City sink in Pool
Jonathan Redhead Blackpool 2 Norwich City 0Two second half goals condemned Norwich City to a hugely disappointing defeat at Blackpool this afternoon.Whatever momentum the team had built from their midweek win at QPR was washed away at the seaside in a terrible display which keeps City deep in relegation trouble.
Blackpool 2 Norwich City 0
Two second half goals condemned Norwich City to a hugely disappointing defeat at Blackpool this afternoon.
Whatever momentum the team had built from their midweek win at QPR was washed away at the seaside in a terrible display which keeps City deep in relegation trouble.
Long-range efforts from Brett Ormerod and Charlie Adam were the least the Seasiders deserved as they dominated possession and chances.
On this form City have no chance of avoiding the drop and even the appearance of David Mooney as a substitute would not have made the 795 travelling fans feel any better.
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City boss Bryan Gunn retained the team that beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0 on Tuesday night for today's clash at Bloomfield Road.
The only change to the squad came on the bench where new loan signing David Mooney replaced Cody McDonald.
For the home side there was only one change with Keith Southern replacing Claus Jorgensen in midfield.
City kicked off and instantly played the ball to former Blackpool winger Wes Hoolahan who was roundly booed by the noisy home fans.
The Seasiders were quickly on the attack and David Marshall was alert to collect a low Stephen Crainey cross at the near post.
The home side had all the early impetus and in the fifth minute Marshall had to come to the edge of his six-yard box to claim a cross from Danny Coid.
City struggled to get out of their own half and Southern registered the first shot of the afternoon after seven minutes but his volley from DJ Campbell's flick was way over the bar and into the building site behind David Marshall's goal.
A minute later and Gunn went mad at his team from the sideline as Blackpool almost took the lead. David Vaughan volleyed in a fine cross from the left which went over Marshall's head but Gary Taylor-Fletcher was inches away from tapping in at the far post.
On 11 minutes a superb move from Blackpool saw Charlie Adam's goal-bound shot from the penalty spot deflected behind for a corner.
Vaughan's flag-kick was headed out of play at the near post as City escaped with a goal-kick.
City had their first attempt on goal in the 15th minute but Lee Croft's shot was blocked as he picked up Hoolahan's excellent cross field pass.
A minute later and Gary Doherty rose highest to get his head to a Ryan Bertrand free-kick but goalkeeper Paul Rachubka easily claimed his header.
Suddenly the visitors, wearing their all-black kit, were enjoying some possession and after a mazy dribble, Hoolahan saw his left-foot shot from the edge of the box deflected over the bar for a corner.
From Sammy Clingan's kick the ball fell to Jason Shackell but his diving header was claimed at the second attempt by a scrambling Rachubka on his goal-line.
After 20 minutes Blackpool went closest to opening the scoring as Campbell ran clear through the middle and cut inside Shackell but his left-foot curling effort was inches wide of the far post with Marshall at full stretch but completely beaten.
A minute later and City were again opened up down the middle of their back four but this time Doherty got a foot in as Taylor-Fletcher was about to shoot.
It was an entertaining first quarter to the game with City struggling in terms of possession but still looking capable of finding a way through the home defence although Blackpool looked very dangerous on the attack.
After a scrappy period of play Croft nearly surprised both sets of fans in the 28th minute as he almost gave City the lead. He picked the ball up in the centre circle and made off towards the Blackpool goal before he unleashed a right-foot drive from 30-yards which fizzed inches wide of the post with Rachubka scrambling.
But it was the Canaries who had a very lucky escape on 33 minutes as Taylor-Fletcher missed an open goal from six yards out.
Vaughan cut inside Hoolahan and Marshall could only parry his right-foot effort and it dropped to Taylor-Fletcher but he skied the ball over the bar when it looked easier to score.
Blackpool seemed to find a second wind and Clingan was forced to bring down Campbell on the edge of the City box. From the middle of the D, Crainey took the kick left-footed and it appeared to take a nick off the wall before Marshall plunged low to his right to pull off a fine save before City managed to scramble clear.
At the other end it was Rachubka's chance to display his talent when he punched Jonathan Grounds' fierce volley to safety after a City corner was only half-cleared.
