Tag Archives: eardley

Blackpool v Hull – match report

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


18:16 GMT, 1 January 2013



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.


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).

Click here for all the latest Championship table, fixtures and results

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.

Wigan want 3million-rated Barnsley teenager John Stones

Stones could rock at the DW Stadium as Wigan race to sign 3m teen



23:16 GMT, 22 December 2012

Wigan are set to beat Chelsea, Sunderland, Manchester City and Everton to sign 3million Barnsley teenager John Stones.

The 18-year-old right-back has been impressive for the Championship club this season.

Looking to strengthen: Roberto Martinez

Looking to strengthen: Roberto Martinez

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez is
confident of bringing him to the DW Stadium in January by promising him
regular first-team football – something the big clubs are unable to do.

Martinez has already wrapped up a
deal for Honduras international Roger Espinoza and agreed to bring in
striker Chile Angelo Henriquez on loan from Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Michael Appleton's
problems as Blackpool manager continue, with former boss Ian Holloway
determined to take defender Neil Eardley to Crystal Palace.

Appleton, already facing a fight to
keep Tom Ince from Liverpool, does not want lose Eardley as well but
knows the player has a special relationship with Holloway, who signed
him soon after taking the job in 2009.

Burnley v Blackpool – match report

Burnley 1 Blackpool 0: Austin's early goal enough to see off Tangerines at Turf Moor



18:36 GMT, 20 October 2012

Charlie Austin continued his hot goalscoring streak by hitting the winner in Terry Pashley's first game in temporary charge of Burnley.

Austin has now scored eight goals in the last five npower Championship games and it was enough to beat an under performing Blackpool side.

The Clarets had the first sight of goal after Junior Stanislas surged into the box early on, but Stephen Crainey blocked the shot.

Come here: Isaiah Osbourne (right) is hauled back by Dean Marney

Come here: Isaiah Osbourne (right) is hauled back by Dean Marney


Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, McCann, Wallace, Marney, Stanislas (Paterson 75min), Stock (Bartley 69min), Austin (Vokes 86min)

Subs not used: Jensen, Edgar, Mills, Stewart

Goals: Austin 19

Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, M Phillips (Bruna 80min), Osbourne, Angel, Ince (Dicko 79min), Taylor-Fletcher, Delfouneso (Sylvestre 58min),

Subs not used: Halstead, Gomes, Eccleston

Attendance: 12,925

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

Click here for the latest Championship results, fixtures and table

Stanislas turned provider after 10
minutes when the League's top scorer, Austin, sprung the offside trap to
get on to the pass.

He controlled and volleyed towards the far corner
but Matt Gilks palmed the ball to safety.

The hosts made their dominance pay
eight minutes later, when Ross Wallace produced a wonderful inswinging
cross from the right and Austin headed into the roof of the net from
close range.

Ian Holloway's men had lost three of
their previous four games and struggled to make any inroads with only a
wayward shot from Tom Ince to show for their first half efforts, and it
was Burnley who continued to threaten.

With three minutes of the first half
remaining Gilks was called upon again after Austin's neat flick played
in Stanislas – but the Blackpool goalkeeper stood firm to parry for a

Wallace almost capped a lively half with a goal in stoppage-time but could only find the sidenetting with his free-kick.

The Clarets picked up where they left off in the second half, with Gilks needed to save from Austin to keep the deficit at one.

It took almost 10 minutes for Blackpool to register their first attempt of the half and it was Ince who had the opening.

Slipped in on the right, he elected to shoot at the near post but only found the sidenetting.

For the first time, Lee Grant was called upon and he produced a remarkable double save on the hour mark.

First, Crainey crossed for Alex
Baptiste to power a header towards goal and Grant flung himself to the
right to tip the ball onto the post.

The rebound fell to Gary Taylor-Fletcher with the goal at his mercy but Grant sprung to his feet to parry the ball to safety.

Despite being under more pressure,
Burnley always posed a threat and Austin was once again at the heart of
it with 15 minutes remaining.

He got himself between the two
centre-backs and powered a header towards goal from a Kieran Trippier
cross – but Gilks was equal to it.

Substitute Sam Vokes almost grabbed a
second for the Clarets in injury-time. Gilks thwarted them again but
the one goal was enough.

