Campbell's predatory instincts bring Spurs back down to earth
Blackpool 3 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Wednesday 23 February 2011
Sir Alex Ferguson suggested that Tottenham's problems with the Champions League would come not in the competition itself but in the games that followed. There may have been a week separating their heroics in Milan from defeat on one of football's less exalted shores but the old master's point was proven.
The sight of Benoît Assou-Ekotto lying flat on his back, gloves over his face, having steered the ball into Brett Ormerod's path for Blackpool's third may not have been as memorable as Gennaro Gattuso squaring up to Joe Jordan at San Siro but it will linger on the Fylde coast.
It was the goal that ensured Ormerod, a flesh-and-blood symbol of what the club has achieved, has now scored in all four divisions for Blackpool. "I don't think there has been a word printed in any dictionary that expresses quite how I feel," said his manager, Ian Holloway.
His players had survived a bombardment, had cleared three shots off the line and yet penetrated a refashioned Tottenham defence with ease. Though the goal they conceded to Roman Pavlyuchenko was spectacular it was so deep into stoppage time to be irrelevant.
Holloway might have had problems finding words to describe his players but Harry Redknapp did not. "It was incredible sitting out there watching chance after chance go begging," said the Tottenham manager. "We had strikers with balls dropping on their heads failing to score from four or five yards out. Had we made it 2-1, it would have changed the atmosphere like it did when Blackpool were two up against Manchester United with 20 minutes to go and lost but we kept creating chances and squandering them."
The electronic boards on the streets leading to Bloomfield Road promised: "Circus, Magic and New Variety." Blackpool, having won once in almost two months, required considerable dollops of the last two.
In terms of new variety, Holloway offered another sold-out stadium Sergei Kornilenko, who had been brought in on loan from the Russian champions, Zenit St Petersburg, exchanging the winter palaces along the Neva for the Golden Mile in February.
Holloway had suggested the striker was not yet ready to start but picked him anyway and he played a part in both Blackpool's first-half goals. It was his knockdown from Ian Evatt's cross that DJ Campbell ran on to in the Spurs area. Sébastien Bassong decided somewhat unwisely to tangle with Campbell, gave him a kick for good measure, and then fell on top of him to concede one of the less debatable penalties of the season. Given that Redknapp described the challenge as "scandalous", "crappy" and "diabolical" it can be assumed Bassong would have had an uneasy journey back to London.
Heurelho Gomes guessed which way Charlie Adam would place his spot-kick but it was driven with such force that he needn't have bothered. Kornilenko's second intervention came on the edge of half-time as Blackpool, having cleared two Tottenham chances off their own goal-line through Craig Cathcart and Alex Baptiste, who was to repeat the feat after the interval, counter-attacked with precision. The Belarussian's back-heel was followed up by James Beattie's cross which in turn was met emphatically by Campbell at the far post.
Much has been made of how committed Blackpool are to attack but here they defended with a genuine resolve. David Beckham had finished his training spell with Tottenham by ordering pie, mash and liquor for the players but here they were broken by the equally traditional Blackpool rock.
Blackpool (4-3-3): Kingson; Eardley, Cathcart, Evatt, Baptiste; Vaughan, Sylvestre (Southern, 58), Adam; Campbell, Beattie (Phillips, 63), Kornilenko (Ormerod, 63). Substitutes not used Halstead, Carney, Puncheon, Reid. Booked Evatt.
Tottenham (4-4-2): Gomes; Gallas, Dawson, Bassong (Crouch, 73), Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Palacios (Jenas h-t), Modric, Pienaar (Kranjcar, 59), Pavlyuchenko, Defoe. Substitutes not used Cudicini, Rose, Sandro, Khumalo.
Referee C Foy (Merseyside).
Match rating 8/10.
Man of the match Baptiste.
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