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Blackpool v Albion - from Bloomfield Road
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- BLACKPOOL 0 ALBION 1
- Ulloa hits the post (24)
- Calderon fires winner (38)
- Ward and Buckley injured
- Chicksen on for assured debut
- Six pages of coverage in The Argus tomorrow
Chicksen accomplished on his debut. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
Barnes, too, did a great job keeping the ball as Albion saw the job through.
Final: Blackpool 0 Albion 1
LuaLua almost eased any nerves with a low left foot shot which Gilks dived to touch behind, seemingly via the outside of the post.
The winger was providing a valuable outlet for Albion as they looked to eat up time in the Blackpool half.
LuaLua’s trickery, though, was an asset to Albion. He skipped away from a tackle to lead a counter attack which ended with Barnes curling wide of the far post.
Kuszczak’s handling was sound as he held a long throw flung into the goalmouth closest to Albion’s increasingly nervous fans. Then MacKenzie had a shot blocked in the Seagulls’ area.
But Basham took the heat off Albion with an awful crossfield ball which sailed out for a throw-in.
Buckley outpaced MacKenzie as they chased a ball over the top but saw his attempted lob from a tight angle blocked by Gilks.
The next switch by Blackpool saw Barkhuizen replace Bishop. Buckley, who had taken a knock in that last incident, was replaced by David Lopez at the same stoppage.
Still, though Albion were a long way from being able to celebrate a win.
Davies, a big No. 9, was impeded by El-Abd just outside the outside the box and Ferguson’s curling free-kick might have found the top corner had it not flicked off the wall.
Then LuaLua conceded a needless free-kick as he got back to help Chicksen. Ferguson’s free-kick was met by the head of Basham but his effort was straight at Kuszczak who pushed it away.
LuaLua had the potential to cause stand-in right-back Basham problems. He was barged over as he tied to go down the outside and Basham was booked.
Paul Ince had lost the plot! First time ever Blackpool fans have booed a sub coming on— @Brad92Rawcliffe 29 December 2013
Paul Ince had lost the plot! First time ever Blackpool fans have booed a sub coming on— @Brad92Rawcliffe 29 December 2013
Upson slid in to make an important clearance when Thomas Ince drilled the ball across the goalmouth.
Albion countered through Barnes and then Buckley, who went down as he cut inside a challenge just inside the box. But there were surprisingly few penalty appeals and the attack fizzled out.
At least the Seagulls were getting forward more though. LuaLua cut in and fired a low shot which reared up off the pitch just in front of Gilks. The ball hit the keeper seemingly in the chest but he was able to gather it at the second attempt.
Then boos rang out again from home fans when Basham sent a mis-directed long ball straight into the arms of Kuszczak.
The boos were even louder – and seemingly against Paul Ince – when he made his next change. Davies replaced Chopra and home supporters chanted: “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
LuaLua for Ulloa (67). Not injured, just fatigued. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
Blackpool, bedevilled by disciplinary problems this month, picked up their first card of the game when MacKenzie caught Buckley late.
The hosts cleared the free-kick and countered but Chicksen had the pace to keep ahead of Thomas Ince as they chased a ball forward and hook it into touch.
Then Chicksen cleared a cross. But Albion were being pegged back now and home fans were starting to get behind their side.
There were a few shouts from fans behind the goal for a penalty when Crofts slid in on Gosling in the box – but it was a clean tackle, albeit at the expense of a corner. Ferguson’s delivery failed to clear first man Calderon.
Albion made their second change when Ulloa went off, seemingly limping slightly, and LuaLua took his place.
Blackpool fans were becoming increasingly impatient with their side and there were cheers when Delfouneso went on for Dobbie in the 59th minute.
RT @OfficialBHAFC: Calderon shows his delight at opening the scoring. #BFC v #BHAFC http://t.co/UCmIaH5OUe— @BeccaP14 29 December 2013
No surprise that Blackpool have responded to a degree. Second half of counter-attacking for #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
Albion were sitting back and allowing Blackpool possession up to a point ten yards inside the Seagulls half – and the away fans did not like it.
El-Abd was penalised for a shove in the back 25 yards out in line with Kuszczak’s left-hand upright.
Thomas Ince saw his curler ricochet off the wall and, as the ball dropped just inside the box, Ulloa hooked it away.
There was no foul on Kuszczak when he came a long way and dropped the next cross into Albion’s area – this time a hanging delivery from deep. But Albion scrambled the ball to safety.
Much more like it from Buckley today. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
Lengthy treatment for Kuszczak, who landed heavily on his back collecting a header from a corner. He is okay now. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
Big half coming up for Adam Chicksen - against a team managed by Paul Ince, the man who gave him his league debut when they were at MK Dons.— @Brian__Owen 29 December 2013
Blackpool were straight on the attack from kick-off to the second half and Gosling made ground before firing in a shot which El-Abd did well to block.
The hosts won a corner but Kuszczak held it, then dropped it – as he was fouled.
The keeper needed treatment.
HT BLACKPOOL 0 ALBION 1 BBC Sussex's Adrian Harms "Albion have worked very hard and have had most of the play encouraging half." #BHAFC— @BBCSussexSport 29 December 2013
Andy meant "boos from the home fans" in that last tweet but you get the gist!
1-0 #bhafc at the break. Boss from the home fans. Copybook away display with and without the ball.— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
Albion had lost five times this season after going 1-0 up – and taken just one point from their two most recent trips to Blackpool despite opening the scoring on each occasion.
But they were solid enough against first a cross, then a corner, as Blackpool sought a swift equaliser.
Ward, injured earlier in the game, went off just before the interval to be replaced by Chicksen.
