Written by London Cherry
It was a momentous day in the London Cherry household as it was LLC (Little London Cherry’s) first Dean Court game. With an excited 7-year-old in tow, we made our pilgrimage to the south coast. Close to 3 1/2 hours later we made it!! No hope of selfies for the boy but the players were ready and so were we!
The game started at a breakneck speed with Zemura having an early chance after good work by Anthony. A fit-again (or so we thought) Stanislas then carved his way through the Blackpool defence to offer a chance to Solanke. He still had a lot to do but Dom drilled a right-footed shot that nestled into the net. A great start!
David Brooks seemed to have the infamous (well on here anyway!) Luke Garbutt on toast and once again the welsh wizard ran at the defender following an excellent cross-field ball by Kelly. Brooks popped the ball to Marcondes (on for the stricken Stan) who subsequently played a delightful ball into Dom who made it two with a stooping header! Quote from LLC at this stage “This is easy”. Bless him he hasn’t watched Bournemouth much!
For some reason, we then seemed to take our foot off the gas. Blackpool had a whipped free-kick saved by Travers and then from the resulting corner (I think) the ball pinged around the Cherries six-yard box and luckily just wide of the post. This period of pressure should have woken us up and it did briefly after a surging run by Brooks created an excellent chance for Phil Billing. However, the Danes left-footed shot just missed the front post when a right-footed whipped shot could have made it 3. Despite a bit more Blackpool pressure the half time whistle sounded and we were off for a chocolate half time treat!
The start of the second half brought with it the turning point of the match. An excellent through ball by Brooks gave Dom a 1:1 chance to make it 3-0 and surely game over. We held our breath as we expected the net to bulge but (from our view) Dom fatally hesitated with the Blackpool defender getting a toe-end clearance on the ball. The chance had gone. I wondered whether this would be the turning point and unfortunately, it proved to be.
A poorly timed tackle by Zemura (I think) resulted in a whipped Garbutt free-kick which hit Billing, then the post, before a gleeful James Husband prodded home into the top of the net. Could we have reacted better? Could someone have taken command of the situation? Perhaps an ex England international (aka Gary Cahill) might have made the difference.
The Seasiders (of the northern variety) tails were up. Another through ball had Ibsen Rossi caught the wrong side of his marker. An ill-timed tackle saw the Blackpool player fall to the ground. Initially, we thought we’d got away with it but the ref (after what seemed an eternity) pointed at the spot. Yates’ penalty was blasted down the middle and suddenly from 2-0 up and cruising it was 2-2. LLC wasn’t enjoying the second half nearly as much but at least he had his curly wurly’s still!
Anthony (who had been quiet second half, but so had most of the midfield) had half a chance straight after the goal but scuffed his effort. Ben Pearson (on as a sub for Kilkenny) then played a delightful ball over the top for Solanke but another last ditched tackle prevented the ex England man from restoring our lead. As the time ticked down one more Cherries corner gave us a final chance to snatch victory. A good delivery by Marcondes gave Dom another chance. For all the world we thought it was in, but as I envisaged curly wurly’s being thrown in the air, the Blackpool keeper managed an excellent finger tip save. One more corner came to nothing and the referee blew his whistle. 2-2 was the final score.
Man of the match against Blackpool
Travers 7: Didn’t do much wrong but I feel as though he needs to be more commanding at times especially from crosses.
Mepham 6: He’s not a right-back but he’s giving it a good shot for his team. Still has me on edge though with his occasional lack of focus with wayward passing.
Zemura 6: I thought Jordan had an excellent, rampaging first half but was caught out on more than one occasion in the second. Hopefully a learning experience.
Ibsen Rossi 6: He’s come from nowhere so I’m not surprised he looked a bit shaky at times. Has a good leap but was culpable for the penalty.
Kelly 6: Some good passing mixed in with some dithering. Would like Cahill/Cook alongside him to reassure him in the future.
Kilkenny 6: Another one who faded badly second half after an excellent opening period. This game was crying out for a character such as Lerma to help support the excellent talent that is our young Irishman.
Billing: 5: Off the pace for me yesterday. Needs to bully opposition more and for me, he was the one that was bullied by the Blackpool midfield.
Stanislas 6: Our made our glass midfielder only lasted 15 minutes but did set up the first goal for Solanke.
Anthony: 6: Part of an excellent opening period but his form dipped during the second half. Needs to work on his decision-making in the final third.
Brooks: 8 (first half) 5 (second half). Average 6.5: Had Garbutt on toast first half and pulled our strings. Second half we needed his creativity and he went missing.
Solanke: 8: Two well-taken goals but he could have had five! I thought he led the line really well and gave the Blackpool defence a torrid time. He’ll be kicking himself he hasn’t gone home with the match ball though.
Marcondes 5: On for most of the game due to Stan’s injury and despite a good assist for the second goal he was mostly ineffective. Need to see more of his undoubted talent.
Pearson: 6: Thought Ben was ok when he came on and Norwich gives Parker the chance to give him more game time.
Davis: 6: Didn’t see Leif do too much so will give him my favourite rating from today!
MOTM: For me, it was Dom today but oh it could have been a 10/10 performance!
LLC perspective: Long journey down south (Daddy should have left earlier). Lunch rushed in the car and no selfies with players. Note to Daddy leave earlier! “The ground is quite small Daddy”. “Welcome to Dean Court my boy, let’s show you the family brick outside the stadium”! Game is easy at 2-0. “When is half time, I want some chocolate!”. “Why are Blackpool fighting back and spoiling the game”. “At least we won a point, I’m pleased I came Daddy”. “Where can we eat nuggets for dinner?!”
LC thoughts: If ever there was a game of two halves this was it. We started superbly with our fluid front three causing all types of havoc to the Blackpool defence. If Dom could have made it three it could have been game over but it was not to be. Were we naive? Probably. Will this team learn from this? I hope so. One thing is for certain we must stay with them and keep supporting Scott and the team as it could be an exciting year. Ultimately it’s great to be back!
Waz afcb wrote…
Great report, thank you. A common consensus seems to be that we needed another midfielder to drop deeper and help out Kilkenny when building play. Think this is pretty obvious and hopefully Parker can see it. If we are to persist with this system then more pace at the top end of the pitch might be vital, giving us the option to go direct and mix it up. – Join the conversation, click here.