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Blackpool v Hull – match report

Blackpool 0 Hull 0: All square at Bloomfield Road with keepers on form

PUBLISHED:

18:16 GMT, 1 January 2013

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UPDATED:

00:37 GMT, 2 January 2013

Goalkeepers Matt Gilks and Eldin Jakupovic earned their respective sides a share of the points with crucial second-half saves in a game of few chances at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool's Gilks pulled off a flying save to keep out Hull midfielder David Meyler's goalbound shot in the 60th minute, while opposite number Jakupovic was at full stretch himself to turn away a vicious 25-yard effort from the home side's coveted Thomas Ince in the 85th minute.

Thomas Ince shoots

Spurned: Both teams had good chance to win but were denied at either end

Jakupovic, a Bosnian-born Switzerland international, then made another fine save in the second minute of time added on to keep out Seasiders' substitute Nathan Delfouneso's shot and ensure Hull stretched their unbeaten league run to eight matches.

MATCH FACTS

Blackpool: Gilks,Eardley, Broadfoot, Baptiste, Crainey, Osbourne, Sylvestre, Basham, Ince, Taylor-Fletcher (Dicko 80),Thomas (Delfouneso 66).

Subs: Halstead, Kevin Phillips, Cathcart, Martinez,Harris.

Booked: Taylor-Fletcher.

Hull: Jakupovic, Chester, Faye, Hobbs, Rosenior, Meyler, Evans (Bruce 83), Quinn, Brady, Koren (Simpson 46), Aluko (Proschwitz 46).

Subs: Amos, Cairney, McShane, Olofinjana.

Att: 13,691

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire).

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Hull, who had won six of their previous seven npower Championship matches, remain second in the table, while Blackpool, for all their late pressure, have now won only one of their last six league matches.

Midfield pair Ludovic Sylvestre and Isaiah Osbourne, plus defender Neal Eardley returned to Blackpool's starting line-up, while Liam Rosenior stepped in at right-back for Hull in place of the injured Ahmed Elmohamady.

Neither side could fashion a chance worthy of note in the first 20 minutes save for Hull's on-loan Sunderland midfielder Meyler, who dragged an angled shot from the left side of the penalty area off target.

The visitors threatened again in the 22nd minute when striker Sone Aluko flashed a 25-yard shot wide and it was not until the 29th minute that Blackpool's coveted winger Ince fired his side's first shot on goal straight at Jakupovic.

The Seasiders enjoyed their best spell from the half-hour mark, with striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Ince both prominent, but failed to test Jakupovic again before the half-time whistle.

Steve Bruce

Stalemate: Steve Bruce's side remain in second place after today's draw

Hull manager Steve Bruce replaced Aluko and midfielder Robert Koren for strikers Nick Proschwitz and Jay Simpson at the interval and the latter was straight into the action when his header from Rosenior's cross forced Gilks into a smart save 90 seconds after the restart.

Gilks then held Hull midfielder Robbie Brady's 20-yard free-kick as the visitors went in search of the breakthrough.

Meyler, who has scored three goals in his last four appearances for the Tigers, went closest to the game's opening goal with a superb strike in the 60th minute that prompted a spectacular save from Gilks, whose outstretched arm turned the goalbound shot away for a corner.

Blackpool were dealt a blow soon after when striker Wes Thomas was forced off injured and replaced by Delfouneso before Sylvestre had a rare shot on goal for the home side, firing an angled drive just wide.

The game was finely balanced heading into the final quarter when Blackpool defender Chris Basham fired a 25-yard effort over the crossbar, while at the other end Hull midfielder Corry Evans spurned a gilt-edged chance when he failed to keep his shot from inside the area on target.

Jakupovic flung himself at Ince's 25-yard shot in the closing stages to push the ball away to safety before Delfouneso blazed over the crossbar from inside the area in stoppage time.

Blackpool 2 Blackburn 0 match report: Wes Thomas and Kirk Broadfoot put Henning Berg under more pressure

Blackpool 2 Blackburn 0: Appleton's unbeaten run goes on but it's more gloom for Berg

PUBLISHED:

17:25 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:25 GMT, 15 December 2012

Blackpool netted a goal in each half to see off Blackburn and maintain boss Michael Appleton's unbeaten start to life at Bloomfield Road.

Rovers had more than their fair share of chances in the first half but Wes Thomas had headed Blackpool in front by the time Simon Vukcevic rattled the post for the visitors.

Henning Berg's side were unable to muster anything like a similar threat in a second half of few chances, and switched off late on to let former Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot net a first Seasiders goal.

