Memory Match: Oxford v Blackpool, 1975
Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to look back at Blackpool's much-needed 3-1 win at Oxford United on November 15, 1975...
Blackpool lived dangerously before finally finding their shooting boots with a late second-half spurt to pick up a much-needed three points at Oxford United.
Badly needing a win to move away from the foot of the table, Blackpool made the best of starts at the Manor Ground when Mickey Walsh scored his eighth goal of the season and Pool’s first away since the defeat of Blackburn in September.
Blackpool were so in command by playing simple but intelligent football and they should have scored again before half-time.
But Peter Suddaby was ruled to have brought down Steve Aylott, and John Shuker equalised for Oxford from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time.
Oxford were a different side after the break when they tore at the Blackpool defence and went close several times without being able to cash in.
But Blackpool, some of whose defending had been decidedly desperate, made a dramatic comeback with two goals in four minutes against the run of play, Peter Suddaby and Alan Ainscow adding their names to the scoresheet.
Blackpool dropped Terry Alcock who played well against West Bromwich Albion in the previous game, with manager Harry Potts saying he needed match practice in the reserves.
Instead, they brought in talented midfielder David Tong after an absence of five games.
Right back John Curtis was ruled out for the second week running through injury, his place being taken by Dave Hatton who switched from sweeper with Paul Hart moving back to centre half.
Heavy drizzle started with the kick-off to add to rain during the morning which softened the surface.
Blackpool goalkeeper George Wood was soon called upon to catch an awkward inswinging corner from Peter Houseman.
Blackpool pushed plenty of men forward using Ainscow up front with Suddick in midfield and began to dominate play and took the lead after just five minutes. It was a fine, if simple move which cut Oxford wide open.
Ainscow made the break to send Ronson away who then found Hatton on the right flank in yards of space. Hatton’s cross was perfectly flighted and Walsh out-jumped Colin Clarke to plant a firm header into the bottom corner of the net.
Oxford’s reply was immediate, with Houseman slamming a left-footed snapshot over the bar.
But Blackpool were soon back on the attack again and Clarke made a fine tackle to stop Walsh from sliding in Hatton’s cross from the right wing.
Oxford hit back with a vengeance and Harrison made a great saving tackle as Oxford broke away in a two-against-two situation.
The hosts moved forward with more enthusiasm than penetration but they had Blackpool in trouble with an astute pass from Houseman which caught the defence in two minds as Wood half came out to stop Derek Clarke getting a clear shot at goal, the Oxford striker slamming a right footer against the base of the post.
When it seemed there was no danger, Blackpool conceded a penalty when Suddaby pulled down Aylott as he surged into the area.
Suddaby was clearly unhappy with the decision but Shuker scored from the spot although Wood dived the right way.
Aylott almost snatched the lead with a scorching drive from 30 yards which rasped past the foot of Wood’s right-hand post.
The second half got off to a lively start with two players booked in the first five minutes.
Oxford showed much more determined form and had Blackpool in trouble several times as the away side lost their calm.
A brilliant pass found Oxford with two men against one Blackpool defender but Foley was unable to find Clark who was waiting a few yards to his right with the goal at his mercy.
Oxford continued to pepper the Blackpool defence.
Hart brought down Taylor outside the box and some of Blackpool’s defending grew desperate.
But Blackpool broke Oxford’s stranglehold in a most dramatic manner.
They broke away down the left and won a free kick which Harrison swung over to the far side of a packed Oxford area.
Burton seemed to have the situation in command but dropped the ball right at Suddaby’s feet and he gleefully slotted home into an empty net.
Blackpool increased their lead after another free kick situation. Harrison’s delivery was cleared only as far as Tong, who slammed a superb shot against the underside of the bar and Ainscow followed up strongly to push the ball home.
Blackpool: Wood, Hatton, Harrison, Suddaby, Hart, Tong, Suddick, Ronson, Walsh, Ainscow, Moore