Half: Blackpool 0 Albion 1
A deep cross was allowed to drop to Dobbie beyond the far post and his volley was blocked.
Dobbie retrieved the ball and stood it up to the far post but Ince failed to connect with an overhead kick.
Albion, though, got the ball to the other end and, after Ulloa laid the ball off, CALDERON worked room for a low shot which Gilks reached but could only help into the top corner.
Albion were on top – and produced a fine move which saw Bridcutt get Buckley in behind left-back Robinson and fire in a low cross which the stretching Barnes could not quite reach.
Blackpool had produced little of note. But Thomas Ince won them a corner when his cross cannoned behind off Ward.
Kuszczak came a long way to punch the flag kick away as far Gosling 25 yards out and the midfielder’s attempt to sidefoot-volley back over him with his first touch sent the ball about a yard clear of the crossbar.
It was the start of a brighter spell by the hosts.
BLACKPOOL 0 ALBION 0 (Ulloa post) BBC Sussex's Johnny Cantor "Albion starting to apply more pressure on the game and nearly scored." #bhafc— @BBCSussexSport 29 December 2013
Ulloa also had the third shot of the contest – and this was the best of the lot. Found on the right edge of the area by the lively Buckley, Ulloa cut on to his left foot and curled the ball around Gilks, only to see it smack back off the far post.
Rohan Ince has started well - again. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
Strong ball-winning by Gosling gave Thomas Ince the chance to feed Basham over-lapping outside him down the right. But his cross was straight at Kuszczak at the near post.
Rohan Ince was heavily involved in a move which ended when Buckley was brought down in a central position right on the D.
Ulloa took the free-kick but his curler went over the wall – and the bar, by about a yard.
Still, the Argentine had produced the only two shots of the contest as it hit the 20-minute mark.
Ince, not Bridcutt, deepest of #bhafc midfield three. The latter sticking close to Ferguson.— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
Ward’s venture into the home half met a painful end as he came off second best in a clash of heads. There was a lengthy hold up while he was tended to on the pitch, then Barnes filled in at left-back as Ward had further treatment beyond the touchline.
The Irishman eventually returned with his head heavily bandaged.
Buckley was fouled down the right and took the free-kick himself. Instead of lofting it into the box, he drilled it square for Ulloa to shoot first-time from the edge of the area on the half-turn – but his effort went past the top corner.
Buckley was next on the ball when he ran it out of defence and got past two defenders before Robinson took the ball off him.
The Albion man took a hopeful swing to get the ball back but succeeded only in hacking down the left-back, earning himself a talking-to from ref Taylor but, to the irritation of Blackpool’s fans, no card.
Dobbie had started the game on the Blackpool left, looking to isolate Calderon. When Blackpool threatened down that side, Buckley got back to cover and win a throw-in.
Bloomfield Road is much-improved from the era of NJ playing for Peter Taylor. My foot went through the rotting floor of old stand. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
Albion's fans would have a close view of their team's right wing - patrolled by Buckley - in the first half.
But their team were defending at the end furthest away from them early as they scrambled away a long throw while some fans shouted hopefully for handball.
Teams are out at Bloomfield Road. Albion looking for their first win here since 2000. #BHAFC— @BrightonFanbase 29 December 2013
Always a colourful encounter between these two teams. Albion are wearing their normal home kit today.
We're about five yards away from the away section here on the side of Bloomfield Road opposite the TV gantry. And they rise now to cheer the away side as the two teams come out.
Meanwhile at Charlton v Sheffield Wednesday...
Valley pitch not looking the best. http://t.co/9a0p0LVRqA— @RichCawleySLP 29 December 2013
Testing afternoon could be in store at times for 4-card Calde against Blackpool's roaming Ince junior. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
You will have no doubt seen and digested the team news.
I would suggest there are no surprises in that Albion XI given that Bruno is clearly injured.
Of course a personnel change can also lead to an advantageous positional change for another player – so could that be the case with Will Buckley?
Speaking to him after the Charlton game, he concedes he is not yet at his best and needs to get a run of games.
The return of Ashley Barnes for David Lopez today suggests Buckley could be employed on the right, which I always think is his better flank.
Of course, he scored from the right wing against Blackpool when the sides met towards the end of last season.
Maybe, in this case, a repeat of Boxing Day would be welcomed by the Seagulls.
Charlton were delighted to see Chris Solly come back into the side at right-back in their recent draw at Bolton and then the home game with Albion.
He is, after all, a decent player in his own right and certainly a fans’ favourite.
But his return also allowed Lawrie Wilson to move forward from right-back, where he had been standing in, to the right of midfield.
And we all know how that went for the right-sided attacking player!
A quick look at what happened here three days ago...
OG has picked a very positive #bhafc line-up.— @AndyNaylorArgus 29 December 2013
RT @AdrianHarms Leonardo acknowledges the Albion fans as the players warm up at Bloomfield Road http://t.co/rVwQPDN5XD— @BBCSussexSport 29 December 2013
The similarity is striking, Charlton – no victory in five games – play hosts to Albion on Boxing Day.
Now Blackpool – no win in five games – play hosts to the Seagulls three days later.
The Tangerines would love that 3-2 Charlton win to be an omen for them. But Albion need a bit of a lift too after the disappointments of the last two games.
There’s dazzling sunshine over on the seafront, where I’m sure many of the travelling fans have enjoyed a stroll in the last few hours.
The famous Tower looks spectacular against a crystal clear blue sky.
But the inside of the stadium itself is shaded from that sun and there is a bitingly cold wind sweeping across the pitch.
The pitch, though, looks better than that at Charlton (which was by no means a given, as those of you who have been here before will appreciate). Albion will hope the result is too.
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