Advantage Blackpool: Wes Thomas hit the first at Bloomfield Road

Advantage Blackpool: Wes Thomas hit the first at Bloomfield Road

Match facts

Blackpool: Gilks, Baptiste, Broadfoot, Cathcart, Harris, Osbourne, Gomes, Martinez, Delfouneso, Thomas (Taylor-Fletcher 69), Ince (Dicko 82). Subs not used: Halstead, Eardley, Kevin Phillips, Noguera, Bruna.

Goals: Thomas 22, Broadfoot 81.

Blackburn: Kean, Henley, Dann, Givet, Martin Olsson, Vukcevic (Rochina 74), Lowe, Etuhu, King, Rhodes, Kazim-Richards. Subs not used: Robinson, Dunn, Pedersen, Grant Hanley, Ribeiro, Rosado.

Booked: King.

Att: 15,907.

Ref: Graham Scott.

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Appleton has now masterminded two
wins from three outings, having begun his tenure as Ian Holloway's
replacement with four consecutive draws.

The result moves Blackpool three
points and four places above Blackburn, who are floundering in 15th
place in the npower Championship having won once during Berg's nine
matches at the helm.

Bob Harris enjoyed his second start
of the season for Blackpool at left-back in place of the suspended
Steven Crainey, while Gary Taylor-Fletcher was named among the
substitutes after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Berg sprung a surprise by dropping
former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson and naming Jake Kean in his
starting XI – one of four changes to the Blackburn side thrashed 4-1 by
Cardiff eight days ago as Gael Givet, Colin Kazim-Richards and Vukcevic
earned recalls.

Blackpool were perhaps surprised by
the sight of on-loan Galatasaray forward Kazim-Richards launching a
long-throw in the second minute and Vukcevic was allowed space to fire
over.

The visitors were quickest out of the
blocks and Seasiders defender Craig Cathcart required a last-ditch
challenge to deny Jordan Rhodes from Kazim-Richards' cross, before Matt
Gilks made saves in quick succession to thwart Rhodes and Vukcevic.

Opening his account: Kirk Broadfoot (back right) nods Blackpool's second - his first for the club since joining from Rangers

Opening his account: Kirk Broadfoot (back right) nods Blackpool's second – his first for the club since joining from Rangers

It was therefore against the run of
play when Nathan Delfouneso crossed from the left for Thomas to glance
in with the assistance of a statuesque Blackburn defence in the 24th
minute.

Dickson Etuhu had a chance to bring
Blackburn level after the half hour but shot wide from Josh King's
clipped cross as Blackpool failed to fully clear a corner.

Kean was nearly caught out by a
clever Tiago Gomes free-kick from the left before Scott Dann produced a
vital block to divert an Ince effort at the end of a solo run into the
side netting.

But it was almost all-square at the break as Vukcevic rattled the post with a shot on the turn.

Kazim-Richards and Thomas both hobbled back into the action following injury scares during a scrappy start to the second half.

England Under 21 winger Ince appeared
the most likely source of extending Blackpool's lead and, after
breaking free of the Rovers defence to test Kean low to his right, he
exchanged passes with Harris for the latter to fire over in the 65th
minute.

Harris managed to extend Kean when
the Rovers keeper pushed a rasping free-kick behind, but the points were
made safe from the resulting corner.

Gomes' outswinging delivery from the right found Broadfoot to thump home unmarked with nine minutes to play.

Givet thought he had a consolation
but was flagged offside before Dann almost compounded Rovers' misery by
heading against his own post in stoppage time.

Peterborough 1 Blackpool 4 – match report:

Peterborough 1 Blackpool 4: Inspired Ince turns on style to put sorry Posh to the sword

PUBLISHED:

17:43 GMT, 1 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:43 GMT, 1 December 2012

Thomas Ince scored two and created another to propel Blackpool to a 4-1 win against lowly Peterborough at London Road.

Wes Thomas opened the scoring for the visitors before Ince, who provided the cross for the first goal, made it 2-0 from the spot.

Dwight Gayle grabbed one back for Posh, but goals from Nouha Dicko and a second for Ince sealed the points for Blackpool late on.

