Report: Blackpool 1 Birmingham City 1
Curtis Davies’s second half equaliser was enough to deny Michael Appleton his first win as Blackpool boss, as the Tangerines were held to a 1-1 draw by Birmingham City.
Thomas Ince opened the scoring in the first 20 minutes with a left footed strike from inside the area, before Davies converted a Wade Elliot corner to make it four consecutive draws for The Seasiders.
Blackpool had looked to carve an early opening down the left when Stephen Crainey played a one-two with Tiago Gomes to give himself space to cross. The Scottish full-back’s first time effort looked to be heading toward Kevin Phillips, before Paul Robinson got back quickly to head the ball over for a corner.
Before the game manager Appleton had impressed on his side the importance of getting the first goal and The Seasiders duly delivered in the 17th minute.
Again Phillips looked to get on the end of a cross, this time when Kirk Broadfoot fired in from the right. The former Birmingham striker saw his shot blocked, but the ball fell into the path of Ince, who managed to find the bottom corner of the goal despite being off balance.
BLACKPOOL 1 BIRMINGHAM CITY 0
Free from the pressure of having to chase a game, Blackpool were soon looking to add to their lead. Nathan Delfouneso cut inside from the left and let fly with a shot which appeared destined for the top corner of the goal, before Jack Butland stuck out a hand to palm it over the bar.
Pool had the ball in the net from the resulting corner. A well worked move found Ince with the ball in space in the area. The goalscorer’s shot rebounded back off the bar, but was turned in on the line by Phillips. However on this occasion the linesman’s flag denied the 39-year-old a second goal in four days against one of his former clubs.
Blackpool then had an appeal for a penalty turned down, after Broadfoot cleverly knocked the ball over Robinson and looked to burst into the box. The former Rangers man then went down under a challenge from Robinson, but referee Craig Pawson waved away his protests for a spot-kick.
Isaiah Osbourne then saw his 25-yard effort deflected tamely into Butland’s arms, before the visitors registered their first shot on target in the 43rd minute. Jonathon Spector’s mis-hit cross from 30 yards looked to be dipping under the crossbar but Matt Gilks comfortably pushed it over for a corner.
HALF TIME: BLACKPOOL 1 BIRMINGHAM CITY 0
Birmingham had rarely looked a threat in the first half, but started the second brightly and found themselves level inside three minutes. A corner from Wade Elliot landed perfectly onto the head of Davies, and the defender managed to get enough on the ball to direct it beyond Gilks.
BLACKPOOL 1 BIRMINGHAM CITY 1
The Seasiders nearly found their way back into the lead when Gomes found himself free in the box. The Portuguese midfielder’s cross was blocked by a despairing tackle from Davies, which almost took the ball into his own goal, but instead deflected off the post for a corner.
Gomes then found Phillips with his corner, but the veteran frontman couldn’t direct his header on target.
Lee Clark’s side then had their own chance to go in front, when Peter Lovenkrands got the better of Alex Baptiste in the box. The Danish winger fired his shot past Gilks, but it struck the underside of the bar. Marlon King’s cross back into the box then provided Elliot with a chance to test the Blackpool ‘keeper, but his strike sailed over.
Ince has scored some fantastic goals already this season, and was hoping to add another to his collection when he fired towards goal from 30 yards. His effort was close enough to have Butland diving at full-stretch, but in the end it flew just over the bar.
Wes Thomas and Nouha Dicko were both introduced from the substitutes bench, but clear cut chances were at a minimum as the game neared its end. The final opening fell in stoppage time to Thomas, but he couldn’t generate the power required on his header to trouble Butland from the edge of the area.