Seasiders Victorious In Southern's Testimonial
Keith Southern waved a fond farewell to Bloomfield Road as Blackpool beat Everton 2-0 in his testimonial.
The midfielder, who now starts a new chapter in his career with Huddersfield, led out The Seasiders to rapturous applause before departing 15 minutes in to the fixture.
The game was one of many positives for manager Ian Holloway, having utilised his squad in two fixtures over the weekend to gain valuable minutes on the field.
Goals from Alex Baptiste and James Caton ensured that Southern’s final time in tangerine ended on a happy note.
Marouane Fellaini thought he’d put Everton a goal up inside the first three minutes when he nodded the ball past Mark Halstead, yet the linesman was quick to signal for offside.
Tom Ince was looking extremely lively on the right of a front three for The Seasiders, turning the Everton defence inside and out on a number of forages forward. He tried his luck from distance on 12 minutes but struck wide of Jan Mucha’s post.
Gerardo Bruna then stung the palms of Mucha moments later with an effort from 30-yards. Southern then received well-deserved round of applause following 10 years of loyal service to the cause when departing 15 minutes. Isaiah Osbourne was the man to replace him in the middle of the park.
The link-up play between Nikica Jelavic and Steve Naismith was a promising sign for the visitors, with the latter racing on to a flick-on and forcing a fine save out of Mark Halstead.
Isaiah Osbourne shaped and open fire at goal from 25-yards with 34 minutes on the clock, forcing another fine save out of Mucha. Some mazy footwork from Tom Ince helped him drift inside the box but his resulting effort was high and wide.
The Seasiders were forced into an early change six minutes prior to half-time, Ash Eastham left the field with a head wound to be replaced by Craig Cathcart. It meant that the Northern Ireland international would have to make his second outing in 24 hours for the club.
HALF-TIME SCORE: BLACKPOOL 0 EVERTON 0
Everton made three substitutions at the break, with Tim Howard, Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe coming on for Jan Mucha, Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic.
It was a player that had remained on the field, Marouane Felliani, who had the first effort after the restart, blasting the ball over from distance.
A surging run from Isaiah Osbourne led to Gary Taylor-Fletcher in a good position but his strike deflected into the arms of Tim Howard.
The Seasiders were dominating possession in the second-half and dictating the majority of play. Everton’s main threat was coming on the counter with Naismith and Anichebe.
The dominance paid off on 63 minutes when Alex Baptiste headed home a Gerardo Bruna corner to give Pool the lead.
BLACKPOOL 1 EVERTON 0
The visitors looked to hit back within minutes of the restart but Leon Osman’s tame strike was gathered easily by Halstead. At the other end Tom Ince had an opportunity to put Blackpool two goals up.
Manager Ian Holloway made a raft of changes on the 70-minute mark with Tuesday’s other pre-season encounter against Swansea in mind. Matt Challoner, Liam Tomsett, Adda Djeziri, Curtis Thompson, James Caton and Louis Almond came on for Eardley, Martinez, Sylvestre Taylor-Fletcher, Bruna and Ince.
A couple more switches in personnel for Everton followed, taking a little fluidity out of the game temporarily.
Louis Almond had a fine opportunity to secure a victory for Blackpool after dispossessing Shane Duffy but he fired wide after rounding Howard.
The Seasiders finally made it two towards the end of the game when trialist James Caton latched on to a ball over the top from Curtis Thompson and powered the ball past Howard.
FINAL SCORE: BLACKPOOL 2 EVERTON 0