A STAR-STUDDED Ipswich side proved no match for the Seasiders’ teamwork and spirit, resulting in three points for our fans’ panel to celebrate.
Holloway’s 100th game in charge resulted in a comfortable three points and Pool’s best start since the early 90s.
This was another in a series of solid performances by Blackpool in recent games, who hadn’t been back at Bloomfield Road in over a month, which probably contributed to the somewhat muted atmosphere in the ground. Surprisingly goalless at the break fortune shone on Pool shortly after the re-start when Billy Clarke’s sliced shot fell in GTF’s path allowing him to tap in from close-range.
It was nothing less than GTF deserved with another skilful performance, especially after was denied a stone-wall first-half penalty when he was clearly tripped in the box.
Ipswich heads visibly dropped and they looked a beaten side after Ferguson opened his account mid-way through the second-half. Despite Crainey’s absence the back four were faultless for the most part with Evo and Baptiste particularly outstanding. With Ferguson in command in midfield it was especially pleasing to see Brett being a constant thorn in Ipswich’s side and Clarke’s distribution was back to his best.
But the player for me that was inspirational for Pool was Keith Southern.
Although he has his detractors and maybe we are to blame for expecting too much from him at times you really wouldn’t want to start without him at the moment.
He gives 100% from start to finish and he once again put in another incredible shift on Saturday.
It is a sign of a good team and a successful season when a below par performance culminates in victory.
You have to feel sorry for Ipswich’s travelling faithful. Their team is severely lacking in confidence following a couple of heavy defeats to teams they probably think they ought to be beating. After we scored in the second half there was a visible shift in their players’ body language as a glimmer of hope – as a point or maybe three was in their grasp – became the depths of despair.
This is not quite so dramatically visible very often but when it happens – as it did against Forest in the play-offs as early as the first leg – we are able to take full and cruel advantage.
We, of course, are in the reverse position to Ipswich. We have seen little but success for the past few years – and yes I do consider last season a success, as we competed on a par with some of the best in the country. Therefore we know we have little to fear in the Championship as we can more than match our peers.
But with a team of grounded individuals and magnificent man management, this manifests in self belief and confidence – and not arrogance and condescension.
You can keep your Bullards and your Bowyers and your millions spent. You cannot buy what we have. The Blackpool spirit cannot be bottled and bought and sold.
We are holding a neat position just on the periphery of the play-off zone. But of course it is still only September and there is a long way to go. But it is a good start.
Man of the Match: Keith Southern
Ultimately a very comfortable three points against a surprisingly poor Ipswich side.
The first half was not much of a spectacle, but come full time we were good value for the three points.
I had hoped we could go on to get a couple more goals, but we were in control and comfortable at 2-0, which was good to see.
It’s days like Saturday that serve to remind us that we have a good team, and a solid base and that we are moving forward. There wasn’t a bad performance across the pitch, and it was thoroughly professional, without being spectacular.
We’re starting to learn a little bit more about some of the new players too. Ferguson is settling, and took his goal well. I also like Matt Hill. You have to remember that Stephen Crainey’s boots are very big ones to fill, and Hill was excellent on Saturday.
But there is still no one who has started the season as well as Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
It’s almost like he’s taken on the mantel of team talisman, and he’s revelling in it.
He’s been involved in everything that we’ve done all season, and he popped up in the right place at the right time again for the goal.
Cardiff will probably be our toughest test yet.
They will always now be a team intrinsically linked with the modern history of BFC, but come Saturday it will be a different Blackpool that crosses that white line.
We’ve had a good start, let’s hope we can continue it with another three points.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Gary Taylor-Fletcher
Going into the Ipswich game I couldn’t have predicted the result. The Tractor Boys have been destroyed in a couple of games this season – losing 5-2 at home to Southampton and 7-1 away at Peterborough – but they’ve also beaten Leeds and Bristol City.
In the last league game at home to Ipswich we narrowly won 1-0, thanks to a 54th-minute goal from Jason Euell.
This time we had a two-goal cushion, and a better performance to go with it, although our display will hardly go down as a classic.
Defensively, we played really well, limiting Ipswich’s half-chances to long shots. Ian Evatt’s block in the first six or seven minutes looked like a sign of things to come, and solid performances from the back four meant I never really worried about us conceding.
I actually had us down for a dull 0-0 draw after 40 minutes or so. We didn’t look like creating much up front and it was rather scrappy in the middle. Holloway admitted the team was shocked by the tactics Jewell’s team start with, and it showed.
The good thing is we adapted our own game at half time and it paid off. Barry Ferguson was my man of the match, and for the first time he looked every bit the replacement for Charlie Adam.
We now sit in seventh place with the potential to leapfrog Cardiff should we beat them next weekend. With both teams joint on points it’s another result I’m not prepared to predict the result of; but either way I’m willing to bet it’ll be entertaining.
MOTM: Barry Ferguson
I had expected a much tougher test from Saturday than what we got and it’s kudos to us for stopping Ipswich from playing anything like they are capable of.
Despite their mixed start to the season they have a strong side which we managed to see off in some style.
It might not have been the most action-packed game we’ll see over the 46 games, particularly in the first half, but if our prime aim is to get back into the Premier League the most important thing is picking up the points.
After a steady opening 45 minutes we had much the better of the second half and managed to put away two well-worked goals. No doubt that Daryl Murphy will have had nightmares on Saturday night after a couple of decent chances he put well wide which could have brought his side back into the game.
Everyone put in a decent shift, and it was nice to see the introduction of one of our latest signings, but for me the man of the match was our man of the season so far – Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
GTF has made a brilliant start to the campaign and his year in the top flight has transformed him into an excellent Championship player.
We have made our best start for 20 years and there remains much to shout about.
MOTM: Gary Taylor-Fletcher