Rampant Huddersfield make a mockery of Seasiders' pretensions

Blackpool 1 Huddersfield Town 3

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The Independent Football

Blackpool had acquired the services of Lancashire County Cricket Club's blotter, designed to suck up excess water, yesterday in a desperate attempt to get this Championship game on last night amid the heavy rain drenching the town. That decision looked a lot of effort for nothing after they were soundly beaten by a vibrant Huddersfield Town who were the better side all evening.

The scoreline suggests that many pundits' favourites for promotion still have a long way to in their quest to go up automatically.

Encouraged by a peculiarly high defensive line, Huddersfield set about targeting the lack of pace in the hosts' back four. Early warning signs were not heeded and an innocuous long ball was flicked on by James Vaughan in behind Alex Baptiste, allowing Lee Novak to power the ball past Matt Gilks. It might have been more had Danny Ward and Adam Clayton enjoyed a little more luck.

They might have been a mess at the back, but the Seasiders were level after 27 minutes. Tom Ince, who had been unusually quiet, twisted and turned in the box, leaving Peter Clarke all ends up before finding Gary Taylor-Fletcher to poach an equaliser against his former club. But their defensive frailties were all too apparent again when Vaughan was afforded a free header from an Oliver Norwood freekick to give the Terriers the lead moments before the break.

It got worse for a defence devoid of any organisation and communication just three minutes into the second half. Ward won a cheap free-kick that Norwood swung in, evading everyone and nestling into the corner of the net. Gilks was apoplectic, arguing a handball, but was solely at fault, misjudging the flight of the delivery.

This was reminiscent of the soft-centred Blackpool of the Premier League two years ago rather than one that has been so revered for their domination of some of the biggest sides in the Championship so far this season.

The result was not, however, solely down to poor Tangerine performances across the board; Huddersfield were excellent. None more so than Keith Southern on his return since a summer move to Yorkshire. Still fondly thought of on the Fylde Coast, he won countless battles in midfield in typically rugged fashion.

The Blackpool manager, Ian Holloway, ended up with six attackers on the pitch but they never threatened to conjure a rousing finish. The arrival of D J Campbell on loan is imminent, but it is not strikers they need on this evidence.

Match facts

Blackpool (4-3-3): Gilks; Eardley (Dicko, 78), Baptiste, Evatt, Crainey; Gomes (M Phillips, 64), Ferguson (K Phillips, 64), Osbourne; Taylor-Fletcher, Delfouneso, Ince. Substitutes not used Halstead (gk), Sylvestre, Angel, Broadfoot.

Huddersfield Town (4-3-3): Smithies; Hunt, Clarke, Gerrard, Dixon; Norwood (Woods, 85), Southern (Arfield, 90), Clayton; Novak, Vaughan (Scannell, 80), Ward. Substitutes not used Bennett (gk), Wallace, Lee, Robinson.

Scorers. Blackpool: Taylor-Fletcher 27. Huddersfield: Novak 13, Vaughan 45, Norwood 48

Referee T Bates (Staffordshire).