Inspired: Tom Ince scored two and set up another

Inspired: Tom Ince scored two and set up another

MATCH FACTS

Peterborough: Olejnik, Alcock (Rowe 58), Brisley, Little (Ferdinand 78), McCann, Newell, Knight-Percival, Thorne, Tomlin, Boyd (Swanson 55), Gayle

Subs not used: Day, Zakuani, Kearns, Gordon-Hutton

Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Baptiste, Basham, Cathcart, Broadfoot, Gomes, Osbourne (Dicko 80), Ince, Thomas (K Phillips 87), Delfouneso (Angel 80)

Subs not used: Halstead, Eardley, Harris, Sylvestre

Referee: Webb

Attendance: 5,633

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Posh started the day rooted to the
bottom of the npower Championship after a dismal November, which saw
them beaten on five occasions as they picked up only a single point away
at Ipswich.

Blackpool were also looking to end a
winless run, with Appleton picking up four straight draws since starting
his tenure at Bloomfield Road.

The Seasiders took the early
initiative, with Craig Cathcart's header from six yards drawing the
first save of the match from Robert Olejnik after a decent free-kick was
whipped in from just outside the box by Ince.

They continued to press as Tiago Gomes blasted a speculative effort from 30 yards that went just over the bar.

But Posh fired Appleton's side a
warning shot shortly afterwards as George Boyd found himself clean
through on goal and his left-footed strike forced Matt Gilks into a fine
save with his feet.

Two minutes into the second half
Blackpool's Chris Basham picked up a yellow card for a foul on Mark
Little as Peterborough started well. It was his fifth booking of the
season so he will miss the trip to Crystal Palace next week.

Before long the away side began to exert themselves on proceedings again, taking the lead in the 51st minute through Thomas.

Ince, a constant threat, played a delightful ball from the left-hand side which Thomas met perfectly to send it past Olejnik.

Appleton's side had their tails up now
and their second goal arrived from the spot after Thomas was brought
down by Shaun Brisley in the 57th minute.

Ince stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way and score in the bottom-left corner.

Posh came back at Blackpool, throwing
everything they had at them, and they were rewarded when Gayle pounced
on a back-pass from Alex Baptiste to pull one back in the 70th minute.

But any hopes of a comeback were
dashed 12 minutes later as Dicko slid in to connect with Angel
Martinez's cross and make it 3-1.

Blackpool were not done as Ince capped
off a fine individual performance with a superb strike from 20 yards
that sailed into the top-left corner.

Blackpool 1 Birmingham 1 – match report: Curtis Davies heads equaliser

Blackpool 1 Birmingham 1: Davies header stops rot and denies Appleton first victory

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UPDATED:

22:21 GMT, 27 November 2012

Curtis Davies' equaliser early in the second half saw Birmingham avoid a third successive defeat and handed Michael Appleton a fourth draw in as many matches as Blackpool manager.

Having watched them battle back from behind in each of his first three games at the helm, Appleton was granted the unfamiliar pleasure of the Seasiders taking a 17th-minute lead courtesy of Tom Ince's fifth goal in six appearances.

Kevin Phillips had a close range effort ruled out for offside seven minutes later, while Birmingham offered virtually nothing by way of an attacking threat in the opening period.

Davies delight: Birmingham defender Curtis celebrates (above) after scoring (below) at Bloomfield Road

Davies delight: Birmingham defender Curtis celebrates (above) after scoring (below) at Bloomfield Road

Davies delight: Birmingham defender Curtis celebrates (above) after scoring (below) at Bloomfield Road

MATCH FACTS

Blackpool: Gilks, Broadfoot, Baptiste, Cathcart, Crainey, Basham, Gomes, Osbourne (Thomas 72), Ince, Kevin Phillips (Dicko 79), Delfouneso.

Subs Not Used: Halstead, Eardley, Sylvestre, Martinez, Harris.

Booked: Basham.

Goals: Ince 17.

Birmingham: Butland, Caddis, Davies, Ibanez, Robinson, Lovenkrands (Burke 74), Morrison, Mullins (Diop 76), Spector, Elliott, King (Zigic 90).

Subs Not Used: Doyle, Caldwell, Hancox, Reilly.

Booked: Diop.

Goals: Davies 48.

Att: 13,111

Ref: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

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Davies headed Blues level, as he had done in the second leg of their play-off semi-final defeat to Blackpool last term.

Birmingham forward Peter Lovenkrands
came closest to finding a winner when he venomously tested the crossbar,
but Lee Clark's men remain 19th in the npower Championship table with
two wins in their last 11 outings.

Blackpool are also struggling to recreate last season's form and sit three places and four points better off.

Appleton made two expected changes to his starting line-up, naming Tiago Gomes and Isaiah Osbourne in central midfield.

Gomes replaced Elliot Grandin after 29 minutes of Saturday's 2-2 draw against Watford, with Pool 2-0 down at the time.

Osbourne took Ludo Sylvestre's place at the interval and went on to net the last-minute equaliser.