Blackpool 4 Middlesbrough 1

Blackpool 4 Middlesbrough 1: On-loan Villa striker Delfouneso at the double on debut

Sportsmail Reporter


21:22 GMT, 18 September 2012



21:43 GMT, 18 September 2012

Brace yourself: Delfouneso scored two goals

Brace yourself: Delfouneso scored two goals

Nathan Delfouneso enjoyed a full debut to remember as Blackpool stormed past Middlesbrough.

The on-loan Aston Villa striker netted twice in the first-half before laying on in-form winger Tom Ince to coolly finish 10 minutes after the interval.

By that point Andre Bikey had headed home to hand Boro a lifeline, but Tony Mowbray's side were second best for long periods as they fell to a third consecutive away loss.

Blackpool substitute Elliot Grandin was brought down by Bikey and rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot, despite Delfouneso being on the pitch to claim a hat-trick denied to him by the linesman's flag moments earlier.


Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Cathcart, Osbourne, Crainey, Ince (Matt Phillips 71), Ferguson, Baptiste, Gomes (Grandin 70),
Taylor-Fletcher (Dicko 70), Delfouneso.
Subs Not Used: Halstead, Robertson, Evatt, Kevin Phillips.
Goals: Delfouneso 10, 36, Ince 56, Grandin 86 pen.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Friend, Woodgate, Amougou, Leadbitter,
Thomson, McEachran, Carayol (Zemmama 72), Emnes (Jutkiewicz 59), Miller (Ledesma 77).
Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Hines, Arca, Smallwood.
Booked: Leadbitter, Thomson, Amougou.
Goals: Amougou 45.
Att: 12,746
Ref: Robert Madley (West Yorkshire).

Returning to winning ways after a draw and a loss, Blackpool remain second in the table – four points and six places above Boro.

Ian Holloway rang the changes in his well-stocked, fully-fit squad, recalling captain Barry Ferguson as one of six changes.

Mustapha Carayol made a first league start for Middlesbrough, coming in alongside fellow forward Marvin Emnes as Adam Reach and Luke Williams made way.

The home side started on the front foot with Gary Taylor-Fletcher driving speculatively wide before Ince stung the palms of Jason Steele.

It was not long until Delfouneso sprung the Boro defence to collect Taylor-Fletcher's pass and slide beyond the Middlesbrough goalkeeper.

Grant Leadbitter gave Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks his first work of the evening in the 12th minute, but opposite number Steele was far busier as he did well to thwart Taylor-Fletcher and Delfouneso.

Blackpool continued to pepper Steele's goal as recalled duo Stephen Crainey and Thiago Gomes joined the list of players to test him, but in the 34th minute Boro striker Ishmael Miller wastefully thrashed into the side netting when he had time and space to bag a scarcely merited equaliser.

Two minutes later Delfouneso side side-footed in from Ince's to give the scoreline a more deserving slant.

The 21-year-old passed up a glorious chance for a first-half hat-trick, blazing over after Ferguson and Taylor-Fletcher combined, before a flurry of pressure brought Middlesbrough back into the game as the interval approached.

Josh McEachran's corner was met by Bikey and struck the bar via a clip off defensive colleague George Friend.

Blackpool failed to completely clear their lines and, when Leadbitter put the ball back into the box, Bikey made no mistake.

Mowbray's men resumed with similar intent, but the Seasiders restored their two-goal advantage when, played in by Delfouneso, Ince calmly rounded Steele to finish.

Boro enjoyed more of the ball in the second half but, having conceded the third on the counter attack, displayed understandable caution and were rarely able to threaten Gilks.

Delfouneso stooped to head home Grandin's cross-come-shot, only for the celebrations to be cut short by the linesman's flag, before the latter added gloss to the scoreline four minutes from time.

Blackpool 2 Leeds 1

Blackpool 2 Leeds 1: Wantaway Phillips comes off bench to send Tangerines top of league



21:35 GMT, 21 August 2012

Wantaway winger Matt Phillips rose from the bench to earn Blackpool a win over Leeds at Bloomfield Road on a night when it had appeared as though the home side were going to get no luck at all.

Phillips' goal sent the Tangerines top of the npower Championship – albeit after just two games.

Blackpool had seen two strong penalty appeals turned down, Tom Lees open the scoring for Leeds and the outstanding Tom Ince consistently go close over the course of 64 barren minutes when manager Ian Holloway threw on Phillips and Nouha Dicko in a last throw of the dice.

