Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Match Report: Blackpool 0 Derby 1

Blackpool fell to their first defeat of the campaign as they were beaten 1-0 by Nigel Clough's Derby County.Despite dominating possession for much of the game the Seasiders couldn't find a way past the resilient Rams.Stephen Crainey had Blackpool's best opportunity of the first-half when his cross-shot was deflected narrowly over the bar, before the visitors took the lead through a second-half strike from Craig Bryson.The hosts continued to push for a leveller, with Taylor-Fletcher hitting the post late on, but Derby held on to end the Tangerines' 100% record and retain their own perfect start.It was a meeting of two teams with identical records at Bloomfield Road as the pair went head-to-head having both taken six points from their opening two Championship fixtures.Ian Holloway had stressed the importance of experience prior to the encounter and with that in mind there was one change to the side from the weekend, with Matt Hill replacing Craig Cathcart at the heart of the back four.Given the close proximity between the sides in the table, it was little wonder that the opening 45 minutes resembled a game of chess, with Blackpool dominating possession and the visitors happy to play on the counter-attack.Chances were few and far between as Holloway's side attempted to crack the Derby code, but Taylor-Fletcher's early cross along the six-yard box at least had the visitors' defence worried.Jamie Ward fizzed a carbon-copy effort across the face of Matt Gilks' goal on eight minutes, but the Tangerine Army had to wait until the 21st to witness the first effort of note, as Taylor-Fletcher drew a decent save from Frank Fielding with a 20-yard drive.A lack of pace in the Blackpool attack was telling but with Stephen Crainey an ever-willing runner down the left-hand side, the Scotsman very nearly gave his side the lead right on half-time.Taylor-Fletcher and Kevin Phillips combined well and the latter slid Crainey in on goal, but his drilled cross was deflected over the bar by a brilliant block from Bryson - when a shot was perhaps the better option.

The second-half continued in similar vein - Kevin Phillips was hungry to add to his weekend brace and he very nearly did when Taylor-Fletcher laid the ball into his path after a mazy run, but his drilled, 20-yard shot flew wide.Holloway sent on Billy Clarke in place of the tireless Brett Ormerod, in an attempt to break the stalemate.But, no sooner had the change been made and the Seasiders were a goal behind against the run of play.Rams striker Steven Davies lined up a free-kick 25 yards from goal, but while Gilks did well to palm his powerful effort away, Bryson reacted quickest to slot the rebound into the far corner.

The lead was flattering for a Derby side who had shown little ambition in the final third and it was the home side who continued to seize the initiative, with Taylor-Fletcher hitting the post with a shot from just inside the box after another winding run.

Elliot Grandin then made way for Tom Ince for the youngster's first taste of league action in tangerine and his impact gave the Tangerines a new dimension in attack.

A one-two with Clarke set the 19-year-old free inside the box on 80 minutes, but just as he looked to pull the trigger Taylor-Fletcher took the ball off his toes and denied him of a golden opportunity to level.

Craig Sutherland replaced Matt Hill late on as Holloway threw caution to the wind, but still they couldn't find a way past Clough's resilient side.

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