Lovenkrands was another player
rewarded for a goalscoring cameo at the weekend as he dislodged Nikola
Zigic in the Birmingham attack.

Zigic joined Steven Caldwell and Chris Burke on the bench as Clark selected Pablo Ibanez and Paul Caddis in his back four.

Glove affair: Tom Ince (right) celebrates with Chris Basham after scoring the first goal

Glove affair: Tom Ince (right) celebrates with Chris Basham after scoring the first goal (below)

Glove affair: Tom Ince (right) celebrates with Chris Basham after scoring the first goal

Ex-Blues striker Phillips was looking
to score against a former club for the second consecutive game and the
39-year-old was involved again when the hosts went in front.

Ibanez blocked Phillips' shot from
Kirk Broadfoot's drilled right-wing cross before Ince collected the
loose ball to calmly stroke home from 18 yards.

Having taken the lead slightly against the run of play, Blackpool looked to press home their advantage.

Nathan Delfouneso had Jack Butland at
full stretch to tip over a dipping effort and Phillips converted from an
offside position after Ince exchanged passes with Gomes to plant a shot
onto the bar.

The pace of Ince and Delfouneso was causing Birmingham problems in wide areas, with Broadfoot supporting ably from right-back.

The former Rangers defender left Paul
Robinson and referee Craig Pawson unimpressed when he took a 34th-minute
tumble in the box.

Seasiders goalkeeper Matt Gilks
enjoyed his first significant action of the half two minutes before the
break when Jonathan Spector's overhit cross from the left forced him to
tip over.

It was therefore unexpected when Gilks
found himself picking the ball out of the net three minutes after the
restart, Davies rising highest to convert Wade Elliot's inswinging
corner.

An intricate move involving Gomes and
Osbourne ended with Blackpool almost retaking the lead when Ibanez
nervously stabbed a clearance against the outside of his own post.

But an even contest had developed and
as the hour approached Lovenkrands slipped the attentions of the
Seasiders backline to rattle the bar with Gilks beaten.

As the goalmouth action threatened to
dry up Ince almost produced a moment of magic, arching a magnificent
25-yard effort just beyond the top corner.

Blackpool felt aggrieved not to be
awarded a penalty in the closing stages when Birmingham substitute Burke
appeared to pull Gomes back.

Northern Ireland 1 Azerbaijan 1: David Healy strikes late

Northern Ireland 1 Azerbaijan 1: Healy's late leveller salvages point on frustrating night

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UPDATED:

01:59 GMT, 15 November 2012

David Healy's dramatic late equaliser salvaged a point but may not be enough to rescue Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifying hopes on a night of non-stop frustration for Michael O'Neill at Windsor Park.

The hosts looked like paying for wasting a succession of clear-cut chances, until Healy stepped off the bench and curled a free-kick into the bottom corner seconds from time.

On his 94th appearance, it was the Northern Ireland record marksman's 36th goal but his first since scoring against San Marino four years ago.

At the death: David Healy struck late to help Northern Ireland scrape a point

At the death: David Healy struck late to help Northern Ireland scrape a point

Match facts

Northern Ireland: Carroll, D Lafferty, Cathcart (Healy 81), Hughes, Ferguson, Davis, Baird, McAuley, McGinn (Brunt 66), Shiels (McCourt 55), K Lafferty.

Subs not used: Mannus, Evans, Norwood, Grigg, McGovern.

Booked: K Lafferty, D Lafferty, Baird, Shiels, Healy

Goal: Aliyev 5

Azerbaijan: Salahat Agayev, Levin, Abusov, Ramaldanov (Naziri 72), Medvedev, Gokdemir (Guseynov 63), Huseynov, Amirquliev, Nadirov, Aliyev, Ozkara (Jadarov 78).

Subs not used: Popovich, Sadygov, Chertoganov, Subasic, Ahmadov, Mammadov, Pamuk, Nazirov.

Booked: Agayev, Levin, Huseynov, Aliyev

Goal: Healy 90

Att: 12,327

Ref: Victor Shvetsov (Ukraine)

If the Bury striker's brilliant
set-piece kept Northern Ireland in the hunt for a place at the World Cup
finals in Brazil, their hopes are flickering, at best.

'It was hugely frustrating to create so many clear chances and only end up with a point,' O'Neill said.

'But credit to the players. We were
chasing the game but they never let their heads drop. They kept going to
the very end. We are still in it.'

After dropping two points at home to
Luxembourg, O'Neill's side needed to build on last month's
morale-boosting draw in Portugal.