In it goes: Matt Phillips came off the bench to score Blackpool's winner

In it goes: Matt Phillips came off the bench to score Blackpool's winner


Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Cathcart, Baptiste, Crainey, Osbourne, Gomes (Matt Phillips 64), Martinez (Dicko 64), Taylor-Fletcher, Kevin Phillips (Sylvestre 76),Ince.

Subs Not Used: Halstead, Grandin, Noguera, Harris.

Goals: Dicko 75, Matt Phillips 80.

Leeds: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, White (Pugh 79), Bryam, Norris, Austin, McCormack (Diouf 58), Becchio, Varney.

Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Drury, Kisnorbo, Brown, Gray.

Booked: Lees, Varney.

Goals: Lees 16.

Attendance: 14,315

Ref: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire).

Check out all the latest, stats, facts and table from the Championship

Fifteen minutes later the duo had
scored a goal apiece – both from a yard – as Leeds' tactics of holding
what they had backfired on them and left them heading back to Yorkshire
with a 50-50 record for the season.

Phillips' winner ensured that
Blackpool extended their winning start to the season and as he
celebrated with their fans there was no sign of the ill-feeling that has
been generated by his desire to leave and join Southampton.

After not picking the winger for
Saturday's win at Millwall, Holloway outed Phillips for handing in a
transfer request but made it clear he was not willing to part with his
prized asset.

Whether he keeps to that remains to be seen, but the former Wycombe man may now command a higher fee than he previously did.

For a time it had looked as though he
would not get the chance to be a hero, though, as he started on the
bench and Lees, the only alteration to Neil Warnock's side from the one
which beat Wolves, opened the scoring 15 minutes in.

Before that, however, it had been all
Blackpool with Paddy Kenny getting down well to his right to keep out
Tiago Gomes, while for a second it appeared as if Lees was going to see
more than the yellow he received for a studs-up tackle on Gary

Referee Dean Whitestone opted for
just a caution in the end and four minutes later Lees was climbing to
get on the end of Ross McCormack's corner and put his side ahead.

If Blackpool felt slightly aggrieved
by that they had further grounds for complain with 18 minutes gone when
the dangerous Ince went down in the box under Luke Varney's challenge,
only for Whitestone to wave away their appeals.

He was doing the same thing again not
long after when Lees appeared to handle the ball in the area, with
Kenny saving well from Alex Baptiste in the ensuing melee, not long
after he had kept out Kevin Phillips.

Kenny could not get near Ince's
cross-shot as half-time approached but nor could anyone else as it
flashed agonisingly wide, and the same duo went head-to-head in the
first minute of the second half, with the latter cracking the inside of
the post from 20 yards with the former beaten.

Had Ince been in the goalscoring form
he was when scoring twice at the weekend he could have had a hat-trick
but, as it was, he continued to let Leeds off the hook, this time
blazing over from 12 yards after Taylor-Fletcher's cross.

Frustrated by his side's bluntness in
front of goal Holloway made his changes with 24 minutes to play,
although his first act could have been to kick-off had Luciano Becchio
realised how much time he had when he went up for a header in
Blackpool's box.

It was Blackpool who remained the
more threatening side, though, and with 76 minutes they got the goal
which they had threatened for most of the night when Stephen Crainey
broke into the box on the left and gave Dicko the easiest task from a
yard out.

Leeds had received ample warning of
Blackpool's intentions but even after being stung once they remained
vulnerable and four minutes later, they were behind.

The goal was a carbon copy of the
first, with Ince playing the role of Crainey and Phillips that of Dicko,
with United seemingly unable to handle close-range balls into their box
before Ince nearly rounded things off when he hit the bar with a
long-range free-kick.

Gareth Bale pulls out of Wales friendly with Mexico in USA

Wales hit as Bale and four others pull out of Mexico game in New York



22:46 GMT, 20 May 2012

Gareth Bale has pulled out of Wales' friendly against Mexico in New York next Sunday, with five other first-choice squad members also withdrawing.

All six are listed as 'injury concerns' by the Football Association of Wales, who also confirmed Celtic's Joe Ledley, Blackpool's Neal Eardley, Cardiff's Darcy Blake, Sunderland's David Vaughan and Crystal Palace's Lewis Price would not make the trip to the United States.

