Seasiders Championship memories: Blackpool 2 Coventry City 1 (January 31, 2012)
With Blackpool back in the Championship, we’re recalling the Seasiders’ previous stint in the second tier from 2011-15.
This week, we’re at the end of January 2012 when, after an FA Cup draw against Sheffield Wednesday, they defeated Coventry City 2-1 as witnessed by STEVE CANAVAN...
It’s not good for the ticker but Ian Holloway’s men are becoming kings of the late comeback.
What they did in their previous two home games, against Sheffield Wednesday and Crystal Palace, they did again here – breaking opposition hearts by saving the day at the last possible moment.
They well and truly snatched victory from the snapping jaws of defeat against a Coventry side that looked well and truly devastated.
No wonder. Bottom of the pile and arriving at Bloomfield Road with all the confidence of a TV presenter with a faulty autocue and a new set of false teeth, they looked on course to secure a first away win of a barren season.
Then, as is becoming the norm, Pool – after a pretty lacklustre first eight-ninths of the contest – suddenly sprang into action and claimed the points.
Even Holloway admitted his team probably didn’t deserve it but he rightly praised their character and tenacity to again rise from the depths.
And that’s the thing – Blackpool are continuing to win and continuing to ride high in the division.
There was a comedian on the telly the other night who remarked: “I was standing in the park wondering why frisbees got bigger as they got closer. Then it hit me.”
It is like that with Blackpool and promotion. The possibility is growing, yet it seems hard to believe.
To go up to the Premier League once was far-fetched enough – to do it again would be downright ridiculous.
Pool had no right to get to the top flight last year. Holloway did a jaw-droppingly good job to achieve something most of us who have followed the club closely for any length of time thought would never happen.
What no-one truly expected, including the manager, was for the club to be challenging again so quickly.
Yet due to some fantastic wheeling and dealing, and some tinkering with the tactics, Holloway’s men are up there again.
It is dangerous to say they will make the play-offs, especially as the last three games haven’t been the usual sumptuous footballing feasts and Pool have been lucky to emerge with two victories and a draw.
There is also a lot that can go wrong: a big chunk of the season remains and we have to remember that Blackpool are still fighting with one arm behind their back in terms of their budget.
Crucially, the club has also played a blinder by adding Roman Bednar. Come May, that could prove crucial.
Word has it that the Pool players were delighted when he signed because, as football pros, they know just how good Bednar is.
Now Seasiders fans do too, for when the striker came on with nine minutes to go, he well and truly changed the course of the game.
When he entered the fray, the Seasiders were 1-0 down and struggling. They looked devoid of ideas and Coventry, packing the defence and making life very difficult, seemed set for victory.
Bednar’s sheer physical presence proved too much for the visitors. Four minutes from time, he muscled his way into the area and put the ball on a plate for Kevin Phillips, who gleefully tapped home.
Then, in stoppage time, he was involved again as Gary Taylor-Fletcher sidefooted in to nick the points.
With West Ham getting thumped and Southampton slipping up, it narrowed the gap between Pool and the big two, and will give Holloway’s men even more confidence.
It wasn’t a great game, though. In fact, it was barely average.
It was 10 lacklustre minutes before Pool created anything of note, and even that came as a result of the visitors fluffing a good chance to score.
Following a half-cleared corner, Conor Thomas failed to connect with a loose ball in the penalty area – barely eight yards out, he surely would have scored had he done so
The Seasiders broke at speed, but Matt Phillips’ shot from a tight angle was well saved by Joe Murphy.
Matt Phillips had the Seasiders’ best opportunities throughout the first half.
His best – and unluckiest – moment came on 25 minutes, when he shimmied past a defender and drilled in a shot which beat Murphy only to be denied by a brilliant goalline clearance from Cyrus Christie.
Christie created Coventry’s best chance of the opening 45 minutes, when he slipped the ball in to Alex Nimely but the young striker smashed a strong shot straight down Gilks’ throat.
Nimely, on loan from Manchester City, is meant to be the next big thing according to those in the know.
He looked lively, but Ian Evatt – definitely up for it against the club he supported as a lad – and Craig Cathcart defended well and gave him few look-ins.
Half-time came and went but little improved. Barry Ferguson shot wide after good build-up play from Taylor-Fletcher and Phillips, then Tom Ince danced into a good position on the edge of the area but couldn’t keep his shot down.
All the while, Coventry looked dangerous going forward and after Gilks had saved a strong shot from Gary McSheffrey, the visitors went ahead just before the hour.
It was a horrible goal, Thomas poking in as Alex Baptiste and Cathcart tried and failed to avert the danger.
It was the kind of goal one might score at primary school and won’t make for pleasant viewing for the Seasiders.
John Fleck and Kevin Phillips came on but things didn’t improve until that man Bednar took to the stage.
With Evatt also thrown forward to add height and further unsettle the opposition, Coventry began to wobble and eventually toppled over.
Just about the only downside was a booking for Evatt, yellow-carded for the 10th time this season and now banned for two matches.
It was very harsh – the defender guilty of nothing more than trying to wrestle the ball off keeper Joe Murphy after Pool had levelled.
The suspension is particularly annoying given how well Evatt played – in my book this was his best performance since Christmas.
At least Pool got the points. That’s the main thing and ensures the mighty Holloway bandwagon keeps rolling.
To roll all the way to promotion, though, they will have to play better than this.
Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here.