Hotshot O’Hara delighted with first Pool goal

Blackpool's Jamie O'Hara celebrates the win
Blackpool's Jamie O'Hara celebrates the win
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Jamie O’Hara admitted a telling off from the Blackpool bench was behind his sensational winning goal against Brighton.

The midfielder curled in a 30-yard free-kick to seal Pool’s first back-to-back home wins since last March and cut the gap between Lee Clark’s side and Championship safety to nine points.

Blackpool's Jamie O'Hara is congratulated on scoring by Tony McMahon

Blackpool's Jamie O'Hara is congratulated on scoring by Tony McMahon

It was the 28-year-old’s first goal for the club he joined in November and one he was clearly delighted with.

O’Hara said: “It’s nice to finally get on the scoresheet for Blackpool and it’s even better for it to be a winning goal. It was a difficult game with the conditions.

“My previous three free-kicks were terrible and I’d taken some stick from (assistant manager) Alan Thompson.

“Some days things just don’t seem to come off, so I thought I had to make sure with that one. I hadn’t been beating the first man, and I thought that if I didn’t do better the fans would start getting on my back. I was delighted to see it fly in.”

O’Hara has been Pool’s best player for the past three months, providing much-needed quality in the middle.

His strike 15 minutes from time settled a scrappy encounter on a battered Bloomfield Road pitch, which O’Hara admits is tough to play on.

He added: “It looked like it was a set-piece game. A set-piece goal was always going to win it on that pitch. It’s really difficult to play on.

“We want to entertain the people who come and pay good money to watch us, but it’s difficult.

“You just don’t know how the ball is going to bounce. Sometimes it bounces up and sometimes it just dies.

“When you’ve got a player coming towards you, it can be difficult to judge.

“We went 4-4-2, and we just tried to turn them and play the second-ball game.

“We managed to play on the front foot, which has been a weak point for us at our place.”

O’Hara praised debutant Henry Cameron and fellow teenager Dom Telford, who made his first start at Bloomfield Road after a contract dispute had ruled the striker out of the previous three games.

The matchwinner added: “The young lads Henry and Dom did brilliantly. They worked their socks off.

“It’s not easy for young players to come in and play on that pitch but they worked so hard. They tackled and pressed, and they gave everyone a lift.

Manager Clark decided against speaking after the game, his assistant Alan Thompson doing the talking.

And he was clearly delighted with the win, only the club’s fourth of the season (all 1-0s at home).

Thompson said: “It’s a nice feeling, especially after the well-documented horrendous weekend for everyone associated with the club (a reference to the 7-2 defeat at Watford).

“It’s nice to get a result and the feeling of three points instead of conceding seven goals.”

Teenagers Telford and substitute Mark Waddington featured in the game after a climbdown by Karl Oyston over youth-teamers.

The chairman has relaxed his policy that such players could not be considered for first-team selection until they had signed professional contracts.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton, whose side are now just one place and two points above the drop zone, said the Seasiders are using the Bloomfield Road playing surface to their advantage.

Hughton said: “I think with the state of the pitch, it was either going to be a real scrappy goal that won it or a wonderful strike

“They play a game to suit the conditions, and it is always going to be the team that is able to get a scrappy goal or score one with a little bit of quality.

“Having said that, of course the lad hit the ball really well.”