Memory Match: A look back at Blackpool's eight-goal thriller against Everton

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Ahead of Blackpool’s friendly against Everton on Sunday, The Gazette takes a look back at a remarkable recent encounter between the two sides.
Read More
Our best pictures of Blackpool and Rangers fans from Bloomfield Road friendly

Everton 5-3 Blackpool – February 5, 2011

When Charlie Adam’s diving header put the Seasiders 3-2 in front, sparking joyous celebrations among the visiting fans, then Ian Evatt turned into Mr Elastic to quite brilliantly clear Jack Rodwell’s chip off the line, it appeared Ian Holloway’s team were heading for a long overdue three points, to finally get off that damn 28 mark and edge a little closer to safety.

Alas, the best laid plans and all that. One had to feel sorry for Holloway. At 3-2 he did what he very rarely does and made two defensive substitutions in a bid to ensure victory. Everton then scored three goals in eight minutes and Blackpool fans muttered ‘why did he make those subs?’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If he’d not made them, and Everton had won, the same fans would be asking why he hadn’t gone more defensive. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

It must have been a cracking game for the neutral though, the second half a blur of action with so many goals flying in it was hard to keep track.

For Blackpool, things are getting a little worrying.

Alex Baptiste celebrates after scoring Blackpool's first goalAlex Baptiste celebrates after scoring Blackpool's first goal
Alex Baptiste celebrates after scoring Blackpool's first goal

Four wins required from 19 games, as it was a few weeks back, sounded OK. Now it’s four from 13, which doesn’t sound so comfortable.

I’ll say it again though – the way they are playing, Pool are well capable of getting the results they need and I’m still confidently backing them to stay up.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Scoring three goals at Goodison Park in itself suggests there isn’t too much wrong with their game. They were just exceptionally unlucky to come face-to-face with a striker in the hottest of form.

Louis Saha has hit his stride in the last few weeks and he peaked on Saturday, scoring four goals, all of which were quality finishes.

Ian Evatt comforts team-mate Charlie AdamIan Evatt comforts team-mate Charlie Adam
Ian Evatt comforts team-mate Charlie Adam

That’s not to say the Seasiders couldn’t do anything about them. They should have defended better, especially late on, and there’s no doubt they need to improve when it comes to shutting up shop.

Even when the manager tried to go more defensive on Saturday, it didn’t work. Mind you, that’s the Premier League for you – sometimes the opposition is simply too good to stop, whatever tactic you try. However, throughout the contest Pool were guilty of giving Everton too much space down the left flank, and as well as Jason Puncheon played on his debut (and the lad can take so much encouragement from his excellent second-half performance in particular), he needed to give Neal Eardley more help.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As it was, Eardley had to cope against not only the impressive Russian Diniyar Bilyaletdinov but Leighton Baines, the Toffees left-back who loves to roam forward.

It was too big an ask and Everton posed questions from that area all afternoon. If opposing teams are allowed to get crosses into the box then there are centre forwards in the Premier League who will punish them. Saha is one.

It was an odd game in some respects because although the 5-3 scoreline makes it sound like a cracker, the first half was pretty dull.

With Holloway making five changes to the side which lost to West Ham (Paul Rachubka, Puncheon, James Beattie, Elliot Grandin and Ian Evatt in), Pool were a little disjointed. Everton weren’t much better.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In driving rain, which teemed down like tap water all afternoon, the home side took the lead on 20 minutes when Bilyaletdinov nipped in between tame challenges from Eardley and David Vaughan and put the ball on a plate for Saha.

Charlie Adam was guilty of conceding possession initially, his pass to David Carney cut out.

But then an equaliser. After Adam’s 38th minutes free-kick was deflected behind, the skipper drilled in a rather lame looking corner kick, a little like the effort which went straight in against West Ham. Remarkably it led to a goal again.

Evatt got a near post touch which hit the post and possibly crossed the line, before Baines cleared against Alex Baptiste and the ball rebounded into the net, definitely going in this time. The goal was credited to Baptiste – his second in the Premier League (he scored at Wigan on the opening day) on only his seventh start of what has so far been a frustrating season for the lad.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Moments later, a massive let-off as Saha converted Seamus Coleman’s cross, only to discover referee Kevin Friend had already blown for a foul in the build-up. Premature whistling from the official, and he later apologised to David Moyes, who, already wound up from last week’s very entertaining spat with Arsene Wenger, went berserk at fourth official Howard Webb.

That get-out-of-jail moment boosted Pool’s confidence – but it was deflated within 60 seconds of the restart.

A brilliant Everton move – Jack Rodwell to Baines to Saha and in – saw the Toffees regain their lead. That’s Premier League quality – three passes and a goal.

Rodwell missed a sitter, rolling the ball past the post with Rachubka beaten, before the Seasiders levelled after 62 minutes. Great credit to Grandin for winning a 50-50 (not a sentence I’ve written before). He fed Beattie and the striker’s pull-back was coolly converted by Puncheon.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Amazingly it got better four minutes later. Puncheon broke with speed and passed to DJ Campbell. His excellent left-footed effort hit the bar and Adam dived full length to head home the rebound. A rare header from the skipper, who celebrated along with his team-mates in memorable style in front of the massed away support.

What a turnaround, and the feeling that Pool were on their way to a terrific, morale-boosting win heightened when Evatt brilliantly cleared off the line from Rodwell. It was such a spectacular clearance that if re-enacted in a film it would require a stunt double.

Moyes brought on Tim Cahill and Jermaine Beckford. Holloway responded by getting Keith Southern and Rob Edwards on and switching to a 4-5-1.

Pool now looked solid - or so we thought.

What happened next was horrible. Three goals in the blink of an eye for the home side and game over.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

First Saha headed in Baines’ bouncing corner (the fact that Adam was off the pitch being treated for a head injury made it even more frustrating), then Beckford got beyond Baptiste to fire home a fine, first-time volley, before Saha secured victory by finishing off an Everton breakaway move – racing into the area and clipping the ball over Rachubka.

Poor old Paul Rachubka.

The lad waits ages for his first top-flight start and lets five in, without really having a chance with any of them.

It was also harsh on someone like Evatt, who defended really well, yet the scoreline doesn’t suggest that.

So there it is, eight goals and brilliant for Match of the Day viewers, but sickening for Seasiders fans.


Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Everton: Howard, Coleman, Baines, Heitinga, Distin, Neville, Arteta, Rodwell (Beckford), Bilyaletdinov (Cahill), Fellaini, Saha (Jagielka)

Subs not used: Mucha, Hibbert, Osman, Anichebe

Blackpool: Rachubka, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, Cairney, Vaughan, Adam, Grandin, Puncheon (Edwards), Beattie (Harewood), Campbell (Southern)

Subs not used: Kingson, Phillips, Reid, Varney