No go: Tottenham's Gareth Bale will not travel to the USA with Wales

No go: Tottenham's Gareth Bale will not travel to the USA with Wales

Wales manager Chris Coleman has called up five players to replace the absentees.

Of those, Nottingham Forest's Joel Lynch, Swansea's Jazz Richards and Blackburn's Adam Henley are all uncapped.

Palace forward Jermaine Easter and Tranmere's Owain Fon Williams join them in what is now a 22-man squad.

Birmingham v Blackpool live

LIVE: Birmingham v Blackpool – follow the play-off semi-final action from St Andrew's



18:48 GMT, 9 May 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Championship play-offs as Birmingham host Blackpool at St Andrew's in their second leg semi-final. The Seasiders have the advantage after winning 1-0 in the first-leg at Bloomfield Road but the tie remains on a knife edge. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Birmingham 0-0 Blackpool (7.45pm)
Aggregate: 0-1

Birmingham: Doyle, Ramage, Davies,
Ibanez, Murphy, Burke, Spector, Mutch, Townsend, King, Zigic.
Butland, N'Daw, Elliott, Rooney, Redmond.

Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, Matt Phillips, Ferguson, Angel, Ince, Dobbie, Taylor-Fletcher.

Subs: Halstead, Southern, Kevin Phillips, Cathcart, Dicko.

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

All the latest from the Europa League final

1min: And after 10 seconds we have our first chance. Chris Burke seeing a powerful effort from the edge of the box blocked by Stephen Crainey – that's livened the home fans up.

Kick-off: City get us started here.

19.44: From InfostradaLive:

B'pool have won their last 10 PO matches, since their 3rd tier loss in '96, when Allardyce was their manager, who they could face in final.

19.42: The teams are out an an overcast but noisy St Andrew's.

19.40: Blackpool boss Ian Holloway spoke to Sky Sports:

'You will see a really good game. Seeing the two team sheets, they've popped a winger in.

are going to try and outscore them in this game. We've got 32 points
from losing positions this season – no one else has bettered that.'

19.37: Birmingham boss Chris Hughton spoke to Sky Sports:

'We've got to win, but Nikola Zigic would have been playing in one of the games anyway.

'Home or away they play the same way. I don't expect a change of philosophy, we can't afford to go gung-ho they are too good a side to threaten us.

'The emphasis is on us to win the game. It's the first full house of the season and the fans will be massive tonight.'

19.34: But despite that last post, I will predict one thing and that is we WILL have goals this evening. There hasn't been a 0-0 draw between these two teams since 1957 – and they have played each other enough times since then.

To put that into perspective, hardly anyone outside of Brazil would have even heard of Pele the last time these two produced a goalless display.

19.31: If there is anything I've learned about football this week, it's that recent results between teams are useless prediction factors for the future.

Before their play-off defeat at Bloomfield Road last Friday, Birmingham had won three out of the last four meetings between them and Blackpool – drawing the other.

19.26: Unlike the West Ham v Cardiff semi-final, this one is still too close to call – despite Blackpool having a slight advantage.

I hope it doesn't make for a cagey second-leg but at least we are set to have a contest that will stretch to 90 minutes.

The second leg at Upton Park earlier this week was over before half-time.

19.21: From OptaJoe:

5 – Five of the eight sides to win 1-0 at home in the first leg of a Championship play-off semi-final have reached the final. Slight.

19.16: With all due respect to Birmingham, I really do miss Blackpool from the Premier League.

There gung-ho style last season was very entertaining to watch so I'm not surprised manager Ian Holloway is set to go on the attack again this evening.

19.11: The full line-ups from St Andrew's:

Birmingham v Blackpool
Birmingham: Doyle, Ramage, Davies, Ibanez, Murphy, Burke, Spector, Mutch, Townsend, King, Zigic. Subs: Butland, N'Daw, Elliott, Rooney, Redmond.

Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, Matt Phillips, Ferguson, Angel, Ince, Dobbie, Taylor-Fletcher.
Subs: Halstead, Southern, Kevin Phillips, Cathcart, Dicko.

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

19.06: Speaking of the Europa League, there will be updates on the goals from the final between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao this evening, but our concentration mainly centres on the play-offs.

