Premier League - Blackpool shock Newcastle
Eurosport - Sat, 11 Sep 17:02:00 2010
Blackpool condemned Newcastle to their first home defeat since May 2009 with an unlikely 2-0 Premier League win at St James’ Park.
But Matt Gilks, the Blackpool goalkeeper, was the star of the show, pulling off save after save to keep the visitors in the game.
Gilks was superb from start to finish and denied Joey Barton after he played himself in following a lucky ricochet, before side-footing his shot to the far post, only for Gilks to palm it away one handed.
But Gilks’s telling contribution came in the 88th minute when he denied Newcastle in-form front man Andy Carroll with a world-class save from point-blank range. Getting down superbly to save with his legs, Gilks weathered Newcastle’s assault on the Blackpool goal throughout a frantic game which Newcastle dominated for long periods.
But Blackpool always looked capable of causing Newcastle problems at the back. Mike Williamson and Jose Enrique were dragged out of position by the lively Luke Varney on a number of occasions and this performance showed that the sooner Newcastle can introduce the experienced head of Sol Campbell to their back line, the better.
Credit is due to Blackpool, who rode their luck at times but played the perfect away game. Ian Holloway had clearly instructed his side to defend from the outset, and from the first minute skipper Adam provided an effective shield to the back four.
Blackpool shaded the better of the first half chances, despite being dominated in possession for much of it, and when DJ Campbell spurned a golden opportunity in the first half when he was one-on-one with Steve Harper. You would have been forgiven for thinking Blackpool had wasted their only opportunity to silence a near capacity St James’s Park.
But Jonas Gutierrez was in wasteful mood, failing to deliver a pinpoint cross or incisive pass all afternoon, leading to his belated withdrawal in the second half.
Newcastle’s main goal threat, Carroll, was also off colour and Chris Hughton may yet regret rushing him back into action so quickly after picking up an ankle knock.
Blackpool had to remain disciplined and Adam gave them the lead from the spot after 44 minutes, after Varney was tripped by a clumsy Alan Smith challenge. While there is no doubt that Varney was impeded by Smith, the loan signing from Derby went to ground quickly, but referee was in a perfect position and pointed at the spot without hesitation.
After Adam sent Harper the wrong way with a cool penalty, and raced over to the touchline to hoist aloft a shirt which read ‘4 Parky’, in tribute to youth team coach Gary Parkinson, who is critically ill in hospital.
Newcastle came out for the second half with an increased intensity as they searched in vain for an equaliser. Barton was the architect of every chance they created but despite creating opportunities for Nolan and LÝvenkrands, Newcastle just could not penetrate the goal occupied by Gilks. Not even the introduction of loan-signing from Marseille Hatem Ben Arfa could alter Newcastle’s fate.
Gilks was in inspired form all afternoon and it was no coincidence that moments after he pulled off that stunning save from Carroll, Blackpool outnumbered Newcastle on a counter attack led by Adam. The captain rolled the ball out to DJ Campbell, who had to check back to make space for the shot but delivered the killer blow with coolness and ultimately a great finish with his left foot from the edge of the box.
As Newcastle trudged off at full-time, Blackpool congregated in the middle of the pristine St James’ Park pitch to salute their travelling fans after securing what could be three vital points come the end of the season.Michael Da Silva / Eurosport