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Match Report

 

Posted Wed 23 Sep 09 at 11:46 AM

Pool Edged Out In Seven Goal Thriller

Certain members of the assembled media at The Britannia Stadium scoffed at the fact Ian Holloway had made eight changes to his side for the Carling Cup clash with Stoke, one hack even belly laughed at the fact Pool were concentrating on the Championship rather than focussing their attention on the League Cup, whilst another hack found it amusing that The Potters next game was against Manchester United whilst Pool's is against Peterborough United, those who laughed at The Seasiders will have gone home impressed with Ian Holloway's men and even the most ardent of Stoke fan will admit their team were a tad lucky to have won the game.

Had either of the Ferguson's been present they will have been impressed with the slick football Pool tried to play in opening exchanges and I am sure both will have had a kind word for the debutant 18 year-old defender Ashley Eastham. Eastham, a product of the Seasiders youth team could have not asked for a tougher test, even half full, the Britannia Stadium can cut an intimidating place to play, but for the former Carr Hill School pupil to be up against a former England international in James Beattie and Stoke's five million pound Turkish international Tuncay the big defender could have been nervous and overawed but to his credit the centre back equipped himself exceptionally well and settled in well alongside Alex Baptiste, Rob Edwards and Joe Martin who slotted in at left back in place of the rested Stephen Crainey.

Pool more than matched their hosts in the opening twenty minutes or so and whilst a couple of set plays tested the Seasiders defence stood firm.

At the other end, Ben Burgess rattled the post but his effort would have been chalked off for offside, whilst Jay Emmanuel-Thomas dragged one wide on 26 minutes from 20 yards following a neat move down the Pool right.

Skipper for the night Charlie Adam almost broke the deadlock when he tried to lob Steve Simonsen from just inside the Stoke half, Adam who netted last season in a reserve game at Accrington from a similar distance spotted the Stoke stopper off his line and saw his cheeky lob drop on the roof of the net with Simonsen scrambling.

Tony Pulis sporting his traditional baseball cap was becoming more and more animated as the first half wore on and the aforementioned cap was almost thrown to the floor in frustration on 36 minutes when Liam Lawrence spurned the Potters best chance of the half, the former Sunderland and Mansfield man burst clear down the left channel but the wideman referred to as Lennie Lawrence in commentary by Steve Canavan fired straight at Matthew Gilks.

The frustration increased on the face of Pulis when the Seasiders possession and endeavour was rewarded with the opening goal of the evening on 40 minutes , once again Charlie Adam was instrumental, Pool's record signing slipped a reverse ball into the path of DAVID VAUGHAN and the Welsh international took a touch before firing beyond Simonsen from 20 yards.

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Two minutes later Lawrence fired straight at Gilks, but it was former Pool loanee Andy Wilkinson who denied Pool a second, a teasing corner caused the hosts defence all kinds of problems and they were indebted to the impressive Wilkinson to clear their lines.

The half time whistle was greeted by a standing ovation by the magnificent Pool support and a chorus of boos from the disappointed Stoke faithful.

Half Time Stoke City 0 Blackpool 1

The second half was less than two minutes old when Billy Clarke forced Simon Simonsen to turn behind for a corner, the resulting corner saw David Vaughan trot out to the left wing and float a magnificent cross to BILLY CLARKE who unmarked powered a fantastic header beyond Simonsen to send the travelling Tangerine Army into hysterics.

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The goal prompted Stoke into an aerial bombardment on 50minutes Pool were indebted to David Vaughan who timed a last ditch tackle to perfection to deny Lawrence who found himself through on goal. James Beattie then headed the resulting corner wide as Pool weathered the storm

Having been an anonymous figure for the majority of the game referee Lee Probert caused controversy when he awarded the hosts a penalty when Alex Baptiste and Ashley Eastham challenged Tuncay inside the box, in typical Premiership fashion, Tuncay went to ground very easily and despite the Pool protests Probert pointed to the spot.

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Liam Lawrence stepped up to take the kick and was denied by a fantastic save by Matthew Gilks.

Pool's two goal advantage prompted one Stoke fan to vent his spleen at Pool boss Ian Holloway and the usually light hearted jovial Holloway was clearly upset with the abuse his received and asked the steward to remove the offender who had clearly over stepped the mark.

The otherwise exemplary David Vaughan was caught in possession on 61 minutes, James Beattie the ball fell to Beattie who lazily fired wide.

Midway through the second half Pulis threw on Ricardo Fuller and Matthew Etherington in place of Tom Soares and James Beattie

Attempts on the Stoke goal were few and far between after the Seasiders doubled their lead, Charlie Adam did fire a long range free kick just over .

Pool were riding their luck and the previously resilient defence was beginning to look ragged and on 73 minutes Tuncay wasted a fantastic chance, once again the Pool defence was opened up, the ball fell to the Turkish international who had all the time in the world to fire beyond Gilks, but the five million pound forward casually blazed over.

Stoke's pressure finally paid off on 75 minutes when DANNY HIGGINBOTTOM headed home following another deep teasing corner.

A minute later Billy Clarke curled a free kick straight at SImonsen but it was the hosts who looked more likely to score, and on 78 minutes Stoke pulled themselves back on level terms when MATTHEW ETHERINGTON fired into the top left hand corner.

The Stoke fightback had Pool reeling and after Jay Emmanuel-Thomas had a shot blocked Stoke countered RICARDO FULLER rode a tired challenge from Eastham to burst forward with the Pool defence scrambling the former Preston man fired home.

Less than two minutes after Stoke had clawed their way into the lead, Pool pulled themselves back on to level terms when BEN BURGESS headed a fantastic run and cross from Joe Martin.

Two minutes later Pool made their first change of the evening when Neal Eardley replaced the shattered Ashley Eastham, Eastham will sleep well tonight and will remember his professional debut. The change saw Baptiste switch to his preferred centre back role with Eardley taking the right back spot.

Both teams had chances to win the game before the fourth official showed five minutes of stoppage, Ben Burgess fired straight at Simonsen for Pool whilst Stoke were denied on two occasions by some great goalkeeping by Gilks.

In the first mi Pool made their second change of the night when Hameur Bouazza replaced Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

Charlie Adam tried his luck with another cheeky lob from long range in the 93rd minute then disaster struck, Charlie Adam tried to dummy his way out of trouble but Andy Griffin was alert to Adam's intention and the former Newcastle man made no mistake to fire home and break the hearts of the Seasiders.

Ollie

Gilks, Baptiste, Eastham (Eardley 83), Edwards, Martin, Bangura, Adam, Vaughan, Clarke, Burgess, Emmanuel-Thomas (Bouazza 90) Subs: Halstead, Crainey, Southern, Euell, Ormerod,

Attendance: 13957 (1471 Away)

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