19.03: Big surprise for me is that Nathan Redmond is on the bench for Birmingham. I'll confess I haven't seen too much of him outside the Europa League this term – but he has always looked a livewire.

19.00: Blackpool starting XI:

Gilks, Crainey, Evatt, Baptiste, Eardley, Ferguson, Martinez, Dobbie, M Phillips, Ince, Taylor-Fletcher.

18.55: Birmingham starting XI:

Doyle, Ramage, Ibanez, Davies, Murphy, Burke, Spector, Mutch, Townsend, King, Zigic.

18.50: Of course who goes up won't be decided tonight. Who ever triumphs this evening will face West Ham on Saturday week at Wembley in the play-off final – traditionally a bonkers match where defences lose their sanity and it's goals galore. Always a personal favourite….oh and the winner is rewarded with a place in the Premier League.

18.45: Good evening folks, the Football League season may be over but there is something absorbing about the play-offs that make for essential viewing.

Last season in the Premier League, this fixture was very much on the lower undercard but tonight it is box office as both sides eye an instant return to the top flight. Team news on the way.

Even battle: Nathan Redmond (left) will hope home advantage can help Birmingham turn the tie around against Blackpool at St Andrew's in the second leg of the play-off semi-final

Even battle: Nathan Redmond (left) will hope home advantage can help Birmingham turn the tie around against Blackpool at St Andrew's in the second leg of the play-off semi-final

Blackpool 1 Birmingham 0: Curtis Davies own goal gives Seasiders narrow advantage

Blackpool 1 Birmingham 0: Davies own goal keeps Tangerines dreaming of another day at Wembley



20:36 GMT, 4 May 2012

The Tangerine dream remains alive. Ian Holloway has made no secret that he has unfinished business in the Barclays Premier League and last night his Blackpool side took a significant step towards settling that score.

An own goal by Curtis Davies gives Blackpool a lead to defend next Tuesday but it was the accomplished manner in which they coped with 90 frantic minutes that fired belief they will contest the play-off final.

Delight: Thomas Ince celebrates with his team-mates after breaking the deadlock

Delight: Thomas Ince celebrates with his team-mates after breaking the deadlock


Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey, Ferguson, Angel, Dobbie, Matt Phillips, Taylor-Fletcher, Ince.

Subs: Halstead, Southern, Kevin Phillips, Dicko, Harris.

Goal: Davies OG 45

Birmingham: Doyle, Ramage, Davies, Ibanez, Murphy, Burke, N'Daw, Mutch, Elliott, Redmond, King.

Subs: Butland, Townsend, Rooney, Zigic, Spector.

Referee: Mark Halsey

It has been an extraordinary 12 months
since they were relegated and, after a wretched summer, Holloway never
felt promotion would be possible. But Blackpool have the ability to keep
springing surprises.

There is always a feeling that the
play-offs will produce cavalier and unpredictable football, a sense that
those teams chasing the final place in the Barclays Premier League are
aware caution will lead to their dreams fading.

With that in mind, it was no surprise
that this contest began at a breakneck pace. Birmingham started the
better and, with sharper finishing, would have found themselves two
goals up inside the first 15 minutes.

Davies wasted the first chance. Rising
highest to meet a corner, Birmingham’s captain lacked the necessary
power and conviction to trouble Matthew Gilks and the manner in which he
sauntered back into position confirmed he should have done better.

Stopping his man: Guirane N'Daw challenges Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie

Stopping his man: Guirane N'Daw challenges Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie

Similar sentiments applied to Nathan
Redmond not long after when he blazed over the bar following a swift
break. Having run on to the ball under little pressure on the edge of
the box, it was wasteful in the extreme.

Stung by Birmingham’s sense of
ambition, Blackpool responded in kind. Tangerine shirts swarmed forward
whenever possible, trying to unsettle their visitors with pace and
skill. Scott Dobbie, so impressive in recent weeks, mustered their first
meaningful effort with a 25-yard drive.

With Holloway bellowing instructions
and bouncing around his technical area like jack-in-the-box, Blackpool
raised the tempo and Angel Martinez and Dobbie exchanged passes to tee
up an effort for Barry Ferguson but the Scot’s powerful effort whistled
just over the bar.

