A look back at the last time Blackpool took on Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium ahead of Carabao Cup encounter

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With Blackpool due to take on Stoke City in the first round of the Carabao Cup tomorrow, The Gazette has taken a look back at the last time the Seasiders made the trip to the bet365 Stadium in 2010.
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Well, Stanley Matthews couldn’t have it all his own way both of his teams couldn’t win.

And I dare say, despite the fact his ties with Stoke are arguably stronger than his Seasiders links, he would have been pleased Blackpool and their brand of football came out on top.

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DJ Campbell scored the all-important winnerDJ Campbell scored the all-important winner
DJ Campbell scored the all-important winner

Stoke do what they do and it is effective. Tony Pulis has done a terrific job. But how fantastic that the thrilling passing game implemented by Ian Holloway, playing two wide men in a system that would have suited Matthews down to the ground, won the day.

Three more terrific points taking the tally to 22 before Christmas. Another 10 to 15 could be enough for survival. What a lovely feeling.

Mind you, a word of warning. Burnley had 20 points at this stage last season and look what happened to them.

Holloway is loving every moment of this season, enjoying proving the punters wrong every week.

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In fact, it makes one wonder how much longer his team can keep being branded underdogs, for they are clearly not inferior to most teams in the division.

The pessimists might point out there are only six points between Pool and the drop zone. True, but the gap between Pool and Tottenham, a team tipped by some for the title, is even less: a win and a draw. That’s some going.

And what about Pool’s away record? Four wins from eight games on the road. Manchester United, with their sorry-looking one away victory, would kill for a record like that.

But enough of the bragging, let’s return for Matthews for a moment, for the day was dedicated to him.

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Before kick-off, an emotional montage of clips was played on the big screen and outside the ground a new lectern was unveiled, alongside a statue of the great man.

Matthews was a true legend at his hometown Stoke, and also at Blackpool, where he won the FA Cup and was named the first European Footballer of the Year.

Matthews was so good his boots are still worth a fortune. At a recent auction, the pair he wore in the 1953 final sold for a cool £38,000.

Matthews was never booked in his career, never drank, and used to rise early for a pre-training run.

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Such an ultra-professional, it makes one wonder what Matthews would make of Stoke’s current right winger Jermaine Pennant, who in 2005 became the first footballer to play a match wearing an electronic tag he was on probation following a drink-driving conviction.

The upside, of course, is that the standard is perhaps better than ever, and there are still some terrific pros around.

Few are better than David Vaughan, who was simply outstanding in this match. Such was his workrate, it was exhausting to even watch it from the stand.

Vaughan’s endeavour and unselfishness is the perfect foil for Charlie Adam, who can then do the fancy stuff. They make the perfect double act and it can only be hoped it is still intact come the start of February.

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There were fine performances all over the pitch. Richard Kingson was great in goal, despite the enormous amount of pressure he was under, as Rory Delap’s famed missile-style long throws flew into the Blackpool box.

Such an effective tactic and the Seasiders, unlike many other teams, did well to keep them out.

The back four deserves most of the credit for that. All were outstanding, with Craig Cathcart and Ian Evatt, in particular, repelling all that came their way.

Luke Varney won so many headers he probably had to take a packet of Solpadeine at the end, while Gary Taylor-Fletcher, the footballer who has risen from Conference to Premier League, had a fine game and was only denied a goal by the crossbar.

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Then there was DJ Campbell, another to have risen from non-league, who deserved his goal. He foraged tirelessly throughout and showed some wonderful skill.

His goal was much-needed on a personal front, because a failure to hit the back of the net in recent weeks (especially at Bolton) has been just about the only thing missing from his game.

The breakthrough arrived a couple of minutes after half-time. After a good move started by Taylor-Fletcher, Adam exchanged passes with Varney and whipped in a shot, which was poked in at the back post by Campbell.

It was his third of the season, all away from Bloomfield Road. It was just surprising this was the only goal of the game, for both teams had chances during what was an entertaining encounter.

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Stoke hit the woodwork on three occasions. Ricardo Fuller’s curling first-half shot came back off the crossbar with Kingson beaten, as did Matthew Etherington’s free-kick after the break.

Right at the death, the home side suffered further frustration when Delap’s shot smashed against the upright.

But although Pool were fortunate not to concede, don’t get the idea this victory wasn’t deserved. It was.

They had chances galore and were also twice denied by the bar; Taylor-Fletcher’s 66th-minute header from Adam’s deep freekick and Matty Phillips’ cross-cum-shot with his first touch after coming off the bench.

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That substitution was important. It came in the 80th minute and showed lessons had been learned from Bolton.

At the Reebok Stadium, Holloway had made three defensive changes towards the end as the Seasiders tried to hold on to a 2-1 lead. It didn’t work. On Saturday, he tried a different approach and brought on Phillips. It worked a treat.

The Seasiders hung on and the celebrations were raucous. The only downside, the harshest of bookings for Charlie Adam, which rules him out against Tottenham.

Although he’ll be missed on Sunday, it is a chance for someone else to step up to the plate. Whoever is selected will come into a hugely confident team, which rightly believes it can and will stay in the Premier League.


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Stoke: Begovic, Collins, Huth, Shawcross, Wilkinson (Whelan), Delap, Whitehead, Etherington, Pennant (Tuncay), Fuller, Jones (Walters)

Blackpool: Kingson, Eardley, Cathcart, Evatt, Crainey, Vaughan, Adam, Grandin (Phillips), Varney, Taylor-Fletcher, Campbell