Report: Fulham 2 Blackpool 2It may be just one point, but Blackpool's draw at Craven Cottage on Wednesday could prove invaluable in terms on confidence, as Lee Clark's brave ten men got him off the mark as Pool boss.
It could have been so much more after The Seasiders found themselves 2-0 up in the first half, but they were forced to play 50 minutes a man light, and showed terrific character to earn a point.
Ishmael Miller and debutant Jacob Murphy had the visitors in front on Bonfire Night, but the sparks truly arrived when Tony McMahon received his marking orders for an apparent kick out.
Scott Parker and Bryan Ruiz replied for the hosts, and while Clark will be disappointed after throwing away a two-goal lead, he can take heart from the passion on show from his ten remaining men.
In Clark's first away game as Blackpool manager he couldn't have hoped for a better start. Donervon Daniels' cross was taken on the chest by Miller, who took his time and exquisitely found the bottom corner with the outside of his left foot.
The Seasiders had stunned their hosts, who could only respond with a Ruiz header which sailed over the bar.
However it was the visitors asking the questions, and they almost doubled their lead when Murphy skimmed the side-netting with a low drive.
A new found passion was spreading through the Pool team, and that was highlighted when Joe Lewis threw his body on the line to deny Hugo Rodallega.
And the stopper did even better soon after, using both hands to palm the striker's long-range effort away.
But when the second goal arrived it was fully deserved for Clark's men. Miller picked up the ball on the edge of the box and powered towards the by-line, before putting his cross on a plate for Murphy to tap home a debut goal.
The two were looking impressive together, and a swift breakaway involving Andre Blackman too saw Murphy set up Miller, who squandered the opportunity shooting at Marcus Bettinelli.
However with five minutes to go until half time the game took a twist, as the Blackpool captain McMahon got himself involved in some off the ball confrontation, and received a straight red card.
And the dismissal allowed the hosts to get themselves back in the game before the break, as Parker squeezed an effort between Lewis and his right-hand post.
It meant Blackpool went in for the break ahead, but they were now contesting a totally different match.
Half Time: Fulham 1 Blackpool 2
The Seasiders managed to halt Fulham for the first five minutes, with Jacob Mellis replacing Andrea Orlandi.
However inevitably it was now one-way traffic in favour of the 11 men, who saw Moussa Dembele spectacularly volley over, before George Williams side-footed wide of the mark.
Lewis was having a usual solid performance between the sticks and had to be at his best to palm away Elsad Zverotic's strike, before Dan Burn headed the following corner wide.
Williams was at it again soon after, but Lewis was equal to his long-range effort, while Nile Ranger replaced Miller, who had started to tire.
On 72 minutes Lewis pulled off his best save yet, tipping over a pile-driver from Nikolay Bodurov.
However the stopper was finally beaten a minute later with a fluke from the hosts. With Lewis under pressure, Ruiz' corner went all the way in to level matters, as Pool claims for a foul fell on deaf shoulders.
Clark opted to then change his side, with Nathan Delfouneso replacing Murphy, his final substitution.
With five minutes left Zverotic blazed over, after being allowed too much time on the right-hand side and Ruiz then wasted his own chance, shooting at Lewis as the minutes ticked away.
It proved the final chance of the contest, as Blackpool withstood more late pressure to earn a valuable point.
Full Time: Fulham 2 Blackpool 2
By Mark Ridgway