Blackpool's Championship memories: Phillips' double fires the Seasiders to Peterborough United victory
With Blackpool back in the Championship, we’re looking back at previous seasons when the Seasiders were in the second tier.
We’re back in 2011 this week when they made it consecutive wins to start the season with a 2-1 win over Peterborough United, witnessed by STEVE CANAVAN...
A report in the morning papers suggested beautiful people are not good team players.
A fella from Barcelona University by the name of Santiago Sanchez-Pages has done one of those utterly pointless studies that people at universities seem to specialise in doing.
In other words, a footie team made up of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp would get hammered every week.
What you want is a bit of rough... so thank goodness then we’ve got Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Matt Gilks and Keith Southern. Only jesting lads.
The point remains: all three – tremendous yesterday – are team players and that is the secret of Blackpool’s success – a will to work hard for each other and get a result come what may.
Without the superstars of the team – the Charlie Adams and DJ Campbells – those qualities will be even more important this season.
There are no standout players, just 11 honest lads who will have to graft and do things the hard way if they are to make it up the Championship table, and give themselves a shot of returning to the top flight.
They’ve certainly started in wonderful fashion.
This was a cracking game, even if it was slightly depressing that last year it was Manchester United, now it’s Peterborough United.
Who cares? The football season is back and it was fantastic to be at Bloomfield Road to see the Tangerines take to the pitch in a league game for the first time since Bolton visited on May 15.
I’m not quite sure where to begin with the first half, other than to say it was one of the best 45 minutes of football I’ve seen.
Both keepers made saves left, right and centre, players hoofed the ball off the line in the nick of time, the woodwork was struck... it was hard to keep up.
Credit to both sides for being so positive and attacking, especially to Peterborough – it was odd, but great to see a visiting side playing with five men up front at times.
Posh should do better than their last Championship year, with lower mid-table a likely finish.
Many Blackpool fans will hope so, for they have a soft spot for Peterborough – having had one of their best days out in recent years there.
Let’s reminisce for a moment... that 1-0 win at London Road a couple of seasons back, combined with a defeat for Swansea, put the Seasiders in the play-offs with a game to go.
Anyway, back to the present day and that rip-roaring first half.
Kevin Phillips had a header well saved by Paul Jones and Elliot Grandin blasted the follow up against the post.
Grandin started well, delivering corners with pinpoint accuracy. From one, Craig Cathcart almost steered the ball into the top corner.
Alex Baptiste, who appears to have turned into Roberto Carlos over the summer, sprinted into the area and lashed wide left-footed.
Grandin had a header blocked on the line by Scott Wootton, Ian Evatt nutmegged an opponent on the edge of the box and curled a deflected effort just over; while Stephen Crainey fired narrowly too high from distance.
It was hardly one-way traffic, though, Peterborough and their lively attackers creating and spurning just as many opportunities.
A Ryan Bennett header was cleared off the line by Southern, while Gilks made two terrific saves after Lee Tomlin and David Ball broke through a somewhat suspect back four.
Cathcart, in particular, made a couple of errors he won’t want to dwell on.
No matter, though, for Pool made a breakthrough on the stroke of half-time
It was simplicity itself, Baptiste once again marauding forward on the right and delivering a cross so good that Phillips had only to guide a back-post header into the net.
Goal number one for the 38-year-old, number two coming within seconds of the restart.
Taylor-Fletcher broke on the right and slid the ball into the path of Southern.
The midfielder strode into the box and fired a low, angled drive goalwards.
Jones saved, but Phillips, like all the best goal poachers, was on hand to slide the ball into an empty net.
This was the beginning of a second half that, from a Blackpool perspective, was for the main so heartening.
OK, so there will be tougher Championship opponents than Peterborough, but with that handy two-goal cushion in the bag, they controlled proceedings and produced a mature, confident display.
At times, it was better than some of the stuff played during the Championship promotion season a couple of years back, which, to put it mildly, is rather encouraging.
That said, in true Blackpool fashion, they almost managed to muck it all up.
Things were so unbelievably comfortable that Cathcart got a little carried away and hit a sideways pass straight to the feet of Peterborough’s George Boyd.
The striker, after he’d got over the shock of being generously supplied with the ball, skipped into the area, rounded Gilks and slotted in.
Suddenly, a walk in the park had turned into a nervy stroll down a dark alley.
For the first time in the half, Posh stormed forward with real conviction.
Had Tommy Rowe kept his back post header a bit lower, the Seasiders would have succeeded in throwing away a certain three points.
As it was they just about made it over the finish line, rounding off a start to the league season which couldn’t have gone much better.
Another busy week to come, but one to approach with a spring in the step and bags of confidence.
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