Blackpool 3-0 Brighton: Sunday Mirror match report
Published 21:30 17/03/12 By Soriebah Kajue
The Blackpool fans serenaded him with chants of “Ollie Mourinho” and there can be no doubt that Ian Holloway really is a Special One.
Before the match, Holloway had challenged his team to win eight of their last 10 games to ensure a play-off finish.
And they answered his rallying cry and produced the type of entertaining football that regulars at Bloomfield Road have become accustomed to with a come-from-behind win.
Last year’s relegation from the Premier League saw Holloway forced to sell star names like Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell.
He’s rebuilt his team since then but he is aware that if they miss out on promotion his latest team may suffer the same fate.
Ian Evatt scored the crucial leveller after Brighton’s early opener, but Kevin Phillips then took centre stage to ensure the three points.
Holloway was full of praise for his veteran striker.
“He’s a master of his trade, he strikes a ball cleanly, always through the middle of the ball and he doesn’t even bother to look where it’s going,” he said.
“There are a lot people who can learn from that and particularly the young ones, Tom Ince and Matt Phillips, are gaining from him.
“The secret is he keeps his head still on everything he does. If you look at it he hardly ever mistimes a strike.”
With Holloway prepared to stick to a risky attacking policy to get results Blackpool are inevitably left vulnerable at the back.
They have now gone 12 games without keeping a clean sheet and Joe Mattock’s header from a Vicente Rodriguez corner after just seven minutes emphasised their frailties.
Yet if the statistics illustrate Blackpool have a leaky rearguard then they have another one that highlights their attacking abilities – they have scored in every Championship game in 2012.
They had clawed back an unrivalled 26 points from losing positions before yesterday and within 33 minutes had turned this game on its head.
The equaliser came from Evatt. Brighton failed to clear a Stephen Crainey cross and Evatt steered home the equaliser from close range for his first goal since November 2010.
With the momentum in their sails, Blackpool raided forward. And just three minutes later they were ahead when Matt Phillips’ athletic run saw him get to the byline and his cross was scuffed home by namesake Kevin.
Ince should have extended their lead just before the interval but the ball bobbled up and over his foot.
Brighton’s task was made more difficult when Gonzalo Jara was dismissed after 56 minutes for a rash challenge on Keith Southern.
Phillips completed his brace as he diverted Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s shot past Peter Brezovan to move the Seasiders into the play-off places.
Brighton boss Gus Poyet said: “We didn’t deserve anything from the game. Sometimes this happens because of your performance, and sometimes it’s because of the opposition. Today it was a combination of both.
“I think promotion now is going to be too difficult and too much.”