Instead, they had their manager
tearing his hair out with finishing that had to be seen to be believed.
Kyle Lafferty set the tone early on by heading over from six yards, and
it was to prove costly, as Azerbaijan striker Rauf Aliyev stunned
Windsor Park with a 25-yard drive after five minutes.

Lafferty then failed to control a
Steve Davis pass with the goal at his mercy in the 27th minute, and
Craig Cathcart somehow steered an unchallenged six-yard header wide in
the 31st minute.


Good start: Azerbaijan players celebrate Rauf Aliyev's opening goal

Good start: Azerbaijan players celebrate Rauf Aliyev's opening goal

Cathcart failed again from close
range and Chris Baird continued the tale of woe with a strong contender
for miss of the night on the hour.

There was plenty of competition but
Baird headed wide of a gaping goal from just four yards. Chances
continued to be wasted and Northern Ireland were running out of time but
Healy took responsibility from the edge of the area and buried a
free-kick, to roars of relief from a packed Windsor Park.

Tussle: Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty battles with Azerbaijan's Ali Gokdemir

Tussle: Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty battles with Azerbaijan's Ali Gokdemir

In the nick of time: Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill saw his side scrape a draw

In the nick of time: Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill saw his side scrape a draw

Ryan Shawcross weighs up six-year Stoke deal

Shawcross weighing up six-year deal as Stoke try to ward off Manchester United

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UPDATED:

09:13 GMT, 6 November 2012

Stoke are set for fresh talks with Ryan Shawcross as the Manchester United target considers a new six-year deal to stay at the Britannia Stadium.

Shawcross has 18 months left on his contract but manager Tony Pulis is desperate to tie him down in the next few weeks as United wait in the wings.

Deal or no deal: Ryan Shawcross has a six-year contract on the table

Deal or no deal: Ryan Shawcross has a six-year contract on the table

The Red Devils signed Shawcross as a
15-year-old in 2002 and Old Trafford manager Sir Alex Ferguson admits
his regret at letting the defender leave for the Potters in a 1m move
four years ago.

Ferguson does, however, have a buy-back option which gives him first refusal if any clubs try to sign Shawcross.

The United boss is planning for life after Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic and Shawcross, who is also on Tottenham's radar, fits the bill.

Ferguson, in his programme notes when United played Stoke last month, wrote: 'I was delighted to see him called up for the England squad because he is a quality player I have wished – particularly of late – was still at Old Trafford.

'The problem was that at the time of his release we had an especially strong group of young centre-halves and it was becoming impossible to give them all games at the level their progress warranted.

'We had Jonny Evans, Gerard Pique, Ryan Shawcross, Craig Cathcart and Paul McShane and something had to give. We made the right decision keeping Jonny Evans but I'm not so sure about letting Shawcross join Stoke.'

United target: Shawcross (centre) was back at Old Trafford last month

United target: Shawcross (centre) was back at Old Trafford last month

Portugal 1 Northern Ireland 1 match report: Cristiano Ronaldo wins 100th cap

Portugal 1 Northern Ireland 1: McGinn spoils Ronaldo party as O'Neill's men secure superb point

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UPDATED:

22:40 GMT, 16 October 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo reached a personal milestone but was upstaged by a winger of distinctly humbler standing, as Northern Ireland came within 10 minutes of a result to compare with any in their history, here in the Estadio do Dragao.

Ronaldo loooked earmarked for a pivotal role, on his 100th Portugal appearance, but was left staring at a humiliating defeat after Niall McGinn, freed by Celtic in the summer and snapped up by Aberdeen on a two-year contract, fired Northern Ireland into a shock 30th-minute lead.

Breaking the deadlock: Niall McGinn scores the opening goal past Rui Patricio

Breaking the deadlock: Niall McGinn scores the opening goal past Rui Patricio

Oh, happy days: Kyle Lafferty grabs McGinn in front of the Northern Irish faithful

Oh, happy days: Kyle Lafferty grabs McGinn in front of the Northern Irish faithful

Match facts

Portugal: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira (Eder 74), Bruno Alves, Pepe, Miguel Lopes (Ruben Amorim 46), Veloso, Ruben Micael (Varela 61), Ronaldo, Joao Moutinho, Nani, Postiga. Subs not used: Eduardo, Nelson, Custodio, Pizzi, Nelson Oliveira, Sereno, Luis Neto, Beto.

Scorer: Postiga 79.

Northern Ireland: Carroll, McGivern, Cathcart, Jonathan Evans, Hughes, Baird, Davis, Corry Evans, McGinn, Norwood, Kyle Lafferty. Subs not used: Mannus, Hodson, Shiels, Healy, McCourt, Danny Lafferty, Grigg, Carson, McGovern.