After 39 minutes Gary Doherty was booked for a foul on Adam in the centre circle after being beaten to the ball.
Three minutes later Adam himself was booked for a challenge from behind on Hoolahan who was still being booed by the home fans.
With two minutes until half-time Shackell came to City's rescue as he cleared Campbell's low cross on the six-yard line as Brett Ormerod was ready to tap the ball home.
It was the last action of an entertaining first half which had seen both sides create chances while Hoolahan looked dangerous at his former club playing just behind the hardworking Carl Cort.
Half-time: Blackpool 0, Norwich 0.
City had the wind, which had grown much stronger, in their faces for the second half.
It started brightly for them with a storming run down the right from Jon Otsemobor but he lost the ball as he burst into the Blackpool box.
But City were soon on the back foot and endured a nervous moment after 48 minutes as Vaughan's cross bounced around in their area before it was cleared.
Blackpool had the first effort of the half after 53 minutes but Adam fired way over.
They only had to wait two minutes to take the lead however although it appeared to be a fluke.
After Grounds missed a header, Ormerod broke the offside trap down the right-hand side and from just outside the penalty box and two yards from the by-line he fired in a cross which flew over Marshall's head and into the far top corner.
City needed a response and after 59 minutes Bertrand's run down the right brought them their first corner of the second period but they failed to make anything of Hoolahan's kick.
By now Gunn decided to make the first City substitution of the day when he took off Croft and brought on Mooney for his debut, much to the apparent annoyance of Croft as he left the field.
Mooney's first touch saw him turn inside Shaun Barker and go to ground on the edge of the penalty area but the referee waved away his claims for a foul.
With Mooney now on, Hoolahan had moved to the right wing and it was his lack of control that nearly led to Blackpool's second goal.
He lost the ball in midfield and as the pass went to Ormerod he back-heeled to Campbell who eventually got the ball out from under his feet but could only fire a yard over the top corner.
After 55 minutes Marshall was scrambling as Vaughan's cross drifted towards goal but ended up just wide.
Midway through the half and good play by Mooney led to a City corner but as Clingan's kick was cleared Blackpool managed to break and as Adam went clean through Shackell made a sensational tackle to deny him a goal.
Blackpool looked completely in control and only the post denied Campbell a second goal which his team fully deserved.
After 69 minutes he found space inside the Norwich City box after more poor defending and his right-foot shot looked to be heading into the far corner until it hit the post and bounced well clear.
It was a major warning for City but they did not heed it and Blackpool duly got their second goal after 73 minutes.
Darel Russell twice failed to clear the ball and eventually it fell to Adam on the edge of the box. He looked up and delicately chipped the ball over David Marshall and into the net for a superb goal.
It looked to have killed the game off and Gunn responded two minutes later by taking off Hoolahan and Bertrand to bring on Gow and Carney respectively as the desperate visitors switched to a 4-4-3 formation as Gow joined Cort and Mooney up front.
After 79 minutes the home side responded with a substitution of their own as Jorgensen came on for Vaughan on the left wing.
Some of the 795 City supporters who had made the long journey to the North West started to drift away as the away side looked completely dispirited and their performance was summed up by a misplaced pass from Clingan to Otsemobor which then resulted in an argument between the pair.
After 82 minutes another misplaced pass from Clingan nearly gifted a killer third goal to the Seasiders.
The ball ended up at the feet of Taylor-Fletcher on the edge of the box but he lashed his shot wide.
Blackpool continued to attack and with seven minutes remaining they won a free-kick on the right corner of the City penalty area but Adam drilled the ball well over the bar.
By now Norwich City looked a completely beaten side and with time ticking away Blackpool made their second substitution on 86 minutes with Nick Blackman coming on for Campbell.
After 89 minutes Alan Gow almost scored a late consolation but his powerful half-volley from the edge of the box flew inches wide with Rachubka at full stretch.
In injury time City skipper Doherty even went up front but it was to no avail as in reality the visitors hardly looked like scoring all afternoon.
Indeed it was relief all round for the City players when the referee blew the final whistle so they could leave the pitch, however, a furious looking Bryan Gunn ordered all his players over to the Norwich fans to applaud them for their support.
Full-time: Blackpool 2, Norwich 0.