STOKE CITY FC 0 BLACKPOOL 1
You cannot say, as some have been ,that we did not deserve anything from this game. They claim that we failed to see off a clearly – to their eyes – inferior Blackpool team. But Blackpool are no mugs. As we did when we were first promoted, they played to their strengths. Lots of energy, getting about the field quickly, in your faces when they lost the ball, uncompromising in defence. These qualities, allied to the intelligent prompting and passing of Adam in midfield and the darting threat of Campbell upfront make them difficult to handle.
Whether some of our stars were below par or simply knocked out of their stride it would be difficult to say. What is certain though is that our team did not lack determination, commitment, or effort, but our performance was disjointed.
Crucially we created plenty of chances but were unable to take any of them. On another day we could and would have won handsomely. At both ends of the game Blackpool players blocked goal bound efforts. The first, as Stoke opened brightly, a fierce Fuller shot blocked by Taylor – Fletcher, the second, at the death as Stoke piled on the pressure to rescue a point,a Delap header hitting defender Eardley in the face as he stood on the goal line .Neither player knew much about it.
We hit the woodwork at least three times to Blackpool’s one. Kenwyne had headed opportunities from close in that he would have buried just a few weeks ago. Matty Etherington saw his beautifully taken free kick strike the bar with keeper Kingson beaten all ends up.
The Blackpool winner was well constructed and followed more or less immediately from our failure to take a scoring chance. A typical Ricardo Fuller dribble produced a clear sight of goal. You would have bet your house on him shooting .Inexplicably he turned back into three defenders. We’ve seen him beat three men before with a mazy dribble, but this time he lost the ball. Blackpool lost no time moving the ball upfield, with Adam involved twice. The move culminated in Campbell flicking the ball past Begovic into the net for the winner, despite the attentions of Danny Collins.