Memory Match: Blackpool 2-1 Shrewsbury Town, 1996

James Quinn found the back of the net for the Seasiders
James Quinn found the back of the net for the Seasiders

Blackpool FC writer Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to look back at Blackpool's narrow win against the Shrews at Bloomfield Road.

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Tony Ellis

Tony Ellis

Never mind the quality, savour the points – that was the message from Blackpool as they bounced back from a first defeat in 12 games to climb back up into second place in Division Two.

The Seasiders’ ninth home win of the season was hardly their most impressive, as they had to battle throughout to establish the upper hand.

But in the end, they got just the result they needed after weekend setback at Bournemouth which finished their unbeaten run after 11 matches and knocked them down to third place.

Pool looked the superior side for long periods, certainly of the first half, against a Shrewsbury team which little more than 48 hours earlier had been knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool.

But it took a stunner of an own goal from Kevin Seabury to seal the points for Sam Allardyce’s side by putting them 2-0 ahead six minutes from time - and what a good job that went in.

For with two minutes to go, the Shrews, who had hardly forced Pool keeper Eric Nixon to make a save all night, pulled a goal back through substitute Steve Anthrobus.

The narrow end result and the barely convincing performance from Pool could hardly have contrasted more with the 4-0 romp against Swansea in the previous home match seven days earlier.

But the outcome was the same – and in the cold light of a promotion push, that is what counts the most.

It was also especially important the Seasiders picked up maximum points after falling to a first defeat in three months on the South Coast at the weekend.

That rare reverse came from a disappointing Pool show when one of the main features of the afternoon was just how little Allardyce’s men seriously threatened the Bournemouth defence.

Last night, Pool created more chances in the opening 20 minutes than they had in the whole 90 at the weekend.

James Quinn put a shot wide, Tony Ellis – back in the starting line-up for the injured Andy Watson – had a weak shot saved by keeper Tim Clarke and Ellis was narrowly beaten by Clarke to a header through by Micky Mellon.

Ellis then saw a shot go over from 25 yards while the same striker then failed to test Clarke properly again with a weak shot from a pass from Quinn.

The chances for the Seasiders continued to flow and they finally got their reward eight minutes before the interval through Quinn’s 11th goal of the season.

Ellis played the ball square out to Rick Holden on the left, Holden ran on and crossed for Quinn who chested the ball down in the six-yard box and shot past Clarke.

Not even the most blinkered Shrewsbury fan could say Pool didn’t deserve their lead, considering just how much more they had seen of the ball than the visitors.

But Allardyce’s men failed miserably to build on the single goal half-time advantage that Quinn’s breakthrough provided.

By far the best chance of Pool scoring a second came in the 62nd minute when Quinn launched on a surging run and his diagonal pass was agonisingly just too far ahead of the incoming Preece at the far post.

But apart from that, Pool failed to really make the most of home advantage and their defence, in fine form for the most part all night, had to come more and more into play as Shrewsbury threatened an equaliser.

Darren Bradshaw was called on to produce the tackle of the match in the 70th minute to prevent former Bolton striker Ian Stevens making the most of a run into the penalty area.

With substitute Anthrobus adding extra strength to the Shrewsbury attack, it was looking increasingly likely that Pool might have to be content with a single-goal advantage if they were to hold out for maximum points.

But then, with six minutes to go, respite came from a most unlikely source as Seabury planted a spectacular header past his own keeper to double Pool’s lead.

Preece set Holden free down the left but the former Oldham man’s cross into the box seemed too deep, with no Pool player near it.

Seabury was on his own at the far side of the goal and, with a header behind for a corner the only really possible intention, he ended up sending the ball sailing into the top corner.

It was just as well, as four minutes later Anthrobus struck to reduce the visitors’ deficit to 2-1 after the ball was played dangerously into the Pool box from the right by Stevens.

No Seasiders player could get in a tackle as three Shrews men played the ball to each other and Anthrobus’s strength allowed him to find the space to shoot past Nixon from 10 yards.

TEAMS

Blackpool: Nixon, Bryan, Bradshaw, Linighan, Barlow, Quinn, Mellon, Bonner, Holden, Ellis, Preece

Shrewsbury: Clarke, Seabury, Withe, Taylor, Whiston, Evans, Currie, Stevens, Spink, Walton, Dempsey

Attendance: 4,210