked strong and confident. and did not hesitate to shoot or cross.

With the imminent departure of Callum McManaman back to Wigan, it is reassuring to know that Phillips and Ince are more than capable of having a similar impact, tearing apart defences.

Another clean sheet is not to be sniffed at – nor is our healthy league position, as we remain nestled in eighth position in the Championship. Whatever happened to Little Blackpool, eh?

Just two games remain in 2011 – and what an amazing year it has been. Of course we cannot predict what 2012 has in store for Blackpool, but with Ollie at the helm it is sure to be eventful and exciting.

Merry Christmas, dear reader.

Man of the Match: Matt Phillips.

PETER GILLATT

THE consensus just before kick-off was that this match could be a comfortable win for Pool, and I still can’t quite believe the game finished goalless.

After starting brightly it was a dazzling run by Matty Phillips which had the crowd on its feet, only for his superb effort to cannon agonisingly back off the post.

If only he could repeat what he managed to do in a red & white Blades shirt, then Pool would be so many points better off.

Phillips’ miss just whetted the appetite, as LuaLua followed up with a similar shot, which rattled the same goalpost.

Despite a heavy pitch, the Seasiders in the first 20 minutes ran Watford ragged, as they managed to move the ball quickly and accurately, allowing the front three time and room to get behind a shaky, but resolute Watford defence.

But even when this was breached they found Loach, the Hornets keeper, on top form.

The second half followed a similar pattern with another host of chances which were not put away, with GTF and Kevin Philips guilty of missing the easiest.

This gave Watford hope as they put in an improved showing but they, too, were also found wasteful in front of goal.

Although Ollie made changes, I did feel Tom Ince deserved a run out ahead of Billy Clark. Ince’s injury time strike against Doncaster proves he’s capable of snatching a late winner, and hopefully we will see more of the youngster during the festive period.

Man of the Match: Matty Phillips.