Now I won’t lie but it has taken me a few days to write this as it has taken me that long to recover from what is possibly one of the best away performances I have had the pleasure of seeing in a lifetime, and the ensuing events of the night out after.
If you had asked me before the game, I would have told you we were going to be on the end of hiding from a team that I fully believe that will be the eventual league winners come May. However, Blackpool were about to find out that even with all their quality, we are one well organised outfit.
One change from the Wednesday match as Stevie G’s cousin Anthony came in for Joel Lynch after his red card, which I still believe was harsh. The most important thing though was Grayson; I think has learned, that Novak is not a winger so we started 4-4-2.
In the first few minutes there was more evidence “SuperNovak” is not a winger when he put in two of the most dreadful crosses I have ever seen. He was under no pressure at all whilst the other led me to shout some rather unnecessary expletives at our favourite Geordie son. Oh how I was to be made to eat humble pie.
A simple punt long by captain fantastic Peter Clarke left James Vaughan and Novak two on two with Blackpool’s centre-backs. In quite simple fashion Vaughan won the header, sent Novak clear and in a cool fashion he slotted it past Matt Gilks, a very good finish. Of course we must thank Blackpool’s full backs who decided to both go forward and leave their centre-backs isolated.
Not long after our opener Blackpool’s full back one again left their centre-backs isolated as they pressed forward, Ollie Norwood broke up their attack and sent the ball long again. Somehow James Vaughan managed to lay it off to Danny Ward, whose vicious strike went narrowly wide. Some would have called it “hoof ball” but the fact that for once this tactic was working was pleasing especially as we are not the biggest of sides!
Our relentless attacks seemed to wake Blackpool up and they started to play football just before half-time. Tom Ince who has been the catalyst for the tangerines this season was nullified by the once again brilliant Jack Hunt. However, Ince played a vital part in their equaliser as he twisted and turned his was past Gerrard to lay off Gary Taylor-Fletcher to poke home.
It was nice to see GTF not celebrate, he was my favourite player when he was here at Town and I am still bemused to why we let him go for a pittance, but I suppose that is what happened in the Ken Davy era!
In the stands I think most fans just wanted to see half time and for us to regroup as Holloway’s boys got into the game. Just before the stroke of half time though, we were back in the lead. Their left-back Crainey gave away a very soft free kick on the by-line and our midfield maestro Ollie Norwood put in a wonderful cross that Vaughan latched onto with a fine header. 2-1 at half time and I was in a dream world.
At half-time I discovered that Bloomfield Road weren’t allowed to sell away fans alcohol?! Crazy isn’t it. Also they have far too many regulations in their toilets.
Now I half expected Blackpool to come out all guns blazing with the quality they have, but this never happened. In fact we started better and amazingly were 3-1 up when Norwood’s free-kick from the by-line went straight in. Queue yet more celebrations and our shirts off, this felt like Christmas. I still can’t see what Gilks was complaining about the goal for; it just looked like he flapped for it!
Surely it was time for Blackpool to wake up, or even the 700 Town fans, who travelled over in dire conditions, to wake up! Well it wasn’t. James Vaughan had two goals disallowed and the first of them he looked to be onside. Yes the linesman’s flag went up early, but from replays I have seen he didn’t look offside.
Even when Kevin Phillips (no he still hasn’t signed for us) they lacked any real threat and I can’t recall Alex Smithies making a save of any real note. More proof that the Championship is anyone’s for the taking and that any club can beat anyone, even Peterborough.
The game in a way dwindled in the last 15 minutes, with an organised Town dealing with Blackpool’s pressure quite well. The only worry was to see James Vaughan limping off, but he got a deserved standing ovation. In my humble opinion he was Man of the Match.
90 minutes had gone and somehow we were second in the league. I still don’t know how but I don’t care. This was the best away day since we thumped Stockport 6-0 on a fine spring day and Theo Robinson got a hat-trick.
Oh and Ian Holloway, Blackpool IS A SHITHOLE and Huddersfield is paradise in comparison. That’s why I always go to Scarbados on my seaside trips.