Memory Match: Plymouth Argyle 1-2 Blackpool, 2008
Matt Scrafton trawls through the archives to take a look back at the Seasiders' much-needed win against Plymouth on November 29, 2008.
Blackpool clambered back from the blink of oblivion to produce a superb comeback to end their run of four defeats with a win at Plymouth.
The Seasiders went into the game having gone four-and-a-half hours without scoring, and were second from bottom in the Championship form table.
Pool started tentatively, as you’d expect from a side low on confidence and not sure where the next point was coming from.
But gradually, helped by the fact they were playing an uninspired Plymouth team, the Seasiders began to believe in themselves, grew in adventure and – most impressive of all – had the character to come back from a goal down to snatch an excellent, vital and deserved victory.
This was more like the Blackpool we know. They fought hard, worked for each other and genuinely wanted to win.
Mind you, they got a bit of help from two lads who only met their new team-mates the day before the game – deadline acquisitions Kyel Reid and Liam Dickinson.
The pair were excellent. Reid from the start, Dickinson from the 75th minute when he came on as a sub, scored with his first touch and then bagged a second not long after.
The decision of Simon Grayson and his trusted lieutenants Tony Parkes and Steve Thompson to add to their squad on Thursday was key to this victory.
Unlike his team-mates, Reid wasn’t lacking confidence. He had no fear and right from the start ran down the left flank with the eagerness of a swimmer being chased by a crocodile. His sheer enthusiasm rubbed off on the rest of the team.
Later Dickinson, another unscarred by recent results, joined the fray and promptly scored the goals that Blackpool have been struggling so badly to get.
Four defeats on the trot you can handle, every team has bad spells. But when performances disappear it is worrying, and in the last few weeks they had. Things have been pretty awful.
At Home Park, however, Grayson’s men looked a very decent outfit and were the better side against a Plymouth side who went into the contest out of the play-off positions only on goal difference.
Blackpool were much more solid down the spine of the team and in Ben Burgess they have someone who might be under-rated by supporters, but is valued highly by his team-mates. Away from home, when Blackpool come under more pressure, he’s particularly effective.
The first half was, in truth, poor. There were few clear-cut chances, with Plymouth disappointing and the Seasiders being careful and trying to play their way back into a bit of form.
Reid – whose only West Ham appearance was against Plymouth in the Carling Cup – provided the best moments, forcing keeper Romain Larrieu into a sharp stop from 25 yards and supplying a beauty of a cross which Steve Kabba came within inches of converting.
The home team created and squandered just one real opportunity, centre back Marcel Seip heading over after losing his marker at a set piece.
Grayson’s men should have scored in the minutes after half time when they had a flurry of chances. Keith Southern had a Pele moment on the right flank and showed great skill to tee up Kabba, but the striker’s shot was deflected behind.
From the corner, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Rob Edwards were both denied from close range by desperate defensive blocks.
Pool should have been ahead, which was why, when Paul Gallagher scored a splendid goal out of the blue in the 67th minute to put Plymouth in front, it felt as if this was going to be another miserable, luckless afternoon.
On-loan from Blackburn, Gallagher curled a beauty of a left-footer into the top corner.
In the minutes afterwards, with Pool’s confidence dented and on the back foot for the first time in the contest, the Pilgrims could have had more.
Gallagher twice came close, Luke Summerfield shot off target and Steve MacLean headed wide when scoring seemed easier.
Pool needed to change it and Grayson did just that 15 minutes from the end, boldly using all three substitutes – Dickinson, David Fox and Adam Hammill.
Three minutes later, Paul Rachubka aimed a free kick at Burgess, the striker flicked on and Dickinson rolled his marker and with his first touch, shot low and hard past Larrieu. What an impact.
But it got better as Reid once again broke down the left and delivered a lovely ball across the face of goal. Dickinson gambled on a near-post run and got in front of his marker to prod the ball in.
Plymouth huffed and puffed as they searched for an equaliser but finally referee Trevor Kettle blew for full-time.
You could almost sense the relief emanating from the Blackpool camp.
Plymouth: Larrieu, Doumbe, Cathcart, Seip, Barker, Clark, Summerfield, Folly (Mackie), Gallagher, Fallon (Noone), Mpenza (MacLean)
Blackpool: Rachubka, Barker, Evatt, Edwards, Martin, Southern, Hendrie (Fox), Reid, Taylor-Fletcher (Hammill), Kabba (Dickinson), Burgess
Attendance: 9,969 (191 Blackpool)