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Season Review - 4/4

Posted: Fri 24 May 2013
Author: Paul Cox

A Look Back At The Final Quarter Of The Campaign

This week we are looking back on what has been a highly eventful season at Bloomfield Road, reviewing everything from the managerial comings and goings to the impact of all those late goals... 

March started how February ended - with a 0-0 draw at home; this time against Bristol City, meaning Paul Ince would have to wait at least another few days for the first Blackpool goal under his stewardship.

Fortunately it came in the next league game against Birmingham City; the scorer was of course Kirk Broadfoot, which helped secure another point in the 1-1 draw at St. Andrews.

The Seasiders were on the road again a few days later as they made the long trip down to Hertfordshire to face high-flying Watford.

Ince's men were written off by a lot of the London-based journalists in the press room before a ball had been kicked that day, so it was particularly pleasing to see Gary MacKenzie bundle home the winner with his stomach with just a couple of minutes to play.

The Hornets started the game like a team heading for the Premier League but, like the reverse fixture earlier in the season, the second period was a different story and the introduction of Ludovic Sylvestre meant Blackpool enjoyed the majority of play and deservedly took all three points. 

They welcomed Peterborough United the week after and despite dominating the stats, were on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline, putting extra emphasis on the derby with Blackburn on Good Friday.

It was bookmarked as the first of the matches over the Easter weekend where Blackpool would go up against their two ex-managers, but with Michael Appleton having been given his P45 a week earlier, that wasn't to be the case.

The sides played out a 1-1 draw, in which Blackpool scored the opening goal for the first time in the league since the home game with Blackburn in mid-December.

Ian Holloway brought his fourth-placed Palace side to Bloomfield Road on Easter Monday, but found himself up against a Blackpool side full of grit and determination, who grabbed a 1-0 victory after Matt Phillips' stunning strike five minutes from time; that coming after Barry Ferguson was sent off shortly before the interval.

Pool were reduced to ten again the week after when Isaiah Osbourne saw red; but the side showed a degree of resoluteness again as they took a point from the City Ground.

Back-to-back 1-0 wins at Bloomfield Road were acquired when Sylvestre scored another cracker in the derby with Burnley, which certainly will have pleased the manager, who often said a 1-0 win is his favourite scoreline.

That result catapulted Blackpool up to 12th with 54 points, although they still weren't safe, as they sat just five points above the drop with four games to play.

A drab 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday nudged Blackpool in the direction of safety, before they were well beaten by a Brighton side who were firing on all cylinders in front of a packed Amex Stadium on a sunny day on the south coast.

They knew a win against Derby would diffuse any lingering doubt surrounding relegation and that is exactly what they did, although they won't have intended to leave it quite as late as they did.

The in-form Sylvestre fired home a volley 35 seconds into injury-time, ensuring the club's safety, while earning himself the accolade of Goal of the Season (voted by the fans) in the process.

That strike took Blackpool's total to 22 for goals scored in the final 15 minutes of league games in the 2012/13 season.

The pressure was off for the final game at Bolton, but you would have thought it was The Seasiders attempting to get in the play-offs as they ran into a 2-0 lead, playing the kind of football that sent them to the summit of The Championship in the early part of the campaign.

It ended in a 2-2 draw and thus meant Blackpool ended the season with 17 draws to their name.

Some likened the campaign to that of a plane journey - a good take-off and a comfortable landing, although there was some turbulence along the way.

It's a fair analogy of an eventful journey, after which Paul Ince paid tribute to the efforts of everyone at the club.

"It's been a great, great club effort from everyone involved," said Ince.

"Not just me, but Alex Rae, Tommo, the coaching staff, the players, the chairman and the fans; especially the fans as they've carried us over the line. We've all tried to be positive and that is what it needs, because this club has needed positivity since the day I walked in. 

"I now want to move forward and take the football club forward, not just on the football pitch, but the whole environment, the culture, the mindset on how we do things and having the right values."

If you want to relive all the moments from the 2012/13 season, the Season DVD is expected to be on sale from 1 June 2013 in the Official Club Shop.