Fight for the ball: Matt Phillips and Wade Elliott tussle for the ball

Fight for the ball: Matt Phillips and Wade Elliott tussle for the ball

It would have been a surprise had the
first 45 minutes failed to produce a goal but, shortly before the
interval, Blackpool drew first blood and owed a lot to good fortune.
Though Thomas Ince’s shot was on target, it took a hefty deflection off
Davies and wrong-footed Colin Doyle.

The second half saw Birmingham giving
the ball away frequently when getting into good positions and their
sloppiness drew howls of frustration from the visiting supporters.

Those anxieties were well founded.
Blackpool started creating openings at will and had Dobbie and Gary
Taylor-Fletcher not snatched at chances, they could have made the second
leg a formality.

Watford 0 Blackpool 2: Stephen Dobbie scores twice

Watford 0 Blackpool 2: Dobbie double keeps Seasiders in play-off hunt



16:27 GMT, 6 April 2012

Stephen Dobbie's double cemented Blackpool's place in the npower Championship play-off spots and halted Watford's recent surge up the table.

The striker took his tally to four goals in two starts since rejoining Blackpool on loan from Swansea with a fine individual strike and a penalty.

There seemed little danger when Dobbie picked up the ball midway through the first half but he opened the scoring with a superb, jinking run into the penalty area and a neat finish.

At the double: Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie celebrates one of his two goals

At the double: Blackpool's Stephen Dobbie celebrates one of his two goals


Watford: Kuszczak, Doyley, Taylor, Nosworthy, Dickinson, Eustace, Yeates, Murray, Hogg, Deeney, Iwelumo.

Subs: Loach, Bennett, Buaben, Garner, Assombalonga.

Blackpool: Gilks, Eardley, Evatt, Baptiste, Harris, Dobbie, Southern, Angel, Taylor-Fletcher, Matt Phillips, Ince.

Subs: Crainey, Ormerod, Sylvestre, Ferguson, LuaLua.

Goals: Dobbie 25, 70

Referee: James Linington

Attendance: 16,314

And in the second half Dobbie, who
scored twice in last week's 3-0 win over Southampton, sealed Blackpool's
victory from the spot after Thomas Ince was brought down by Tomasz

The defeat brought an end to
Watford's seven-match unbeaten run which had raised hopes of
gatecrashing the play-offs at Vicarage Road.

Blackpool came close to finding the net after just five minutes but were thwarted by Kuszczak.

Ince's shot deflected off Martin
Taylor but the on-loan Manchester United keeper got a hand to the ball
and then scrambled back to scoop it off the line.

Watford had their chances in the early stages as well, with Sean Murray volleying over and Chris Iwelumo heading wide.

But it was the visitors who went ahead after 25 minutes thanks to Dobbie's superb piece of skill.

The Scot collected the ball 30 yards
out and carved his way into the penalty area, tip-toeing his way past
the entire Watford defence before coolly stabbing the ball past

The Hornets attempted to hit back before half-time but Matt Gilks saved from Troy Deeney's header and John Eustace drove wide.

After the interval Watford winger
Mark Yeates attempted to replicate Dobbie's effort when he side-stepped a
couple of challenges in the Seasiders' penalty area but his run was
blocked by Ian Evatt.

Blackpool were forced to make a
change on the hour when Gary Taylor-Fletcher suffered an injury and had
to be replaced by Barry Ferguson.

Ince had a chance to double their
advantage when Neal Eardley crossed from the right but the midfielder
was way off target with his volley.

At the other end Eustace tried a cheeky lob with Gilks having wandered off his line but the ball drifted wide.

Instead, Blackpool grabbed the killer
second after 70 minutes when Matt Phillips played in Ince, who was
tripped as he tried to round Kuszczak.

Referee James Linington pointed to
the spot and Dobbie made no mistake to secure another win for Ian
Holloway's side as they chase a return to the Premier League.

Fleetwood Town 1 Blackpool 5: Matt Phillips hat-trick settles Fylde coast derby

Fleetwood Town 1 Blackpool 5: Phillips hat-trick settles Fylde coast derby

Matty Phillips struck his second hat-trick in four games to shatter Blue Square Premier Fleetwood's hopes of pulling off an FA Cup upset over near neighbours Blackpool at windy Highbury Stadium.

The 20-year-old, who has now scored seven in four after returning from a successful loan spell at Sheffield United earlier this season, seized control late on after Micky Mellon's men had briefly threatened to make the headlines.

