Superb Pool climb out of drop zone

DJ Campbell celebrates his goal
DJ Campbell celebrates his goal
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POOL played magnificently against Newcastle but couldn’t get the result their performance merited.

At least, though, this 1-1 draw means Ian Holloway’s side are out of the bottom three and their destiny is again in their own hands. It also ends a three-match losing streak.

But more importantly it was just so much better than last week’s disappointing defeat to Wigan and will be a massive shot in the arm confidence-wise.

Ian Holloway reverted to tried and trusted, his starting 11 containing 11 players from last season and Matty Phillips. Crucially, the trio of Charlie Adam, Keith Southern and David Vaughan were reunited in midfield.

The Seasiders had 11 excellent attempts in the first half and three penalty claims.

The second half was more even but there was no doubt Pool always had the upper hand and by the end, Newcastle resorted to time-wasting tactics - they knew they’d been outplayed and were clearly happy to settle for a point.

In the first 45 minutes, Blackpool played their best half of football since beating Spurs back in February.

The old swagger was back as Holloway’s men took the game to their opponents from the off, refusing to be halted even by the shock of conceding against the run of play in the 16th minute.

Peter Lovenkrands scored it, firing a low left-footed shot past Matt Gilks from 22 yards. One again, Pool were the architects of their own downfall, Charlie Adam’s pass not reaching Stephen Crainey and Lovenkrands taking full advantage.

But the Seasiders roared back and grabbed an equaliser just after the half hour. Adam swung in a corner from the right and the ball glanced off DJ Campbell’s thigh at the front post and looped towards goal. Enrique headed the ball away but the eagle-eyed linesman made a big call, saying it had crossed the line and awarding the goal. The TV replays proved the decision was spot on. But it was close - a great decision, not to mention brave.

Alex Baptiste had a shot cleared off the line, DJ Campbell headed into the side-netting and Matt Phillips had a shot deflected over as Pool piled on the pressure.

They also had three penalty appeals, one of which looked a stonewall spot kick when Danny Simpson used his hand inside the area. Referee Martin Atkinson, stood barely five yards away, didn’t give it.

1-1 at the break, the ref booed off but the Seasiders given a standing ovation and rightly so.

Holloway’s men put their all into the second half and came close in the 64th minute when Ian Evatt and Stephen Crainey teed up Taylor-Fletcher but his header whistled over the bar.

They were even closer when Adam smacked a low angled drive which hit the base of the post and rebounded to safety.

It was one of those days, Pool just not getting the luck they deserve at the moment.

However, this was miles better and bodes well for the last four, huge season-defining fixtures.

BLACKPOOL: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, Southern, Vaughan, Adam, Phillips (Varney 83), Taylor-Fletcher (Puncheon 88), Campbell. Subs: Kingson, Ormerod, Reid, Beattie, Cathcart

NEWCASTLE: Krul, Coloccini, Enrique, Nolan (Perch 86), Williamson, Barton, Lovenkrands (Ireland 62), Simpson, Gutierrez, Ameobi, Tiote. Subs: Perch, Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor, Ranger, Soderberg, Kuqi

REF: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire)