The Easter sunshine was absent on the Fylde coast, but the gloom threatening to engulf Bloomfield Road was partially lifted as Blackpool put last weekend's home defeat by Wigan behind them to earn a point that lifted them out of the bottom three on goal difference.
It was only Blackpool's second point from a possible 21, yet they could be forgiven for feeling it should have been all three. Despite falling behind to Peter Lovenkrands' fine early strike, Blackpool were the better team, but finished with only DJ Campbell's 32nd-minute equaliser to show for it, raising the stakes for their two remaining home fixtures, against Stoke and Bolton.
Their manager, Ian Holloway, preferred to underline the positives of a much-improved performance as he said: "We needed a reaction, we got a reaction and I am delighted with the lads. That will hopefully lift the doom and gloom – that is more like my team."
Blackpool, boosted by the return of the fit-again David Vaughan in midfield, made a positive start but failed to capitalise as Gary Taylor-Fletcherdragged an early shot wide, then failed to get on the end of a Stephen Crainey cross that had eluded Newcastle's centre-backs. The Lancashire club have conceded in every home game this season, and Holloway's call to cut out costly individual mistakes was ignored when Charlie Adam gave the ball away in the build-up to Newcastle's opener after 17 minutes. Joey Barton supplied Lovenkrands who, from 25 yards, drove an excellent left-foot shot low into the bottom corner.
Newcastle's manager, Alan Pardew, said his side were lucky to score when they did, yet he questioned the validity of Campbell's equaliser. The striker's 11th League goal of the season came when he met Adam's low corner with a flick of his left foot, sending the ball arcing over Tim Krul and across the goal-line before Jose Enrique headed clear. "I think you have to be beyond doubt if you are going to give that as a linesman, and I didn't think it was," Pardew said.
That was not the only difficult decision faced by the referee, MartinAtkinson, who earlier ruled that Krul had got a hand to turn the ball away when Campbell went down under the Dutchman's challenge in the area. Atkinson later ignored Blackpool's appeals when Danny Simpson handled twice as he fell in his own box. "I thought that was an unbelievable handball," lamented Holloway.
Blackpool came close to a second before the break when Matt Phillips had a shot cleared off the line by Jose Enrique, and continued to press in the second half, Taylor-Fletcher missing a glorious chance in the 63rd minute when nodding over an inviting Crainey cross. Moments later Phillips, starting for the first time since January, laid the ball off to Adam, but though his shot beat Krul, it bounced clear off the far post.
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: Vaughan
Match rating: 7/10Reuse content