The non-league side were desperately unlucky not to reach half-time on level terms after dominating much of the first period and being denied by four superb saves by stand-in Blackpool keeper Mark Howard.

Hat-trick hero: Phillips (second left) is mobbed by his team-mates

Hat-trick hero: Phillips (second left) is mobbed by his team-mates


Fleetwood Town: Davies, Beeley, McNulty, Pond, Brown, Till, McGuire, Milligan (Clancy 82), Cavanagh, Mangan, Vardy. Subs not used: Stephenson, Vieira, Goodall, Briggs, Seddon, Charnock.

Goal: Vardy 70.

Blackpool: Howard, Eardley, Baptiste, Wilson, Harris, Angel (Kevin Phillips 84), Basham, Sylvestre, Matt Phillips, LuaLua (Taylor-Fletcher 82), Ince. Subs not used: Halstead, Evatt, Grandin, Hill, Cathcart.

Booked: Wilson.

Goals: LuaLua 24, M Phillips 47, 77, 81, Ince 55.

Referee: Dean Whitestone.

Attendance: 5,092.

And Blackpool also had to thank Howard
for another fine stop in the second half after Fleetwood hot shot Jamie
Vardy reduced the deficit and threatened to make it an anxious last half
hour for Ian Holloway's men.

Holloway had made his intentions clear by making only four changes for
his side's journey eight miles up the Fylde coast tram tracks to face a
Fleetwood side whose main goal this season is promotion to the Football

The visitors soon settled in their cramped surroundings, Phillips
forcing a save out of Fleetwood keeper Scott Davies in the 18th minute
before the hugely impressive Vardy headed just over from a Peter Till

Blackpool responded by snatching the lead in the 24th minute when Lomana
Lua Lua latched onto a through-ball from Bob Harris before chipping a
delightful opener over advancing keeper Davies.

But if the opener was designed to quash Fleetwood's enthusiasm for an FA
Cup upset it had the opposite effect as the home side poured forward
and could count themselves desperately unfortunate not to claw back

Head over heels: Lomana LuaLua celebrates scoring the game's opening goal

Head over heels: Lomana LuaLua celebrates scoring the game's opening goal

Tangerines keeper Howard pulled off a superb double save in the 27th
minute to deny first Vardy, who had drilled a low shot goalwards, and
Till whose header from the rebound was tipped over the bar.

And five minutes later Howard pulled off more heroics when he parried a
drive from Andrew Mangan before clinging onto a deflected shot from
Vardy from the resulting corner.

Mutual respect: Ian Holloway and Fleetwood boss Micky Mellon (right) embrace before the game

Mutual respect: Ian Holloway and Fleetwood boss Micky Mellon (right) embrace before the game

Blackpool almost stretched their lead in first-half injury-time when a
shot from Tom Ince was parried by Davies, and Phillips' follow-up was
blocked by Fleetwood captain Steve McNulty.

Phillips' curling effort into the top corner inside two minutes of the
restart appeared to have killed off Fleetwood's hopes of the second half
revival, but Mellon's men kept pressing and Varney flashed a header
onto the roof of the net.

Consolation: Jamie Vardy scored for Fleetwood

Consolation: Jamie Vardy scored for Fleetwood

Ince swept home Blackpool's third from a right-wing cross by Neil
Eardley in the 55th minute but the hosts were still not spent and got
their reward in the 70th minute when the dangerous Varney fired home.

The striker, whose 15 goals in 17 games to date this season have had
some of Blackpool's Championship rivals interested, stole into the left
side of the box and struck low past Howard.

I'll be having that: Phillips celebrates his third (above) then helps himself to the matchball after the game

I'll be having that: Phillips celebrates his third (above) then helps himself to the matchball after the game

I'll be having that: Phillips celebrates his third (above) then helps himself to the matchball after the game

Vardy briefly threatened to haul Fleetwood back into the game with
another swinging left-foot effort from a Mangan corner two minutes
later, which Howard once again saved superbly.

Phillips hit the post from long range in the 75th minute before wrapping
the game up with a late solo show, knocking in his second on 77 after
Lua Lua's initial effort was blocked, and completing his hat-trick nine
minutes from time.

Interested spectator: Ex-Blackpool captain Charlie Adam was at Highbury Stadium

Interested spectator: Ex-Blackpool captain Charlie Adam was at Highbury Stadium