November 27, 2012 by Made In Brum
Blackpool 1 Blues 1
See, that wasn’t so bad was it? As Blues place their well earned point in the bag, it is baffling as to why the players only perform in the second half.
Lee Clark showed balls with his team selection by dropping Steven Caldwell and Chris Burke, rightly so. But in the first half, similar to the games against Hull, Derby, Ipswich, Huddersfield and so on, Blues were well below par. Why is this? Doesn’t Clark know what to say to his players until he’s watched 45 minutes unfold? He’s clearly reactive, not proactive.
Can we have any qualms about the result? Well, no. Blues conjured up just one shot on target in the entire game. Blackpool are now without a win in seven home outings.
The early stages were even until the hosts scored on 17 minutes. Kirk Broadfoot’s low cross fell to ex-Blues star Kevin Phillips who’s shot was blocked by Curtis Davies. However, the ball ricocheted to Tom Ince who was perfectly poised to smash in the opener.
Just minutes later, Marlon King should have had a penalty awarded after he was tussled down in the area, but just like at Derby, the referee waved play on. The luck certainly isn’t going Blues’ way recently.
Seeing Kevin Phillips scream for every pass makes you edgy at the best of times, and it was a relief that when he did chest the ball in the net, he was flagged offside.
First halves aren’t a thing that Blues seem to get to grips with, but fortunately, Michael Appleton’s Blackpool side look a tad unconvincing themselves. This match had the attributes of a mid-table Championship clash, it certainly wasn’t a thriller.
A reaction was needed in the second half… How often do you read that? Virtually every game. On 47 minutes, Curtis Davies headed Wade Elliott’s corner in for the equaliser. And just minutes later, Blues had Pablo Ibanez to thank for some great defending, thwarting Phillips as he smelt an opening.
Peter Lovenkrands rattled the upright after the home side failed to deal with Elliott’s cross, a moment that could have swung the game Blues’ way.
Hayden Mullins, who was decent, was replaced by Papa Bouba Diop for his debut and what a way to introduce yourself. His first contribution? He nailed Ince and received a booking. Is this what the midfield has been lacking? Diop can certainly compete physically with most players. I’d like to see him start on Friday night.
Another mention has to go to Paul Caddis who, despite only training for three days, looked accomplished and solid in the right-back berth. Let’s hope he can stay fit and sharp and show us consistently what we saw glimpses of before he picked up a shoulder injury.
Lee Clark admitted after the game that dropping Steven Caldwell was ‘the biggest test of his career’. It could also be a very wise decision as Blues looked more solid and compact at the back, and Ibanez, Caldwell’s replacement, looked firm and stable alongside stand-in captain Davies.
It was Davies who ensured at least a point for his side with a perfect tackle on Ince. The young winger was in full throttle down the right until Davies denied him.
So, we move on to another game in just three days time, this time at home against Middlesborough. The Teesiders won convincingly, 3-0 at home to Huddersfield tonight to stay third in the table. Blues, now eleven points off the play-off’s, could really do with a win in front of the Sky TV camera’s.
Blues ratings- Butland 6. Caddis 7. Ibanez 7. *DAVIES 8. Robinson 6. Elliott 6. Mullins 6. Morrison 6. Spector 6. Lovenkrands 6. King 6…SUBS USED- Burke 6. Diop 6. Zigic n/a.
Match report by Rob Wildey.