Booked: Hughes.

Scorer: McGinn 30.

Referee: Thorsten Kinhoefer (Germany).

Former Tottenham striker Helder Postiga
finally rescued his side with a scrambled 80th-minute equaliser, but
there was no denying Northern Ireland's right to a point that dented
Portugal's qualification hopes and made a mockery of the 114 places
between the nations in the latest FIFA rankings.

Portugal were made to look
third-rate, rather than third best in the world, by a disciplined,
determined Northern Ireland side marshalled expertly by a brilliant
exhibition of poise and flawless positioning by an inspired Jonny Evans.

Even though Postiga's close-range
leveller denied Northern Ireland a famous victory, there was enough
about the result and performance to leave manager Michael O'Neill
beaming: 'It's for others to say where that ranks alongside what has
happened in the past, but I'm just immensely proud of the effort all the
players put in.

'Everyone played their part, from
Niall scoring a goal worthy of winning the game to Jonny, who looked
like he could slot into any team in the world.

Fans' favourite: Portuguese supporters show their appreciation of Cristiano Ronaldo

Fans' favourite: Portuguese supporters show their appreciation of Cristiano Ronaldo

'I have had Jonny for four games now,
and he has been a joy to work with. He is going to be a leader of men,
within any team he plays for. I have seen that recently with his
performances for Manchester United, and I thought his composure on the
ball and leadership qualities were fantastic.

'The boys are actually very
disappointed they only drew the game, after coming so close to winning.
We knew we would have to defend for our lives at times, and that was the
case in the second half. But then they showed so much character again
to hold on for a point at the end.'

Level pegging: Helder Postiga broke Northern Irish hearts

Level pegging: Helder Postiga broke Northern Irish hearts

Ronaldo's century of appearances was
marked in fitting style. A giant banner, draped over the upper tier of a
stand, hailed him as the best in the world and stretched from one
penalty area to the other, while his 100th cap was presented before
kick-off and doffed to all corners.

Eager though he was to remain the centre of attention, his former Old Trafford colleague Evans had other ideas.

It never rains: Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during a downpour in Porto

It never rains: Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during a downpour in Porto

The United centre-back was imperious
at the heart of Northern Ireland's defence, stretching to cut out a
dangerous Nani cross early on, timing tackles to perfection and showing
remarkable composure in possession.

Repeatedly, he had the self-assurance
to play his way out of trouble, rather than simply clear his lines, and
it led to a 30th-minute breakthrough that stunned a capacity home
crowd.

On the run: Nani escapes the attentions of Oliver Norwood

On the run: Nani escapes the attentions of Oliver Norwood

Surrounded by opponents near the
centre circle, Evans expertly evaded all attempts to disposses him and
slid a pass into the path of Kyle Lafferty. When Lafferty immediately
relayed it to McGinn, the Aberdeen winger was suddenly in on goal for an
opportunity he finished with aplomb.

As Rui Patricio raced from his line,
McGinn clipped a shot beyond him, before sprinting to take the acclaim
of a 1,300-strong travelling support near the corner flag.

Jump to it: Postiga vies with Jonny Evans and keeper Roy Carroll

Jump to it: Postiga vies with Jonny Evans and keeper Roy Carroll

It said much for Northern Ireland's
highly-effective containing job that the closest Portugal came to a
first-half goal was when Craig Cathcart inadvertently volleyed a Joao
Pereira cross against his own bar in the 36th minute.

Sensing the group may be slipping
away from them, after Russia beat Azerbaijan earlier in the day,
Portugal finally found some urgency in the second half, but still left
Roy Carroll untested until the 59th minute.

Clearing his lines: Bruno Alves makes no mistake

Clearing his lines: Bruno Alves makes no mistake

The Olympiacos keeper was up to the
task, as he instinctively stuck out a boot to block a low shot from
Ronaldo, following a right-wing cross by Nani.

Cathcart was living dangerously at
times and went perilously close to an own goal again in the 63rd minute,
slicing an attempted clearance and seeing the ball loop over Carroll
and land on the roof of the net.

Ganging up: Lafferty skips away from three Portuguese

Ganging up: Lafferty skips away from three Portuguese

Mounting home pressure at last
yielded its reward in the 80th minute, as substitute Varela headed back a
deep cross and Postiga forced the ball home from close range.

Portugal may claim their improved
second half performance merited as much, but one thing was beyond
dispute. Northern Ireland had thoroughly deserved any luck that went
their way.

