10 years ago Pool 2 Stoke C 2
Feature by John Secker
Updated Tuesday, 8th November 2011
Super Brett inspires two goal comeback.
Stoke were playing the game in the Blackpool style, passing the ball
around midfield, and putting through balls over the defence for the fast men to chase. However they were also a lot better at it than Blackpool - indeed I would say that they were the best team we have seen at Bloomfield Road this season. They were fast in midfield, passing accurately and first time, and closing down quickly when Blackpool were in possession. Within a couple of minutes they worked a chance. A ball into the Blackpool defence was not cleared immediately, and it fell to an attacker on the edge of the box. He took a quick shot, which was on target, and Pullen saved well, diving to his left.
Although Stoke were winning the midfield battle, they were in fact finding it hard to turn this into attacking chances, with Caldwell and Reid coping well in the centre. More chances were coming at the other end, to Blackpool, despite problems with the offside trap. Indeed Ormerod ran onto a through ball in the box and blasted it past the keeper, but the flag was already up. A little later the ball bounced around on the edge of the Stoke area, then came to Bullock, clear on the right. The flag went up, but the referee rightly ignored it, as the ball had been played by a defender.
Bullock took it to the goal line, but he could not find a Blackpool player with the pass back. A little later came a controversial moment. A long ball was played towards the right side of the Stoke box. Ormerod chased it, along with two defenders, and as he ran between them he went flying. It looked like a penalty, or a free kick on the edge of the box, but the referee saw it as a dive and booked Ormerod. Personally I thought it was a foul, although Ormerod certainly made a meal of it, but I have to say that the crowd did not seem too upset.
There was not much more excitement in the first half, and after the break the crowd found something to get them going when David Moyes was spotted in the stands. Thus half the spectators were looking the other way as Blackpool did their best to give a goal away. It started as Reid played a header back to Pullen, who was on the edge of his area, but the header was too weak, and Pullen had to come out and tussle with a forward for the ball. It broke loose and rolled into the area, where a forward arrived just as Jaszczun put in a crucial diving tackle. Even so the ball went bouncing towards the net, but Reid managed to race back and hack it away before it crossed the line.
The Blackpool defence seemed to have lost its composure over half time, and they were constantly being caught by simple through balls. Fifteen minutes into the half it happened again. A ball was played up the Stoke left, and Coid seemed to be favourite to get there first, but the winger got past him and played over a cross to the far post. It was met by a Stoke forward, who lobbed a slow header back over Pullen and into the net.
As if this was not bad enough, less than a minute later Blackpool were two behind. It was another plain ball up the middle, but the central defence got thoroughly mixed up, and the ball ran free to an unmarked forward, who swivelled and slid it wide of Pullen's despairing dive.
It could have been three not long after, as another mix-up on the left allowed Stoke to lob Pullen, but the ball hit the underside of the bar, bounced down and then out. However the dreadful spell for Blackpool came to an end, and they began to engineer chances. Twice Ormerod was put through, but both times he failed to find the goal. Wellens came on for Milligan, and he, as well as Marshall and Caldwell, were involved in a scramble in the Stoke box. Marshall's shot was blocked, but then up popped Ormerod, to blast it into the roof of the net from close range.
Stoke were really struggling now, and there were more chances. Simpson was clean through, but could not beat the keeper, and from a free kick the same player put it over the bar. However it could not last, and when a neat through ball from Marshall once again put Ormerod in the clear, he was at last able to keep his cool, and slid it past the keeper and into the net.
The game was most definitely not over, and either team could still have won it. Blackpool came closest, when Wellens took the ball in the box, and lined up a shot which curved beyond the keeper. However, like Stoke's shot earlier, it struck the bottom of the bar, and bounced the wrong way. Reid, who had a poor game in the second half, went off for treatment - reportedly a problem with a contact lens. Marshall covered while he was off, but eventually he was substituted, with Hills coming on for the last five minutes. Both teams continued to press, but there was no more score, and an entertaining game finished 2-2.
Blackpool can feel fairly happy with this result - they could have won it, of course, but equally they could have lost, and a comeback from two goals down is good news for any team. Marshall looks like a very good cover for Murphy, and certainly when they have more of an understanding, the he will give Ormerod plenty of service.