Lee Clark’s abysmal run at St. Andrews continued on Wednesday night, as his Blackpool side lost 1-0 to his former employers, Birmingham City.
Despite dominating the ball, Blackpool just couldn’t find that crucial equalising goal. The Tangerines got off to a good start and started to set the pace of the game with Jamie O’Hara testing Darren Randolph in the Blues goal with a well controlled volley, which flew into the keepers midriff. Blues struggled to get a foot hold in the game and that showed when Blackpool carved out a few more chances, one from youngster Dom Telford and another from Miles Addison, both off target.
A long punt up field by Blues captain Paul Caddis created Blues’ first threatening attack, creating panic at the back for Blackpool, allowing striker Clayton Donaldson to win possession but fire over the bar. Former Aston Villa player Nathan Delfouneso’s solo effort, which saw him beat Paul Caddis and career towards the Birmingham goal, was curled just wide. A great cross from Paul Caddis found striker Clayton Donaldson, who’s free header missed the target, to the disgruntlement of the Birmingham faithful. Blues made the breakthrough on 36 minutes and new boy Tesche played a pivotal role. The German chipped the ball over the top of a static Blackpool defence and Shinnie sensed the opportunity and ghosted in to head over the onrushing Parish, who was well out of his goal. The ball bounced into the empty net to hand the hosts the advantage.
Blackpool, despite being 15 points adrift at the foot of the table, showed real character and continued to push Birmingham right to the final whistle. Darren Randolph made two superb saves, one denying Gary Madine and the other denying Tom Barkhuizen from a narrow angle which inevitable could of gave Blackpool the three points they deserved. Jamie O’Hara was lucky to still be on the pitch after 90 minutes. He was involved in two incidents. The first, he appeared to elbow David Davis in the face as the pair challenged for a header and the second being him kicking out at Donaldson, he escaped both without a caution. Both sides had chances in the second half, but luckily for Gary Rowett’s men, a 1-0 lead was all they needed to take all 3 points and record back to back home wins.
Darren Randolph – 7 – Two Superb saves allowed his team to take all three points.
Paul Caddis – 6 – Had trouble marking Nathan Delfouneso but did deliver some dangerous crosses.
Jonathan Spector – 5 – Made a crucial interception in the first half to stop Blackpool from having a great scoring opportunity but seems to be lacking confidence on the ball.
Rob Kiernan – 6 – Gary Madine caused him problems but never made it easy for the Blackpool striker.
Jonathan Grounds – 6 – Had a solid defence game but didn’t offer much in terms of attacking.
David Davis – 6 – Offers solidarity in the Blues midfield. Had a constant battle with Jamie O’Hara.
Robert Tesche – 7 – Superb assist from the debutant, made some great ball winning tackles, Good debut performance.
David Cotterill – 6 – Form has dipped recently, lacks creativity and pace to beat the final defender. Looked to tire around the 70th minute mark.
Andrew Shinnie – 7 – Made a great run to score the goal. Was always looking to feed in players with balls behind the defence.
Demarai Gray – 6 – Ever since his speculated move to Bournemouth, he has shown the same explosiveness Blues fans are used to from him. When he did run at defenders, he looked dangerous.
Clayton Donaldson – 7 – Can not fault his work rate, holds the ball up to allow players around him to advance.
Callum Reilly – 5 – Was never really given long enough to impact the game, used as cover for Tesche who is most likely not up to match fitness.
Lee Novak – 5 – Couldn’t impact the game with the time he was given, will always chase the ball to put pressure on the opposition players.
Wes Thomas – 6 – Blues fans would like to see Thomas play more as he added pace, strength and a partner Donaldson could play off.
Elliot Parish – 6 – May of been at fault for the goal, rushing out and getting beat to the ball but otherwise has an average game.
Niall Mayer – 6 – Had an inconsistent game, Demarai Gray caused him trouble at times, picked up a yellow card which may of been the reason he was taken off.
Grant Hall – 6 – Let Andrew Shinnie run onto Tesche’s ball for the goal. A quiet performance from the former Birmingham loanee.
Tom Aldred – 6 – Again, let Shinnie through unmarked and unchallenged. An Average performance like his defensive partner.
David Ferguson – 6 – Delt with Cotterill well, stopping him from getting too many crosses in. Wasn’t afraid to make attacking runs either.
Miles Addison – 7 – Solid debut from the on loan Bournemouth player, Great strength and stature in the middle of the pitch. Had two headers which he should of done better with.
David Perkins – 7 – Gets a lot of stick from Blackpool supporters but had a good game, caused the defence and midfield problems with his attacking runs and quick feet.
Jamie O’Hara – 8 – Lucky to have seen the game out but every Blackpool attack went through him, calm on the ball and picked out the right passes.
Nathan Delfouneso – 7 – Not the most popular player down at St Andrews given his history, but his quick feet, pace and agility caused the defensive line a lot of problems and probably should of came away with a goal to his name.
Dom Telford – 6 – Very confident on the ball given his age, not afraid to run at defenders and his pace can cause problems. Had a shot which was deflected just wide of Randolph’s far post.
Gary Madine – 7 – His great stature and aerial ability was a thorn in Birmingham’s defence all night. Created a lot of problems for Blues as the ball was often lofted forward to him to either bring down or head on.
Tony McMahon – 6 – Came on for the cautioned Maher, didn’t have much to do as the more attacking Demarai Gray wasn’t given long to test him before making way for Lee Novak
Tom Barhuizen- 7 – Had the best chance of the game, only to be denied by an outstretched Darren Randolph. Looked lively when he came on and could of clawed back some vital points for Blackpool.