Seasiders Held After Stoppage-Time Goal
Dexter Blackstock’s late equiliser denied Blackpool a return to winning ways, as Nottingham Forest snatched a 2-2 draw at Bloomfield Road.
An inspired return to first team action from Elliot Grandin looked to have given the Tangerines all three points after he cancelled out Billy Sharp’s opener and then set up Gary Taylor-Fletcher to give Blackpool the lead.
However Blackstock struck in the 90th minute to ensure Sean O’Driscoll’s side left the seaside with a share of the spoils.
In a bright start for both teams, a clever one-two with Thomas Ince provided Stephen Crainey with a sight of goal, but the Scottish full-back could only find the foot of the post with his close-range effort. At the other end, Chris Cohen saw his appeals for a penalty turned down when he went down in the box under a challenge from Ian Evatt.
Forest should’ve taken the lead with the game’s first clear-cut opening in the 11th minute, when Dan Harding got swung in a ball towards an unmarked Simon Cox. Cox looked as though he may have thought he was offside, but the flag stayed down as the Irishman blazed his shot wildly over the bar.
Cox would then be outdone by his strike partner Sharp, who managed to force a smart stop from Matt Gilks with a left-footed strike.
The former Doncaster Rovers hitman would only have to wait a matter of seconds to open the scoring however, after Andy Reid found Cohen with the resulting corner. The midfielders first shot was blocked, but he managed to head the rebound into the path of Sharp, who cleverly hooked the ball into the top corner.
BLACKPOOL 0 NOTTTINGHAM FOREST 1
Despite both Matt Phillips and Ince looking lively in attack, The Seasiders were struggling to create any real chances. Tiago Gomes’s speculative 25 yard effort flew wide, before Taylor-Fletcher just failed to reach a dangerous looking ball into the box from Crainey.
Neal Eardley then fired well over from an Ince lay-off, to encapsulate a frustrating first half for Ian Holloway’s side.
HALF-TIME: BLACKPOOL 0 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1
The start of the second half in many ways mirrored the beginning of the first, with both teams playing at a high tempo and looking dangerous in attack. Both sides were guilty of failing to test the opposition goalkeeper however, as long-range efforts from Reid, Phillips and Gomes all flew off-target.
That promising opening looked to have petered out soon after though, prompting Holloway to introduce Grandin, Nathan Delfouneso and Nouha Dicko from the bench.
In his first appearance since the 4-1 over Middlesbrough in September, it was Grandin who made the desired impact. The Frenchman arrived in the box to perfectly meet Phillips’ cross and head the ball past Lee Camp in the 70th minute.
BLACKPOOL 1 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1
After failing to score in three of their previous four outings, the sense of relief around Bloomfield Road was palpable and The Seasiders took the lead almost instantly. Again Grandin was involved - this time his persistent running eventually meant the ball found its way to Taylor-Fletcher, who placed his shot perfectly to beat Camp from 12 yards.
BLACKPOOL 2 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1
Forest had been stunned by two goals in five minutes, but they continued to press for an equaliser. Sharp arguably should’ve found the target when well placed in the area, but he uncharacteristically fired wide.
Having rolled the dice to try and get back into the game, The Seasiders then found themselves having to defend a lead with a side filled with forwards for the last 15 minutes. They almost held out, but their resistance was ended by Blackstock, who pounced on a cross from Reid and squeezed a shot past Gilks from six yards.
BLACKPOOL 2 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 2
FULL TIME: BLACKPOOL 2 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 2
Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Evatt, Baptiste, Eardley (Dicko 68), Sylvestre (Delfouneso 68), Gomes (Grandin 58), Osbourne, Phillips, Ince, Taylor-Fletcher