Friday 27 April 2018

Holloway sees past the gloom

Blackpool 1 Newcastle United 1

Darren Witcoop

With every game that passes, Blackpool's plight deepens. While Ian Holloway, the Blackpool manager, may not admit it, he will know his struggling side let their big chance pass them by. Failing to end a seven-match winless run could come back to haunt them next month.



These are the games Blackpool must win if they are to survive, especially given the run-in that includes trips to White Hart Lane and Old Trafford. Newcastle looked jaded, most probably from their exploits in holding Manchester United just 96 hours earlier, and were certainly there for the taking. "That display will give fans belief and lift doom and gloom," said Holloway. "We know how tough it is, but that is more like my team.

"Last year they finished 32 points above us, and now they are seven points above us. What an improvement that is. Some of my fans need to see that. We shouldn't do what we are doing with our budget."

Holloway's positive mantra certainly rubs off on his players. Yet despite having changed their back four once again, their defensive problems followed them around. Charlie Adam was caught napping and Peter Lovenkrands picked up the loose ball to drive home for the 17th-minute opener.

Yet on the front foot Blackpool are a match for most having never failed to score on home soil this season and they didn't disappoint again. Adam's corner was helped on by DJ Campbell and the assistant referee Peter Kirkup deemed the ball had crossed the line before Jose Enrique's clearing header in the 32nd minute.

Blackpool were given the benefit of the doubt, but they were fuming after another contentious incident two minutes later. Danny Simpson appeared to handle the ball yet the referee waved away protests. Holloway's mood, as he remonstrated from the dugout, wouldn't have been helped by Gary Taylor-Fletcher heading just over on the hour mark before Adam's 65th-minute shot rattled back off the post.

It summed up their afternoon and their last two months. "If it was a boxing match, you would give it to them for sure," admitted Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager.

Observer

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