Blackpool 0 Charlton 2: Cort and Solly steal the points for Athletic in gritty Bloomfield Road affair

Blackpool 0 Charlton 2: Cort and Solly steal the points for Athletic in gritty Bloomfield Road affair

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UPDATED:

16:58 GMT, 6 October 2012

Chris Solly's second-half thunderbolt sealed three points for Charlton as they condemned Blackpool to a third defeat in four games with a 2-0 victory at Bloomfield Road.

The 21-year-old fired in from 20 yards 17 minutes from time to earn back-to-back away wins for Chris Powell's side.

Leon Cort had headed the opener early in the second half as the Tangerines' woes continued.

Blackpool's Tiago Gomes fouls Charlton Athletic's Ricardo Fuller

Late challenge: Blackpool's Tiago Gomes fouls Charlton's Ricardo Fuller in a heavy first half tackle

MATCH FACTS

Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, Ferguson, Osbourne (Dicko 66), Gomes (Ince 52), Taylor-Fletcher, Delfouneso (Kevin Phillips 62), Matt Phillips.

Subs Not Used: Halstead, Sylvestre, Cathcart, Martinez.

Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Cort, Morrison, Solly, Green (Pritchard 20), Stephens, Razak (Dervite 79), Hollands, Kerkar, Fuller (Hulse 84).

Subs Not Used: Button, Evina, Wright-Phillips, Wagstaff.

Goals: Cort 49,Solly 73.

Att: 13,482

Ref: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne & Wear).

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Blackpool, boosted by the return to
the bench of top-scorer Tom Ince following two games out, could have
edged in front in the 18th minute when Matt Phillips lined up a shot
from 18 yards only to be denied by a block from Charlton centre-half
Michael Morrison.

Addicks boss Powell was then forced
into an early change as former Dagenham midfielder Danny Green limped
off injured to be replaced by Bradley Pritchard before Jamaican striker
Ricardo Fuller rattled the Blackpool crossbar midway through the opening
period.

Blackpool's Ian Evatt and Charlton Athletic's Ricardo Fuller

Blackpool's Ian Evatt and Charlton Athletic's Ricardo Fuller

French midfielder Salim Kerkar, a
summer signing from Rangers, whipped in a low corner from the right
which was met by the stooping figure off Fuller but his header bounced
down off the underside of the bar and away.

In an absorbing opening period, Ian Holloway's man responded to nearly going behind with two efforts of their own.

Striker Gary Taylor-Fletcher
attempted an audacious chip from 40 yards which landed on the roof of
Ben Hamer's goal before Phillips forced the Addicks goalkeeper to save
low down to his left with a drilled strike.

Danger man Fuller threatened again on the stroke of half-time when his 12-yard drive was tipped around a post by Matt Gilks.

The south Londoners continued to
cause Blackpool problems from set-pieces and broke the deadlock four
minutes after the interval.

Dale Stephens swung a corner over
from the left and centre-back Cort rose unchallenged to send a thumping
header past Gilks for his second goal of the season.

Home manager Holloway reacted to the
setback by introducing Ince in place of Portuguese midfielder Tiago
Gomes but his usually free-scoring side were struggling to create
chances.

The next goal was always likely to
prove decisive and it was Charlton who extended their lead 17 minutes
from time. Left-back Solly seized on the ball after Stephens' shot had
deflected into his path to strike an unstoppable drive into the top
right-hand corner with the outside of his right foot.

Substitute Nouha Dicko, who was
thrown on with fellow striker Kevin Phillips prior to Solly's strike,
came close to a consolation for the home side but his right-foot volley
flew wide of the right-hand upright.

And Athletic held out to record a second clean sheet of the season and a first win at Bloomfield Road since 1981.

Charlton Athletic's Bradley Pritchard is tackled by Blackpool's Stephen Crainey

Tough tackle: Charlton's Bradley Pritchard puts a good challenge in on Blackpool's Stephen Crainey

Tom Ince impresses for Blackpool

Holloway hopes to keep Ince after young midfielder runs riot against Ipswich

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 26 August 2012

Tom Ince's amazing start to the season is good and bad for Blackpool manager Ian Holloway.

Ince, son of former England midfielder Paul, scored twice and played a part in three other goals as Blackpool thrashed Ipswich 6-0 on Saturday.

In demand: Blackpool's Tom Ince celebrates scoring against Ipswich

In demand: Blackpool's Tom Ince celebrates scoring against Ipswich

The down side for Holloway is that Premier League clubs are showing an interest in him and the transfer window does not close until the end of the week.

