Seasiders 2-1 Forest
Blackpool go into the 2nd leg of the playoff semi final at the City Ground on Tuesday night, with a slender one goal advantage. Although Chris Cohen put the Reds' infront on 13 minutes with a great curling strike, goals from Southern and Adam gave the Seasiders the edge in an open and entertaining game.
Forest were able to recall captain Paul McKenna for the first time in 2 months, following his recovery from knee ligament damage and also Chris Cohen, who missed the previous game with a case of Mumps. There was however, no place in the squad for Guy Moussi, who was reportedly out with groin strain. For the visitors, DJ Campbell was a surprise inclusion, after being a major doubt with an arm injury, sustained in last week's game with Bristol City.
This wasn't the cagey or tense affair that the watching TV audience would have expected, as both teams played with an attacking flair that made it a very open game. Forest started the brighter and dominated for large periods of the first half, but as the final scoreline suggests, they weren't to have it all their own way. The homeside managed to not only claw their way back into the game, but also take the lead.
Tyson almost put the Reds' infront after only 4 minutes, when his long range shot whizzed over the bar. Forest were getting the better of the early exchanges, but a series of free kicks and set pieces were proving to be the best way forward for the homeside. Although we were looking vulnerable at the back, we were hanging on and somehow managing to scramble the ball away to safety.
The Reds' took the lead on 13 mins after a long range kick from Camp landed about 6 yards outside the Seasiders box. Majewski slotted the ball into the path of Cohen on the corner of the area and he hit a wonderful curling shot passed Gilks and into the net from the outside of his left boot. That gave Forest a deserved lead and they went on to pile the pressure on the home side in an effort to extend the lead. Not for the first time this season though, Forest would prove themselves guilty of squandering chances, with Blackstock and Tyson missing the target when they really should have done better.
Blackpool got an equaliser midway through the first half and it came from some neat build up play from the home side. The Forest defence failed to make a challenge, with 'Pool passing the ball around our own penalty area, which eventually led to Southern shooting passed Camp and into the goal to make the score 1-1.
That was enough to take us into the break, but not before Blackstock put a header onto the bar and Morgan had a shot cleared off the line, all in the latter stages of stoppage time.
The second half saw Forest playing too deep for my liking, which meant the homeside could dictate the play. 10 minutes into the half and a clumsy challenge from Perch, saw Campbell go down in the box. Phil Dowd pointed to the spot and up stepped Adam to send Camp the wrong way with his penalty kick. That goal gave the homeside the confidence to go on and push forward even more. Campbell hit a shot way over the bar, when he was in acres of space and should have at least hit the target from the edge of the box.
Phil Dowd was guilty of getting one or two decisions wrong in this game and none moreso than when he awarded the homeside a free kick in a dangerous position right on the edge of the Forest penalty area. A brilliant tackle from Wilson on Taylor-Fletcher ended up with the defender having a foul given against him. Fortunately for the Reds', Adam hit his shot straight at the wall and no harm was done.
The Reds' almost levelled the score in the final seconds of injury time, but Cohen's shot from the edge of the box was pushed out for a corner by a finger tip save from Gilks. It all makes for an interesting night on Tuesday, when both teams will battle it out again infront of 30,000 fans at the City Ground. We have to get behind the lads from the start and make the ground a cauldron of noise for the entire game. This tie isn't finished yet and it could go to extra time and penalties. It might be 2-1 to Blackpool, but it's only halftime.