Blackpool hold on after Albion lose their heads but not heart

Blackpool 2 West Bromwich Albion 1

If this was a match between two of the Premier League's more attractive sides then heaven help those clubs deemed to be physical bruisers. The Sky cameras were in town to catch a match that was supposed to be an exhibition of riotous, attacking football between clubs that might be short on Premier League ambition but full of adventurous intent.

It one regard it certainly was riotous, but not quite in the way intended, as West Bromwich Albion were reduced to nine men within the first half in a contest where tackling came first and questions came later.

One decision looked harsh, one looked to be more than spot on in an opening that oozed excitement and danger. This was the Premier League right on the edge.

When Pablo Ibanez trundled into DJ Campbell after 10 minutes, a penalty seemed to be both the correct and only punishment required but the referee, Michael Oliver, thought differently, sending Ibanez off before Charlie Adam converted.

As it happened, Oliver's decision turned out to be a dress rehearsal for the eminently more justifiable dismissal of Gonzalo Jara just before the half-hour mark. Jara's pathetic lunge on Luke Varney left most of Bloomfield Road wondering exactly how Varney's legs were still in a position that nature intended as Jara took off from two metres away and launched a two footed tackle that deserves further sanction from the Football Association.

"I thought the first incident probably was a penalty but not a sending off but the second one the referee called it right," Di Matteo said. "[Jara's effort] was a tackle that let us down. Our player lost a bit of head and made a terrible tackle so he made a mistake that cost us. But the players have been magnificent. We were down to nine men and they fought hard and battled, but it's been a night to forget. We'll have to take it and start again."

When Jara went, the common opinion was that West Bromwich's chances of salvaging something went with him but to their credit they shrugged it off and finished the first half as the sparkier and more energetic side.

Graham Dorrans and Jerome Thomas refused to be daunted by the unbalanced numbers and pushed and probed Ian Evatt and Stephen Crainey for an opening and although a goal could not be mustered up, Di Matteo's men at least proved they would not capitulate.

After the interval Thomas and Dorrans remained the two biggest threats on the field but, predictably and eventually, Blackpool found a hole that West Bromwich just could not close.

David Vaughan comfortably found Eliot Grandin down the right wing and he comfortably picked out Varney who could not miss from four yards out.

Although the goal deflated the visiting fans, the same could not be said of West Bromwich's depleted workforce who maintained their tempo and when Yousouf Mulumbu curled home a fine individual effort from 12 yards out with just six minutes remaining, Blackpool realised they once again had a game on their hands.

They managed to frantically hold on despite DJ Campbell missing two glorious chances and West Bromwich must have gone home last night contemplating exactly what they could have achieved if they had remained fully staffed and more level-headed, something Ian Holloway agreed would have been better for the game as a whole.

"I'm delighted the monkey is off our back, we've won at home, and we've got 13 points," he said. "I'd like to say to the people who said we'd only get 10 this season – you're wrong again."

Blackpool (4-3-3): Gilks; Eardley (Phillips, 57), Cathcart (Carney, 57), Evatt, Crainey; Grandin, Adam, Vaughan; Taylor-Fletcher; Campbell, Varney (Keinan, 71). Substitutes not used Kingson (gk), Southern, Harewood, Sylvestre.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Carson; Jara, Pablo, Tamas, Shorey; Brunt, Mulumbu, Scharner, Thomas (Branes, 71); Fortuné (Dorrans, 35), Cox (Reid, 15). Substitutes not used Myhill (gk), Cech, Tchoyi, Bednar.

Referee M Oliver (Northumberland).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral