Blackpool in the Premier League 10 years on: Late disappointment against West Bromwich Albion

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
It’s 10 years since Blackpool graced the top flight and we’re retelling the story week-by-week of that sensational season in the big time.

A decade ago, Ian Holloway’s side travelled to West Bromwich Albion on the back of victory over Liverpool but, as STEVE CANAVAN reported, a late goal saw them lose 3-2...

While waiting for the result of the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election the other night, I leafed through a trivia book a relative bought me for Christmas.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

I never realised, for instance, we grow by about 0.3 inches during our sleep, but shrink to our former height the following day.

David Vaughan puts Blackpool ahead at West Bromwich AlbionDavid Vaughan puts Blackpool ahead at West Bromwich Albion
David Vaughan puts Blackpool ahead at West Bromwich Albion

The average life lasts 2,475,576,000 seconds, we shed 121 pints of tears, have 100,000 hairs on our head and our hearts will beat two-and-a-half billion times.

We will also, though don’t ask me how they work this out, speak 123,205,750 words. Now I’ve not been counting, but I’d bet Ian Holloway will at least double that during his lifetime.

During Saturday’s game alone he probably got through another 10,000 or so, not all of them printable, as he watched his team throw away a wonderful chance to take points off a West Brom team visibly scared to death of a seventh straight defeat.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The home side were nervous and edgy from the off, and it was no surprise when David Vaughan curled the Seasiders into the lead.

Yet through a combination of poor finishing, the wrong final ball and a tendency to sit too deep in the first half, Pool allowed the Baggies back into the game, and it all ended in tears when Peter Odemwingie fired his second of the match.

It was the Baggies’ first win since a home victory over the Premier League’s other promoted side Newcastle at the beginning of December.

For Holloway, the frustration must have been intense because he knew this had been a golden opportunity to add to the 28-point tally.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But at least he can be encouraged by the performance, if not the result, for once again the Seasiders contributed to a thrilling spectacle that even had Hansen and Shearer looking positively excited on Match of the Day.

Blackpool played well, but for once their finishing let them down. DJ Campbell, so brilliant in front of goal for the last month, had one of those days every striker has to endure from time to time.

He missed a glorious chance in the opening minute and then missed the target with an even better opportunity just after the break.

Just to add insult to injury, right at the end, with Pool battling to make it 3-3, he inadvertently stopped Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s cross reaching the unmarked Brett Ormerod, who would have had the simplest task of converting into an empty net.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It wasn’t just missed chances which caused Holloway some angst though. Unusually, the defending also left a little to be desired.

The back four has been so strong this season, and Craig Cathcart and Ian Evatt have struck up a terrific partnership.

At West Brom, Evatt was guilty of allowing Odemwingie to nip behind him for the Baggies’ opener, while Cathcart made a bad mistake for the same striker’s late winner.

Between that, the home side’s second goal started when Stephen Crainey’s throw went straight to an opponent.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It wasn’t like the Blackpool we have been watching all season and yet, despite these lapses, the Seasiders came so close to getting a result.

My worry heading into the game was that Holloway’s men might struggle to get themselves fully motivated, after the effort they put into beating Liverpool so splendidly in midweek.

While they were straining every sinew at Bloomfield Road to ensure King Kenny got off to a bad start, the Baggies had their feet up.

This worry vanished from the kick-off as Pool started much the better. Cathcart’s long ball was flicked on by Luke Varney and fell for Campbell.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He showed great calmness to pause and keep his eye on the ball as desperate defenders jumped in all around, before pulling the trigger 10 yards out and with the goal at his mercy. His shot was powerful, but just off target.

No matter, for on 11 minutes, Vaughan made up for it. Charlie Adam’s quick corner allowed Crainey the chance to swing in a cross. It was cleared only as far as Vaughan, who bent the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box.

The Seasiders perhaps didn’t go for the jugular as they might have and West Brom clawed their way back.

Shortly after Crainey did well to block Chris Brunt’s volley, Odemwingie equalised.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The striker got behind Evatt to latch onto Graham Dorrans’ centre, controlled it beautifully and planted the ball past Richard Kingson with his next touch. Fine goal, slack defending.

Campbell should have restored Pool’s lead five minutes into the second half. Put in by Adam’s clever pass, he fired wide of the post. He should have scored.

It was costly, for within a minute the Baggies were in front. They won possession from Crainey’s loose throw, spread the ball to Jerome Thomas and his cross was palmed into the path of James Morrison by Kingson. Morrison couldn’t miss, poking the ball in from close range.

Crainey broke into the West Brom box after another fine piece of football, but could only pick out a defender with Vaughan in bags of space.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Then Adam, who didn’t dominate proceedings as he normally does, lost possession on the edge of his own box, but Odemwingie was denied by the legs of Kingson.

Holloway brought on Matt Phillips, Brett Ormerod and Alex Baptiste, and tinkered with the formation.

Lo and behold it worked, as with 10 minutes to go Pool levelled matters with a belter.

Vaughan split the Baggies’ defence, Phillips clipped an inviting centre into the area and Taylor-Fletcher, steaming in, smashed the ball home.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

At this stage I, and, I reckon, the 2,000 Pool fans in the ground, would have backed the Seasiders to go on and finish the job.

Alas they conceded four minutes from the end, and in horrible fashion.

A basic long ball from the back was missed by Cathcart and Odemwingie fired past Kingson.

Pool almost scrambled another equaliser right at the end, when Campbell and Ormerod were involved in a scramble but it wasn’t to be.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The third 3-2 defeat for Pool in the last four meetings with the Baggies and the first time this season Holloway’s men have scored first and lost. A shame and frustrating. But no big deal.

Two home games to come and I have to say I’m rather looking forward to them, particularly next Tuesday’s.

If you thought the Liverpool game was a good atmosphere, I sense you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 per month for the first two months. Try us today by clicking here