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Match Report: Southampton 2 - 2 Blackpool (Blackpool Fan's Perspective)

Saturday 10th December 2011
Southampton were protecting an unbeaten home record stretching back to December 2010 heading into their clash with visitors Blackpool. The Tangerines have been consistent in being inconsistent this season, although the same accusation could be levelled at least half the division. Just two away wins - a narrow opening day victory over Hull City and destroying Leeds United 5-0 - are all the Seasiders have mustered this campaign.

It was set up to be a cracker and so it proved as an open, expansive game with two teams attempting to play a passing strand of football entertained the crowd. The home crowd became increasingly animated as Southampton put the pressure on the Blackpool back four. And that pressure eventually told as Rickie Lambert's shot hit the knee of Craig Cathcart and flew past a stricken Matt Gilks on the half hour.

It looked to be following the form book, with Brazilian Guly Do Prado causing problems for Neal Eardley down the left flank. But he wasn't the only attacking player causing havoc as Callum McManaman, on loan from Wigan, jinked around the Saints box and floated in a cross which was duly converted for an equaliser by holding midfielder Chris Basham, who was restored to the team at the expense of Lomana LuaLua. First viewing suggested Basham may have been marginally offside, but kudos to the assistant as replays showed he made an excellent decision to keep his flag down.

Southampton keeper Bartosz Bialkowski had looked suspect throughout the first 45 minutes, fumbling a Matt Phillips cross and making unconventional saves. Any jitters the Southampton fans may have had were confirmed when, on 49 minutes, he looked to have McManaman's tame shot covered, however unfortunately for him the ball squirmed underneath him and crept over the line. The Saints defenders had their heads in their hands and the Pole looked like he wanted the ground to swallow him up.

Blackpool defended their lead resolutely whilst searching for a third, with three attacking substitutions as former Saint Kevin Phillips, LuaLua and Tom Ince entered the field of play. Southampton responded by introducing Belgian forward Steve De Ridder and Dan Harding. Do Prado continued to cause problems, flashing a couple of dangerous balls across the box and Jos Hooiveld fired a shot wide when he should have done much better.

Blackpool looked as though they could hold out for an impressive win, but alas it was not to be. Much to the bemusement of the Blackpool bench, the fourth official signalled five minutes of stoppage time, which was baffling considering it had been a half without any notable stoppages. This rallied the leaders and they predictably scored a 93rd minute equaliser, as Lambert headed in from close range to give Gilks no chance. The stadium erupted, while Blackpool fans were left crestfallen.

However, a point was probably a fair reflection of the 90 minutes and all in all it was an excellent advert for one of the most exciting leagues in the world.

Southampton: Bialkowski; Richardson, Fonte, Hooiveld, Fox (Harding 63); Lallana, Cork, Hammond (De Ridder 63), Schneiderlin, do Prado; Lambert. Unused subs: Martin, Reeves, Holmes.

Goals: Lambert (30, 90+3)

Blackpool: Gilks; Eardley, Evatt, Cathcart, Crainey; Taylor-Fletcher, Ferguson, Sylvestre, Basham (LuaLua 82), M Phillips (Ince 90); McManaman (K Phillips 75). Unused subs: Howard, Angel.

Goals: Basham (36), McManaman (49)
Jack Critchley
Blackpool fan who enjoys a spot of the football league. I follow Championship through to League Two.

Total articles: 18

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