‘He’s on fire at the moment and I’m hoping the fire does not go out,’ admitted Holloway, whose team top the npower Championship.

Five star show: Blackpool's Craig Cathcart scores his sides final goal

Five star show: Blackpool's Craig Cathcart scores his sides final goal

‘I’m not worried about him going anywhere.

His dad made it to the top and I am sure Tom will too but you have to learn your trade somewhere.’

Blackpool 6 Ipswich 0: Ince stars as Seasiders maintain perfect start

Blackpool 6 Ipswich 0: Ince stars as Seasiders maintain perfect start

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UPDATED:

16:37 GMT, 25 August 2012

A virtuoso display from winger Tom Ince inspired npower Championship pacesetters Blackpool to a six-goal demolition of Ipswich.

Former Liverpool youngster Ince bagged a brace in the Seasiders' opening
day win at Millwall and he helped himself to two more fine strikes as
Paul Jewell's side were put to the sword.

Town held their own for most of the first half, but Aaron Cresswell's
own goal and Gary Taylor-Fletcher's strike moments before the break sent
Blackpool in two goals to the good.

Blackpool's Matt Phillips scores the second goal

Matt finish: Phillips scores Blackpool's second goal

MATCH FACTS

Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Cathcart, Baptiste, Crainey, Osbourne, Martinez (Noguera 58), Gomes, Taylor-Fletcher (Matt Phillips 63), Kevin Phillips (Dicko 56), Ince. Subs Not Used: Halstead, Evatt, Sylvestre, Ferguson.

Booked: Baptiste.

Goals: Cresswell 13 og, Taylor-Fletcher 45, Ince 49, 58, Cathcart 62, Dicko 90.

Ipswich: Loach, Edwards, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Luongo (Carson 65), Hyam, Drury, Martin, Emmanuel-Thomas (Scotland 56),Chopra (Murray 69). Subs Not Used: Lee-Barrett, Delaney, Stevenson, Ainsley.

Booked: Chopra.

Att: 14,266

Ref: Nigel Miller (Durham).

Ince was the provider on both occasions and he got in on the act with a scintillating double when the action resumed.

Craig Cathcart was the beneficiary of another Ince cross to make it five and Nouha Dicko completed the rout, the on-loan Wigan forward scoring from the bench as he did against Leeds in midweek.

Ian Holloway's side are now the only team in the Championship with a 100% record after three games as they consigned Ipswich's own unbeaten start to rubble.

Jewell's men were the quicker of the two sides out of the blocks and Blackpool full-back Ian Crainey had to be alert to clear when Jay Emmanuel-Thomas burst down the left and fizzed the ball across the six yard box.

But the Seasiders took the lead against the run of play in the 13th minute.

Town centre-back Tommy Smith floundered under a long-ball, allowing Ince to capitalise and fire a low cross that was turned into his own net by Cresswell.

Lee Martin launched a pair of speculative efforts as Ipswich looked to respond, while veteran striker Kevin Phillips sent a 20-yard volley over following a sharp one-two with Portuguese midfielder Tiago Gomes.

It was a rare example of Blackpool shifting their customary passing game into gear, and when Ince drilled a left-footed effort narrowly wide in the 38th minute, it was a product of his own endeavours.

Tasty: Thomas Ince of Blackpool

Tasty: Blackpool's Tom Ince

Football League blog

Tangerines goalkeeper Matt Gilks produced a magnificent reaction save
from Emmanuel-Thomas in the 42nd minute and Ipswich's disappointment
was compounded on the stroke of the interval.

Gomes and Ince produced an intricate exchange of passes for the latter
to find the by-line and cut back for Taylor-Fletcher, who emphatically
sent a half-volley beyond Town keeper Scott Loach.

Jewell's side had cause to be aggrieved by the half-time score, but they were soon blown away by a rampant Blackpool.

In the 49th minute Ince collected Crainey's lofted pass and befuddled
Smith with a dazzling exhibition of skill before driving into the bottom
corner.

Phillips should have made it four when Taylor-Fletcher slid him through
10 minutes into the half, although it mattered for little moments later.

At the end of a fine passing move, Gomes' reverse pass found Taylor-Fletcher and he in turn teed up Ince to curl home.

The game's outstanding player turned provider shortly after the hour, crossing for centre-back Cathcart to thump home a header.

The pace eased thereafter, but Ipswich's misery was complete when Matt
Phillips sped through on goal and lofted the ball over the advancing
Loach for fellow substitute Dicko to apply the finish.

Hot shot: Ince scores his goal

Hot shot: Ince scores his goal