Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to take a look back at Blackpool's dramatic 3-2 win against Watford on January 23, 2010.
When a manager risks the wrath of the fans by spending his week telling them to pull together and support the team, it’s not ideal to be 2-1 down in the 88th minute and heading for another morale-sapping home defeat.
Remarkable then that by the time the full-time whistle sounded, you’d have been hard pressed to find a Blackpool supporter without a smile adorning their face (apart from the ones who left early that is) after a thrilling finale which breathed new life into the Seasiders’ promotion charge and left Bloomfield Road ecstatic.
What a game! It represented everything good about football, and the dramatic end to the contest is one of those things that happens every blue moon and is thrilling to behold.
The improbable manner of victory could also have a real impact on the way the season pans out.
Defeat in this match and one could almost have heard the sound of a bubble bursting.
As it is, the way in which the three points were won leaves the players buzzing and rejuvenated heading into one of the busiest periods of the season.
It was rather ironic that Ian Holloway had to watch it all from the director’s box rather than the dugout.
Serving the first of a two-match touchline ban, the Seasiders boss sat next to his wife in the posh seats.
But all the supporters are concerned with is the fact the Seasiders have finally broken their mini-run of poor results at home and are back on track. And how they deserved it!
They played some real good stuff throughout and had 25 shots at goal.
Alas – and the sole reason Blackpool were behind late on – Watford had the best player on the pitch in goalkeeper Scott Loach, who had one of those afternoons that can be labelled inspired.
Loach was more supple than Houdini, stretching this way and that to deny Blackpool on countless occasions. He made at least three top class stops and if Fabio Capello needs another keeper to take to the World Cup it maybe that Loach (a regular in England’s under-21 side) comes into the reckoning.
Such was Loach’s brilliance that come the final whistle it was difficult not to feel sympathy for the keeper – no way did he deserve to concede three, or be on the losing side.
With Holloway making three changes from the side which lost to Sheffield Wednesday in midweek (Keith Southern, Barry Bannan and Gary Taylor-Fletcher back in the line-up), Loach made his first blinding stop in the sixth minute, arching to his left to tip over Charlie Adam’s header.
He pulled off an equally good stop from Southern’s header moments later before Pool did beat him on 17 minutes.
It was scruffy – Eardley’s looping cross, Adam challenged with a defender and reacted first to the loose ball, prodding it past Loach from close range.
Goal No.12 for Adam – for Blackpool fans, the end of the transfer window can’t come soon enough. Forget worrying about who the club brings in, keeping Adam is pretty much all that matters.
Pool were dominating but couldn’t score a second. And as usual it came back to haunt them. Alex Baptiste and Eardley failed to prevent Helguson wriggling free on the left byline. He put the ball on a plate for Henri Lansbury – the on loan Arsenal midfielder beating Paul Rachubka from six yards.
Adam and Southern – the latter on top form – came close before Loach made a terrific double save at the start of the second half, blocking Eardley’s shot and Ormerod’s follow-up.
Baptiste headed over, Gary Taylor-Fletcher hooked a shot wide and Vaughan tested Loach with a low shot after bursting into the area. Adam shot from 30 yards – cue another cracking Loach save.
Ben Burgess and Ishmel Demontagnac came off the bench to add more firepower and see if they could beat the boy wonder Loach.
But Watford had a couple of good openings themselves, Rachubka making two wonderful stops from Lansbury. Pool didn’t heed the warning. With 11 minutes left, Manchester United loanee Tom Cleverley exchanged passes with John Eustace and scored from 10 yards. Great move, fine finish.
Despondency gripped Bloomfield Road, even PA man Tony Parr urged the fans to respond and help lift the spirits of the players.
Then a masterstroke by the boss. With three minutes left he phoned the dugout from the stand and ordered Daniel Nardiello on, in place of centre back Ian Evatt.
A minute later Demontagnac’s shot fell to Southern in the box. His first attempt was blocked by Loach (predictably), but the midfielder rammed in the rebound.
Joy all round. But even better when a minute into stoppage time, Adam burst from midfield, fed Nardiello on the left and the striker’s first time cross into the six yard box was turned in by Brett Ormerod.
It was a remarkable turnaround. Pool had grasped victory from the jaws of defeat.
And how fitting that Southern and Ormerod, two of the nicest, most unassuming and hardworking footballers you could meet, turned out to be heroes of the piece.
Amazingly, it was even more dramatic than last season’s 4-3 away win at Watford when Alan Gow scored a stoppage time winner. How the Hornets must hate us!
A great afternoon’s entertainment, not good for the heart but very good indeed for Blackpool’s season.
Blackpool: Rachubka, Eardley, Evatt (Nardiello), Baptiste, Crainey, Southern, Vaughan, Adam, Bannan (Demontagnac), Taylor-Fletcher (Burgess), Ormerod