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Match Report


Posted Tue 08 Dec 09 at 21:56 PM

Full Time Report From The Riverside

The jinx of the Pool team coach driver struck again on Tuesday morning when the now infamous "Sat Nav" took us through the centre of Darlington, past the Old Feethams ground twice past Darlington's new stadium twice before eventually arriving out our luxurious hotel, such was the luxury of the team hotel several of the players sought information from hotel staff for weekend breaks with their loved ones.

Having enjoyed a wonderful lunch the staff then headed to the Riverside to unload the kit ahead of the game only for the coach driver to endure another nightmare with his Sat Nav, eventually we returned to the hotel for a couple of hours rest and relaxation.

With the problems of the Sat Nav behind uswe had a problem free trip back to the ground, however the evening didn't get off to the best start when a slightly intoxicated 'Boro supporter stopped me on the staircase en route to the press box to ask me why I was wearing an orange tie, I politely informed him the tie was in fact Tangerine and that I was an employee of the mighty Pool, he then let me know in no uncertain terms that his team would be back in the Premier League next season and that it his beloved 'Boro would run out resounding winners, come the full time whistle my drunken acquaintance was nowhere to be seen, in think the phrase is he who laughs last laughs the longest!

There is no doubt the Riverside is an immaculate stadium and worthy of the top division but Pool were not overawed when the hosts began proceeding and it was the Seasiders in a change kit of white shirts and Tangerine shorts that had the first chance of the evening, when Charlie Adam flashed a free kick across the face of goal.

Pool found themselves a man short on ten minutes when Rob Edwards was forced out of the action to receive stitches following a clash of heads with David Kitson, with Edwards being stitched up, Alex Baptiste switched to his preferred centre back role with Keith Southern being asked to fill in at full back.

After five minutes of playing with ten men, Ian Holloway made a change deciding to replace Edwards with Neal Eardley and the Welsh international's first test was to face the on rushing Adam Johnson who skipped past the former Oldham man before seeing his powerful strike beaten away by Rachubka.

The Seasiders won the first corner of the evening on 17 minutes when Keith Southern's effort was blocked behind, however, Barry Bannan'sresulting set play was cleared with ease by the hosts defence.

Paul Rachubka back in the team for the first time in eight games was forced in to a fine reflex save moments later when Dave Kitson wriggled free to power a header towards goal.

The deadlock was broken on 21 minutes and it came the way of the Seasiders, Barry Bannan picked up the ball wide on the left and threaded a great ball to GARY TAYLOR-FLETCHER, the front man took a touch and managed to get free of his man before curling an exquisite finish past former Pool loanee Brad Jones in the Middlesbrough goal.

With the natives getting restless, Pool doubled their lead on 26 minutes, Charlie Adam threaded a great ball to GARY TAYLOR-FLETCHER who once again took a great touch before curling a great finish beyond Brad Jones.

Charlie Adam almost made it three nil on the half hour when his sweetly struck free kick whistled past Brad Jones right hand post.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher was denied a hat trick when he nodded a great cross from Brett Ormerod straight at Brad Jones on 33 minutes.

Brett Ormerod got in behind the 'Boro defence on 35 minutes but he could only direct his finish into the side netting as Pool continued to dominate.

The interval was met by a chorus of jeers and boos from the Middlesbrough faithful but in direct contrast the travelling Tangerine Army was in full voice.

Half Time Middlesbrough 0 Blackpool 2

The interval saw the hosts make a change with Rhys Evans making way for Tony McMahon who made two appearances for Pool two seasons ago.

The hosts obviously received a rocket half time and Gordan Stachan's men began the second period with a sense of urgency and probed Pool without really testing Paul Rachubka and it was David Vaughan who almost opened the scoring in the second period, the hosts had made a hash of clearing a Charlie Adam free kick and the ball fell to Vaughan on the edge of the area and the diminutive Welshman saw his piledrive whistle just wide with Jones beaten.

Boro were forced to make a change on the hour when Gary O'Neill left on a stretcher it was not a sight any football supporter would ever want to see and I am sure every Pool wishes the former Portsmouth man a speedy recovery. O'Neill was replaced by Mark Yeates who netted twice for Colchester at Bloomfield Road two seasons ago.

Mark Yeates involvement in the game as immediate, minutes after coming off the bench the former Colchester man caused Pool problems down the right hand side, the first occasion, Rachubka had to block behind, Yeates then found St Ledger with a corner and the former Preston man was denied by a fine block, the ball back out to Yeates who drove straight at Rachubka.

Middlesbrough were enjoying their best period of the game and Ian Evatt was a relieved man when he scuffed Johnson's cross behind for a corner.

Having weathered the storm Pool began to settle and pass the ball in the same crisp manner as they did in the first period.

Shortly after Middlesbrough threw on Didier Digard Pool made it 3-0 and ensured the points were heading back to the Fylde Coast when CHARLIE ADAM waltz through the hosts defence to smash past the advancing Brad Jones.

Prior to the restart Pool made a double change when Jason Euell and Al Bangura replaced the shattered pair of Barry Bannan and Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

Middlesbrough's woe was complete in stoppage time when Dave Kitson found himself through on goal, but the Stoke loanee fired wide.

Going back to the start of this match report, you will recall I began by mentioning the jinxed coach driver, what I didn't tell you is that in the summer he was Worcestershire County Cricket Club's driver and they didn't win an away game, he, like the rest of us was beaming at full time!

POOL: Rachubka, Baptiste, Evatt, Edwards (Eardley 15), Crainey, Adam, Southern, Vaughan, Ormerod, Taylor-Fletcher (Euell 84) , Bannan (Bangura 84) Subs Not Used: Gilks, Martin, Bouazza, Demontagnac.

18089 (836 Away)

REFEREE: Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire)

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