Blackpool 0:0 Leicester City
This was a dour contest between two out-of-form sides on a pitch that resembled a cabbage patch and whilst City may feel they did enough to win, the truth is that neither side deserved all 3 points.
Nigel Pearson gave a debut to new loan signing, Harry Kane (who bears a striking resemblance to Chris Wood from a distance by the way) and played three up front with Knoackaert making way for Kane. The only other change was Andy King back for the injured Matty James. City started well and were playing a lot of football in Blackpool’s half but with no real end product and it was becoming clear early on that the pitch was going to be a problem. It cut up very badly and there seemed to be more sand on the pitch than the nearby beach. The afternoon was punctuated with sliced passes, poor control and simple balls going astray; the beautiful game it wasn’t!
Kasper Schmeichel saved early on from Taylor-Fletcher who seemed certain to score from close in before Harry Kane brightened up the half with a stunning first-time shot out of nowhere that Gilks did well to keep out. Soon after Ben Marshall has Gilks scrambling across his goal with a run and an effort that hit the side netting. It was Blackpool who finished the half stronger when a superb double save from Schmeichel kept out a lob from Tom Ince and the follow up from Eardley.
The second half opened with City on the front foot and a gift penalty gave them the opportunity to open the scoring. Kane was chasing a loose ball out of the area when Eardley inexplicably bundled him over for a stonewall penalty. Up stepped Chris Wood who opted to drive the penalty kick straight down the middle but sadly on to the bar and in to the crowd. If that wasn’t bad enough Wood’s afternoon worsened after he missed a simple chance to make amends a few minutes later. Lloyd Dyer (on for Marshall) cut the ball back across goal for the big Kiwi who scuffed his effort wide from 6 yards with the goal yawning at him. Wood’s hat-trick of near misses was completed with 10 minutes remaining when his header from a long ball was tipped over by Gilks. At the other end the City defence was on top and the hosts were restricted to long-range efforts and set-pieces which were dealt with comfortably by Schmeichel who was in commanding form.
The final whistle brought a merciful end to a poor match but special mention for Tom Ince. Amid the players struggling to cope with the awful pitch was a lad with real class who rose above it and showed why there is so much interest in him right now. He even took the inevitable chants from City fans in his stride (‘Daddy’s boy’ and ‘He’s not your real dad’) and got on with a classy performance.
A not so special mention for Blackpool F.C. stewards who ruined the afternoon for countless travelling fans today. It was a classic case of fools in high vis jackets on a power trip. They were able to create trouble where there was none and a procession of fans were ejected for no good reason as these idiots continually created conflict and tension amongst a good-natured, trouble-free travelling support.
Blackpool: Gilks, Baptiste, Cathcart, Broadfoot, Crainey, Eardley, Ferguson, Basham, Ince, Taylor-Fletcher (Delfouneso 72), Phillips (Derbyshire 80). Subs Not Used: Halstead, Wabara, Grandin, Sylvestre, Martinez.
Leicester: Schmeichel, De Laet, Keane, Morgan, Konchesky, Marshall (Knockaert 73), King, Drinkwater, Kane (Vardy 79), Nugent (Dyer 61), Wood. Subs Not Used: Logan, Whitbread, Gallagher, Wellens.
Referee: Simon Hooper. Attendance: 14,509.