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Match Report: Blackpool 3-0 Middlesbrough

Wednesday 4th January 2012
Tony Mowbray's promotion chasing Boro produced a dismal display at Bloomfield Road to slump to a heavy 3-0 defeat at the hands of Ian Holloways Blackpool.

Boro were forced in to a couple of changes after influential central midfielder Nicky Bailey and Argentinian Julio Arca picked up knocks in their New Year's Eve draw with Peterborough at the Riverside. This meant a first of the season for promising academy graduate Richie Smallwood alongside Faris Haroun and Barry Robson, as the visitors lined up in a 5-3-2 formation.

The game started at a furious pace as both sides went in search of an opening goal. The pace of Blackpool going forward was there for all to see and Thomas Ince went close early on after some neat build up play, but his shot went narrowly wide. Ince also struck a powerful effort goalwards a few minutes later but Boro keeper Jason Steele was equal to it.

The away side had their best chance of the half when Australian striker Scott McDonald muscled his way through on goal and took the ball round Blackpool keeper Mark Howard, only to see Craig Cathcart clear his effort off the line. The inform Aussie then drilled the ball across the face of goal a few minutes later after being put through by Haroun but no Boro player came close to reaching it.

The pace of Blackpool going forward was again causing the visiting defence problems shortly before the interval, and Lomana LuaLua went close when his shot took a deflection off Middlesbrough skipper Matthew Bates.

Boro started the Second half positively and pressed for the opening goal, but it was the home side that took the lead in the 50th minute. Matt Phillips found the bottom corner from just inside the box after referee Scott Mathieson didn't give what looked like a foul on Boro's Bates in the build up.

Scott McDonald's touch let him down in the Blackpool box at the other end as Boro looked to level and their task became even harder in the 57th minute courtesy of some lacklustre defending. Alex Baptiste dispossessed defender Joe Bennett on the Blackpool right, he then cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot that could only be parried to the left by Jason Steele where the lively LuaLua was on hand to tap in.

Boro's Haroun thought he had pulled a goal back with 25 minutes left to play but his effort was ruled out for offside and the result was put beyond all doubt in the 70th minute. Seb Hines had only been on the pitch a matter of minutes after replacing Smallwood when he turned a Matt Phillips cross in to his own net to round off a miserable day for the Teesiders.

The result leaves Blackpool a point outside of the play-off places, while Boro slip to fourth in the table after wins for promotion rivals West Ham and Cardiff.
Matthew Nixon

Total articles: 28

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