Blackpool 4-0 Coventry City, December 22, 2007
Blackpool recorded their biggest win of the season against 10-man Coventry City.
Pool didn’t just win, they tonked Coventry.
Granted Iain Dowie’s team were always up against it from the moment striker Kevin Kyle elbowed Shaun Barker to earn himself a straight red card.
It was perhaps harsh, but raise your arms when you jump and make contact and you’re always running the risk of getting your marching orders.
Even so, to win 4-0, after losing the last two home games, was a joy to behold.
This was Blackpool’s biggest win in the second flight since January 14, 1978.
Back then – the last time Pool graced the top two tiers – Allan Brown’s side demolished Charlton 5-1.
The odd thing was that Brown got sacked a couple of weeks later after a dispute with the board.
We trust the same won’t be happening with Simon Grayson, not after he signed the new contract anyway. If it does Mr Oyston better lock himself in a bomb-proof bunker.
Getting flak about the lack of a south stand would be nothing compared to the outbreak of fury should Grayson go anytime soon.
A four-goal victory in the Championship is special.
It’s the largest margin of victory Grayson has overseen his side to as a manager.
The last time Pool won by four in any division was a 4-0 win over Torquay in December, 2004, under Colin Hendry.
Keigan Parker got a hat-trick that day. On Saturday the Scot couldn’t even make the bench.
But now’s not the time to talk about Parker. Now is the time to reflect on and savour the best day of Blackpool’s season so far.
Though they were helped greatly by Coventry’s one-man disadvantage, Blackpool were excellent in the way they dispatched Iain Dowie’s men.
Even prior to Kyle’s 32nd-minute red card, Grayson’s side were in the ascendancy and led through Wes Hoolahan’s penalty.
With an extra man they assumed control for the remainder of the half, briefly wobbled at the beginning of the second, but then pressed their foot down towards the end and ultimately cruised to three points. And what precious points they are.
Defeat here and it would have been a horrid Christmas. With Sheffield United and Colchester (both away) and Burnley on New Year’s Day to come, this game against Coventry was the easiest looking fixture and thus the one from which they just had to take the points.
If they hadn’t it would have been nothing short of a disaster.
Thankfully the 11 lads in tangerine responded and have at least given themselves a fighting chance of heading into 2008 outside of the relegation zone.
If they can do that, and if Grayson can then add a couple of quality players in the January sales, including a proven goalscorer, then there is reason once again to feel hopeful.
Scott Vernon might argue that he’s goalscorer that, and he’s right. He’s probably the best finisher at the club.
He came on after 84 minutes and scored 240 seconds minutes later, dispossessing David McNamee and sidefooting the ball past keeper Dimi Konstantopolous.
The warmth with which his late strike was greeted suggested the fans think he has been treated harshly by being left on the bench.
They have a point and perhaps Vernon has given Grayson some food for thought.
Pool were home and dry by then anyway.
Wes Hoolahan had got the ball rolling on 27 minutes, converting from the spot after Kaspars Gorkss had been unceremoniously felled by McNamee, who had what might be termed as a nightmare.
Five minutes later Kyle got his marching orders for a stray elbow and Coventry briefly threatened to self-implode as McNamee and Michael Doyle were cautioned for nasty challenges borne out of pure frustration.
Credit to Coventry where it’s due though and for a good 15 minutes after half-time, they gave it a real go, pushing Pool back and causing the odd moment of panic in the home box.
On 65 minutes, though, the game as a contest ended. Ian Evatt’s chip over the top sent Michael Flynn clear and the midfielder finished in emphatic fashion – his third goal in five games.
Goal number three arrived on 72 minutes. David Fox’s corner was powerfully met by Kaspars Gorkss and the ball flew into the net via the faintest of touches off a defender.
It was definitely Gorkss’s goal, the ball was going in regardless of who it did or didn’t hit.
Coventry were the very definition of a beaten team in the last few moments and after Vernon’s fourth, Burgess came close to increasing the total, shooting into the side-netting instead of the goal.
It wasn’t to be but what a lovely early Christmas present, and much better than those socks – three for a tenner at Marks and Sparks – that you just know you’re going to get from your aunty tomorrow.
Blackpool: Rachubka, Barker, Evatt, Gorkss, Crainey, Taylor-Fletcher, Jorgensen, Flynn, Hoolahan, Morrell, Burgess
Subs: Jackson, Vernon, Fox, Welsh, Slusarski
Coventry: Konstantopoulos, Ward, Doyle, Kyle, Mifsud, McNamee, Tabb, Best, Hughes, Borrowdale, Turner
Subs: S Hughes, Adebola, Osbourne, Gray, Marshall