It was only last season that these two teams met at football’s top table, and Birmingham picked up a maximum of 6/6 Premier League points – their victory at Bloomfield Road being one of their only away wins of the 2010/11 season. After both suffering relegation on the last day of the season, The Blues and The Seasiders have a new outlook, new players and a new target, of which they both share, and that is promotion back to the Premiership at the first time of asking.
Although Chris Hughton employed a 4-5-1 formation with Marlon King the lone striker, in order to combat Blackpool’s attacking style of play, it still made for an entertaining and end to end game – as it so often is when you play against Ian Holloway’s side. And it was the away team with the majority of the early chances, with Wade Elliott and Marlon King coming close. Blackpool responded, but it was Blues who drew first blood just before the half hour mark. Elliott’s inch perfect through ball found King, who kept his composure to slot home his fifth goal in a Blues shirt. The travelling contingent of 2,000+ fans went wild on the West Coast, but their celebrations were cut short when just two minutes later the home side were back in the game thanks to Stephen Crainey when at the same time, ironically, Blues fans were singing about winning away from home…
Still in full voice, the Blues fans kept spirits up on a blisteringly cold day in Blackpool, however the home side were doing all they could to really rain on Blues' parade; and a moment of magic in the 57th minute really did dampen the Birmingham spirits. Neal Eardley collected the ball on the edge of the area, picked his spot, and fired a perfectly placed shot home to send the Blackpool fans crazy.
The goal felt like a sucker punch to the Blues side and heads went down, but the introduction of Nikola Zigic almost saw an equaliser for Blues. The Serbian met Keith Fahey’s cross but headed agonisingly wide when it seemed easier to score, which has been the story of the past few games for Blues. Nevertheless, Hughton’s persistent side kept plugging away and finally got their reward in the 87th minute. The ball fell to Zigic a few yards from goal and this time the striker made no mistake as he first controlled and then shot past Matt Gilks in the Blackpool net to secure a point for his side and send the fans – and the team – home happy.
Full Time: Blackpool 2-2 BLUES
Goal Scorers: King (29) Crainey (31) Eardley (57) Zigic (87)
Star Man: I honestly can't call this one. It was a really even game and so not many players stood out.
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