Memory Match: Brett Ormerod returns with a bang as Blackpool grab crucial victory over Norwich City

With Blackpool due to renew acquaintances with Norwich City in the Championship next season, The Gazette takes a look back at the last time the Seasiders beat the Canaries.

Friday, 24th June 2022, 11:00 am

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Blackpool 2-0 Norwich City – March 7, 2009

Brett Ormerod netted a freakish effort - his first since rejoining the Seasiders for a second spell - to gift Tony Parkes’ side an absolutely crucial three points in their bid to stave off relegation.

A bit of a fluke, Ormerod later admitted. Take the words ‘ a’, ‘ bit’ and ‘ of ’ out of that sentence and you’re about right. But who cares? He deserved that slice of luck for a fine performance.

And how it sent a shiver down the spine to hear the name ‘Ormerod’ announced as scorer. It was his first goal at Bloomfield Road since November 6, 2001 (when he fired a brace against Stoke) and it was absolutely crucial for it set Pool on the path to a victory that cannot be underestimated in terms of importance.

You see this was rather a big match. At 3pm every Seasider supporter was a picture of anxiety. Frowns adorned faces, fingernails were gnawed, all and sundry fretting about the prospect of a defeat which would have seen Pool scamper headfirst through a door marked "Danger, severe risk of relegation and 29 more years in League One".

Before kick-off, people were shrugging their shoulders, adopting pained expressions and muttering ‘don’t fancy us today’.

Brett Ormerod heads for the North Stand after scoring

Even with Norwich beaten and relief all round, one fan - when asked if he was satisfied with the result - shook his head and growled: " Only takes one more defeat and we’re back in trouble".

In football, it’s almost against the law to be happy. But one can understand the fans’ uneasiness. There’s no getting around it, prior to this game things were looking a bit bleak.

Pool had slipped too close to comfort to the drop zone. There were rumours of a management change should Norwich win. Thus it was a massive game. Yet the Seasiders came good thanks to a display which was so impressive in all departments that it made one wonder just how the team has got in this lowly position in the first place.

No one had a poor game. It was truly a team performance, each individual contributing to a fine and thoroughly deserved victory against a pretty woeful Norwich.

Shot or cross? Ormerod only has eyes for goal as he gives the Seasiders the lead

Of course some stood out. Alex Baptiste, Danny Coid and Shaun Barker were terrific at the back, Charlie Adam and Keith Southern huge in midfield, and of course there was Ormerod, rolling back the years with his cracker of a display.

Southern’s return was a major factor. It is no coincidence that his last appearance marked the previous time Pool had won at Bloomfield Road, the 2-0 victory over Birmingham in January. After that came four home defeats on the trot.

On Saturday Southern returned and the Seasiders won. Coincidence? Perhaps, for Pool certainly aren’t a one-man team. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Southern is a key figure and the midfield, and therefore the team, is better when he plays.

His partnership with the classy, confident Adam looks potentially formidable - a massive boost to have unearthed such a strong central midfield pairing at this stage of the season.

The back four, also, was terrific. It has a rather makeshift look about it, thrown together by circumstance rather than any great managerial selections. And yet it works and looks a solid unit.

Coid has to stay at right back. He’s a class act. Stay fit and he could yet fulfil that oft-talked about potential.

Southern for the slightly unlucky Claus Jorgensen was the only change from the depressing if undeserved midweek defeat by Burnley and right from the off the Seasiders were clearly up for the game.

The fans on the terraces, who supplied wonderful backing throughout, also knew the importance of this fixture because, if lost, would have sent the Seasiders into the bottom three.

Wes Hoolahan, strangely booed by some spectators at the start, (strange because he is one of the main reasons Pool are in this division) was the victim of two tough Southern challenges within moments of the kick-off.

It set the tone: Hoolahan, a potential matchwinner, rarely got a kick thereafter. The home side dominated and had plenty of chances to score in the opening period, but, as usual, failed to apply the finishing touch.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher was the biggest culprit, spooning the ball over an empty net after David Marshall had failed to hold David Vaughan’s cross.

Marshall made amends with a terrific stop from Stephen Crainey’s low freekick, while Adam was denied a goal by a great defensive block.

Would the missed chances be rued? Thankfully not.

Ormerod settled the nerves with his spectacular if freakish effort which sent those on the terraces wild.

Campbell was desperately unlucky with a shot on the turn which clattered the post, and Adam took too long after being sent clear by Ormerod and was denied by Jason Shackell’s last ditch tackle.

But a second goal, so vital to helping close out a game, did arrive on 74 minutes when Adam’s sublime chip beat Marshall from 20 yards. It brought the house down.

Norwich used all three substitutes, Alan Gow replacing Hoolahan (Gow, more understandably, the recipient of even louder jeers) but the Canaries never looked like coming back into it. They didn’t register a single shot on target in the second half.

It was Pool who should have scored more, Taylor-Fletcher coming closest when he curled a right footer inches the wrong side of the post.

The roars were deafening at the end. Delia Smith, in the directors’ box, looked as deflated as a misjudged soufflé.

For Pool there was only joy. The gap is back to five points and the pressure is off again. But not for long. Two more big games await, both away from home.

To stay up at least 10 more points are required. This is a start, but there’s still a long way to go.

Team: Rachubka, Coid, Baptiste, Barker, Crainey, Southern, Vaughan (Jorgensen), Adam, Taylor-Fletcher, Ormerod, Campbell (Blackman)