THE Seasiders slipped to defeat against Sunderland, with all sorts of rumours swirling around about Charlie
With Liverpool strongly rumoured to have made a big-money bid for the skipper, and Adam staying on the pitch
for longer than usual to applaud the home supporters at the end, it promises to be an interesting next few days.
But on Saturday the result was all that mattered and it wasn’t what Ian Holloway was looking for as despite a
late penalty, converted by Adam, and some frantic Pool attacks, two first half goals from Keiran Richardson
settled the contest in Sunderland’s favour.
Richardson scored in 16 minutes, sliding the ball coolly past Richard Kingson after being sent clear by a lovely,
incisive ball from Asamoah Gyan. There was an element od Sod’s Law about the strike though: moments
earlier Richardson had booted Neal Eardley in the face - and didn’t apologise - and then scored while Eardley
was off the pitch receiving treatment. Richardson outpaced David Vaughan, who had been attemtping to fill in
for Eardley at right back.
Luke Varney missed a golden opportunity to level on 28 minutes when, after being put in by Charlie Adam’s fine
pass, his shot was saved by Craig Gordon. The keeper then pulled off a magnificent fingertip save to deny
fellow Scot Adam moments later.
Those two saves proved crucial as Sunderland extended their lead thanks to another goal from Richardson.
This time the left-footed midfielder profited from good work by Steed Malbranque before firing a low shot which
beat Kingson at his near post.
Gordon pulled off his third excellent save of the half when he leapt to his left to push Adam’s free kick behind.
The save was so good, the Seasiders skipper applauded.
The second half began in terrible fashion when Stephen Crainey collapsed in agony, his leg appearing to give
way beneath him as he landed after jumping for a header. He was helped off and replaced by Brett Ormerod.
That was within 20 seconds of the half starting. Nine minutes later Kingson had to make way, blood streaming
from a cut to his head after being caught by Bolo Zenden’s trailing foot. It was accidental but nasty, and
kingson couldn’t carry on. Paul Rachubka came off the bench - back in the first team for the first time since
Ian Holloway played his final card just after the hour when Marlon Harewood replaced Elliot Grandin.
Harewood almost scored on 66 minutes, twisting and shooting just wide after a good run by Matt Phillips.
Jordan Henderson then came close with a clever chip that just cleared the bar.
Pool battled hard but the ball just wouldn’t drop for them.
Then a lifeline.
Five minutes from the end Nedum Onuhoha was adjudged - harshly it must be said - to have felled David
Vaughan in the box. Adam stepped up to smash the penalty past Gordon, for once the Sunderland keeper not
able to rescue his side.
Harewood glanced a header wide from Adam’s corner and Gordon saved Ian Evatt’s ambitious potshot from
The Seasiders piled on the pressure at the end but there was no through as Sunderland held on for the points.
BLACKPOOL: Kingson (Rachubka 54), Eardley, Cathcart, Evatt, Crainey (Ormerod 46), Vaughan, Adam,
Grandin (Harewood 62), Phillips, Taylor-Fletcher, Varney. Subs: Southern, Baptiste, Euell, Sylvestre
SUNDERLAND: Gordon, Bardsley, Richardson, Zenden, Malbranque, Henderson, Onuhoha, Bramble,
Mahamady, Ferdinand, Gyan. Subs: Mignolet, Mensah, Angeleri, Da Silva, Riveros, Reid, Colback
REF: Lee Mason (Bolton)