Blackpool Championship memories: Supersub back in full force to see Leeds United

This week it was August 2012 when they secured two out of two wins with a 2-1 loss to Leeds United, as WILL WATT watched…

Have you ever felt like you’re onto a good thing? I was lucky enough to be in the tunnel after last night’s magnificent win, and the shout from Ian Holloway’s office of “Come In” said it all.

How Holloway handles it, I’ll never know. Again he failed to bring in the striker he so desperately wanted, again he had to deal with one of his star players asking him to leave, but, again times, it seems to have imposed itself.

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We won’t really appreciate how special this time is for the Seasiders until it’s over.

Holloway has totally transformed the club, the fans and, above all, the football on the pitch.

While I am fully aware there are only two games left in the season, there is one more thing I must rave about before we settle on the reality that there are a grueling 44 games left – Matt Phillips.

Nouha Dicko scores Blackpool’s first goal

The winger has had a dream move (and a life-changing pay rise) turned down, and while that frustrates us all, it’s hard not to understand his situation.

While many supporters would turn against the 21-year-old, the reception he received when he was introduced just after the hour mark spoke volumes about the unity that exists in Bloomfield Road.

Boy, did he repay the supporters in the form of a game-winning goal that leaves the Seasiders top of the Championship table.

Despite hints of wholesale changes to the side that won at Millwall, Holloway ended up making just two.

Tom Lees had put Leeds United ahead at Bloomfield Road

Craig Cathcart entered the heart of Pool’s defense and Angel Martinez was recalled as the starting midfielder.

Injured Ian Evatt, who claimed he was fit despite serious foot bruising, and skipper Barry Ferguson were the only absentees.

Blackpool started with real pace of play, with Tiago Gomes continuing his impressive debut on Saturday.

It was he and Kevin Phillips who combined for their first real chance. A neat brace found Gomes on goal, only for the lineman’s flag to be raised.

I don’t want to sound like the founding member of Gomes’ fan club, but the Portuguese midfielder was at the heart of everything the Seasiders did in the early stages.

At 10 minutes he started and finished a counter-attack by forcing a decent save from Paddy Kenny from 18 yards out.

Moments later, the opposing team takes the lead.

Ross McCormack delivered a decent corner and Tom Lees got up unmarked in the box to head home.

The goal changed little in terms of the flow of play, with the Seasiders continuing to dominate.

The most controversial moment of the half came in the 17th minute, when Tom Ince appeared to be hacked into the box by Luke Varney, only for the referee to dismiss the claims.

One-way traffic continued and the Seasiders should have been level in 23 minutes, only for Bloomfield Road to witness a collectible.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher’s brilliant through ball found Kevin Phillips clear in goal, but the usually deadly forward fired a straight shot at Kenny.

Referee Dean Whitestone was doing his best to be the most unpopular man on Bloomfield Road, and with El-Hadji Diouf on the Leeds bench, that took time.

He dismissed Pool’s second penalty of the half, when Sam Byram appeared to use his hand to block Taylor-Fletcher’s shot inside the box.

It was Taylor-Fletcher’s 200th appearance for the club and what a player he has been.

He was one of Simon Grayson’s first signings when Pool was first promoted to the Championship and he was great value for his £100,000.

He showed how important he was to the Seasiders, even controlling play from midfield for the final half hour.

Ince has been in the news since his two goals this weekend and he almost added to his tally at half-time.

The winger fired through goal after Stephen Crainey found him inside the box, before firing high and wide from 18 yards moments later.

The second half began in much the same vein as the first, with Pool so unlucky in the 46th minute when a thunderous strike from Ince rattled inside the post.

At this point, even the most optimistic fans were beginning to think the breakthrough would never happen.

For a period of 10 minutes, the Seasiders played through the hands of Neil Warnock. The game got messy, exactly what Blackpool didn’t want.

This prompted Holloway to change plans just after the hour mark when he replaced Gomes and Martinez with Nouha Dicko and Matt Phillips.

Then came the breakthrough and it almost lifted the roof off Bloomfield Road.

Crainey broke in on the left and his low cross was tapped home by Dicko.

With the ground moving, you knew there would only be one winner, and there were no prizes for guessing who was going to make headlines.

Crainey was involved again as he found Ince on the left, who dialed in and whipped a brilliant ball into the near post, where Matt Phillips passed Kenny.

You can only be satisfied for Phillips. It’s been such a tough week for him.

Every pool player celebrated with him. He’s hugely popular in the dressing room and there won’t be a more popular goalscorer all season.

It was a massive victory for the Seasiders, a victory that left Holloway’s men thinking they were ready to take on the world.

It’s a brilliant start, but there’s so much to go. Bring it on!

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