Fans’ panel: Late pain yet satisfaction

The Blackpool team congratulate Callum McManaman
The Blackpool team congratulate Callum McManaman
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It’s not often that taking a point away to a table-topping side who had won every previous match on home turf this season will leave our fans’ panel with mixed feelings ... but that was the case at Southampton on Saturday.


Most of us would have taken a point before the game, but with their equaliser coming so late, it felt disappointing leaving the stadium.

Having dropped late points against Birmingham and Southampton, we have to hope they don’t come back to haunt us as they did last season.

Despite Southampton being top of the league, we were able to match them stride for stride.

I thought they were not unbeatable, and that their home record had to come to an end eventually, and we came so close to doing just that.

It might be said that their late equaliser was coming but it was still a real kick in the teeth.

Rickie Lambert has proved himself to be a deadly finisher at this level, and he wasn’t going to pass up that chance.

Ollie may have thought that the five added minutes was excessive, but I can only agree up to a certain extent – the minimum I was expecting was four – and at any rate the goal came within three minutes.

We can draw a line under this one now, and we head back to Bloomfield Road for a game with Watford.

A victory on Saturday would be an excellent present as we head into the hectic festive period.

Man of match: Callum McManaman


With both teams high on confidence, Saturday’s match could have gone either way, and the result was a pulsating encounter, which underlined Blackpool’s ability to compete on a par with the best in the Championship.

Both Blackpool goals were enjoyable for different reasons. Basham clearly enjoyed his power header and it is good to see yet another name on the scoresheet.

While Southampton would surely suffer without their 14-goal hitman Rickie Lambert, we continue to score goals from all over the park.

And while Matt Gilks is right at the top of his game, it was clear from early on that Bialkowski in the home goal was not at ease at all.

Even from the perspective of a Seasider, it was almost painful to watch at times – not that this stopped us laughing heartily at our second goal.

But this is the time of year for giving – and we gifted Southampton a late, late equaliser.

Perhaps we were frightened to tackle and give away a penalty, but with the benefit of hindsight,we might have done things differently.

However, we always learn from our mistakes, so it is another lesson learned – and another point gained.

Man of match: Callum McManaman


On the way to Southampton, we were confident that we’d get something from the match.

Records like theirs, with 21 straight wins, are there to be shot at, and I always think that we are the type of team to cause an upset when labelled underdogs.

So it proved, with Blackpool more than matching Southampton, aided and abetted by a shocking goalkeeping performance from Bialkowski.

There is an argument to be made that we were only behind in the first place through our own mistake, Eardley caught on the ball ultimately leading to Cathcart deflecting it into his own net past Gilks, who would probably have saved the initial effort from Lambert.

Gilks did make a couple of great saves, but equally, McManaman and, in particular, Matt Phillips, were causing their defence major problems every time we went forward, and Phillips was very unlucky not to score after a great run in the first half.

All in all, a good point, but frustrating not to come away with all three due to a very late equaliser.

We’ve now played all bar Cardiff from the top 10 away from home, which in the second half of the season, could work in our favour.

Man of match: Matt Phillips


We’ve already seen this season that not many away teams leave St Mary’s with anything, but I had a good feeling before Saturday’s game.

Indeed, we put in an excellent team performance, and although a point was probably a fair result, it was just a shame we couldn’t hang on late on.

Southampton are a very good side, and the fact we matched them tells you how much we’re improving.

Of course, we were aided by some comedy goalkeeping, but you need to take advantage of these things.

On the plus side, Chris Basham put in easily his best performance in a Blackpool shirt, Ferguson and Sylvestre are really starting to control matches, and Matt Phillips had his best game of the season. He’s such a handful when he runs at people, and needs to be given the freedom to do that – it’s what he’s best at.

A word, too, for Gary Taylor-Fletcher. He remains the one player that the majority of what we do goes through, but he’s having to play three or four different positions a game – sometimes two at once, and it’s a tough task. He’s covering every blade of grass on the pitch, and for all that he deserves credit.

Man of match: Chris Basham


Saturday’s result has left me a little confused – I really don’t know how I feel about the game.

On one hand, I want to scream and shout about how we dropped two extremely valuable points by conceding yet another late goal; on the other hand, I want to praise the team for being the first to hold Southampton to a home draw for 21 games.

While the Saints were lucky in getting an equaliser so late, we were fortuitous in scoring our second goal.

A rather weak shot, spilled by Massimo Taibi, sorry, Bartosz Bialkowski, meant we were in front.

Football has a way of punishing teams for dominating possession but failing to score goals – and when Bialkowski let Macca’s pretty run-of-the-mill shot go through both his arms and his legs, it looked as though I would be proven right.

That wasn’t the case but, all in all, I would have to say I’m quite happy with the point. It leaves us in a good place in the league, and any Championship team would be delighted to draw at St Mary’s.