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Match Report


Posted Sat 14 Jan 12 at 14:21 PM


Town were held to a 2-2 draw with Blackpool at Portman Road, despite leading by two goals earlier in the game.

An own goal from Angel Martinez and a header from Tommy Smith sent Town in front, before strikes from Elliot Grandin and Kevin Phillips pegged Blues back.

Paul Jewell made two changes to the side that faced Birmingham in midweek, with Luke Hyam and Josh Carson returning to the Town midfield in place of Daryl Murphy and skipper Grant Leadbitter.

Blues made a lively start to the game and came close to opening the scoring after just two minutes. Hyam won the ball in midfield and passed to Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who beat a couple of defenders before laying the ball off to Lee Martin, who crossed to the back-post where Jason Scotland was unfortunate not to connect.

But Town did take the lead after ten minutes. Good work again from Martin down the left-hand side saw him create enough space to cross for Scotland but Blackpool midfielder Angel Martinez stuck out a boot and diverted the ball past 'keeper Mark Howard and into the net.

Martin, who scored against Birmingham in the week, was looking lively and more good play from the winger saw him play in Scotland, but unfortunately the Trinidad striker was unable to get the ball under control after beating his marker and Blackpool were able to clear the danger.

Town were dominating proceedings though and came close to a second goal after 25 minutes.

A fine lofted pass from Aaron Cresswell released Josh Carson down the left and, after out pacing his marker, the Northern Irishman lobbed 'keeper Howard only to see the ball spin just the wrong side of the post.

Hyam, making his first league start of the season, was looking tidy in midfield and came close to adding to Town's lead just after the half hour mark, but his left-footed drive went just over the crossbar.

The visitors fashioned their first chance of the half after 38 minutes and should have equalised. The ball was played square to Lomana Lua-Lua who fired wide from 12 yards out.

Three minutes later Emmanuel-Thomas jinked his way into the Blackpool box before crossing across the goal for Martin, who was just beaten to the ball by Chris Basham who cleared behind for a corner.

Soon after referee Gavin Ward blew for half-time as Town went in ahead at the break.

Blues started the second half the better of the two sides and Martin saw a curling effort kept out by Howard just a minute after the restart.

Shortly after the winger was denied again, this time firing into the side netting, after being played in by Scotland.

Carlos Edwards also went close for Town after 59 minutes, hitting a long-range drive that stung the hands of Howard as the 'keeper turned the ball behind for a corner.

From the resulting corner Town doubled the advantage. Drury did well to chip the ball to the back-post where Smith was waiting to head home from close range.

Blackpool did respond to going further behind by bringing on Grandin and the midfielder played through Matt Phillips one-on-one with Alex McCarthy, but the Town 'keeper did well to force him wide as Smith got back to get a block in.

The England U20 international then fired over a minute later after creating space in the box.

The Seasiders were coming more into the game and pulled a goal back through substitute Grandin after 65 minutes.

Fellow substitute Kevin Phillips headed at goal and forced a fine save out of Alex McCarthy, but Grandin was on hand to head home from close range.

Town responded a minute later through Carson, who let fly at goal from distance but Howard was able to keep the ball out despite it taking a deflection on the way through.

Substitute Jimmy Bullard had shouts for a penalty turned down with 12 minutes remaining, after claiming his cross was turned away by the arm of Stephen Crainey, but the referee waved away the protests.

And shortly after Blackpool were on level terms, as Kevin Phillips kept his composure to fire past McCarthy and into the bottom corner after being sent through, with 80 minutes played.

Both teams were looking for a winner and Emmanuel-Thomas saw a driven shot kept out well by Howard, before Kevin Phillips was denied a second after a great save by McCarthy.

His namesake Matt then had a great opportunity to put the visitors in front after racing clear of the Town defence, but again McCarthy did well and saved his shot to keep the scores level with four minutes remaining.

Town came close to clinching a winner in injury time as Aaron Cresswell crossed for Martin, but the winger fail to make a clean connection and Howard was able to gather the loose ball and immediately after the referee called time on an entertaining game.

Town: McCarthy, Edwards, Sonko, Smith, Cresswell, Emmanuel-Thomas, Hyam, Drury, Martin, Carson (Bullard 71), Scotland (Priskin 69). Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Ainsley, Chopra.

Booked: Cresswell, Hyam

Blackpool: Howard, Wilson, Eardley, Baptiste, Crainey, Ince (Grandin 61), Basham, Sylvestre, Phillips, LuaLua (Taylor-Fletcher 52), Angel (Phillips 57). Subs not used: Evatt, Cathcart.

Booked: Basham

Att: 16, 497 (533 away)

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