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Albion v Blackpool - from the Amex
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- ALBION 1 BLACKPOOL 1
- Albion held - but stay sixth
- Stephens makes breakthrough (46)
- Dobbie fires brilliant leveller (50)
- Full coverage in The Argus tomorrow
It ended 1-1
Final: Albion 1 Blackpool 1
McMahon was booked in added time for kicking the ball away.
Then came the chance Albion craved. They got Mackail-Smith away on a counter-attack and, though his ball inside was blocked, Ulloa followed up to tee up Buckley - who shot over from the edge of the box.
Albion sent on David Lopez for Lingard.
Dobbie, still looking lively, fired a left-foot curler which was straight at Kuszczak.
Then great work by Ward got Mackail-Smith away down the left but Ulloa could not reach his driven cross in the goalmouth.
Andrews' shot deflected for a corner which led to a flurry of pressure.
Bruno won the ball back off Goodwillie and saw his dangerous cross cleared.
It went as far as Stephens on the left. He checked on to his right foot and curled a tempting ball into the box. Ulloa and Gilks both went for it, neither got the there and the ball drifted narrowly past the far post.
The contest was in the balance and the possibility a second Blackpool goal could by no means be ruled out.
Dobbie had a low free-kick held by Kuszczak diving to his left.
Then the same player delivered a cross which the Pole did well to catch under pressure.
Blackpool made a double change as Angel Martinez and Goodwillie replaced Osbourne and Keogh.
Cathcart stuck out a foot and tripped LuaLua for the next booking.
The free-kick was 25 yards out, centrally placed. But LuaLua's shot sliced well wide.
It was LuaLua's final action as he was replaced by Mackail-Smith
Dobbie, confidence sky high, let fly from 25 yards but this time he was high and wide.
Albion at last passed the ball with some zip and precision on halfway and broke away.
But LuaLua took too long over his final pass to Lingard, who eventually shot well wide from 18 yards.
Att: 27,610 (293 away)
Albion needed more attacking tempo. Bruno tried to introduce some with a slide-rule pass to get Buckley in behind the defence. Buckley played the ball inside to Andrews, whose curler flew across goal and wide of the far post.
Blackpool sent on Haroun for Basham.
It was quite an open game now. Ulloa headed away a McMahon corner in front of his own goal.
Then the Argentinean swapped passes with Stephens down the left and made tracks into the penalty area but the attack was snuffed out as he tried to set up a team mate.
Osbourne was booked for bringing down Lingard.
Stephens curled in a dangerous free-kick but Cathcart got his head to it under pressure from Ulloa.
Then Dobbie saw yellow for clipping the heels of LuaLua as the winger threatened to get away.
The lead last four minutes - and then Blackpool matched Albion's classy opener.
DOBBIE worked a one-two cutting in from the left and curled a fantastic finish across Kuszczak.
The Seagulls made a perfect start to the second half.
After neat build-up down the left, Ward swung over a cross which Ulloa chested down cleverly for STEPHENS. The midfielder side-stepped a tackle and curled a superb finish into the top corner from 20 yards.
Buckley replaced March for the second half.
Blackpool won a corner as the half entered two added minutes but Halliday became the latest player to overhit a set-piece.
Half: Albion 0 Blackpool 0
There were appeals for handball when Lingard's shot deflected off a defender and span wide of goal.
Ulloa met the resulting corner from Stephens with a powerful header which flashed just over the bar.
It was Albion's best set-piece delivery of the contest so far.
Out of nothing, though, Blackpool should have gone ahead.
Greer and Stephens seemed to have nicked the ball away from Bishop on the edge of the box but they dithered over clearing and Dobbie had a chance.
Bruno slipped as he tried to come across and cover but Dobbie sent his shot rolling just past the far post.
Now there were murmurings of unease among the home fans.
Frustration levels were not too high yet for Albion but they were not causing Blackpool many problems.
LuaLua did well to win a corner but then wasted it when his ball in was overhit.
Ulloa gave March chance to run down the right and he was scythed down by McGahey, who was booked.
The free-kick was cleared - but LuaLua picked up the ball wide on the left and raced past McMahon who seemed to barge him over. But ref Russell angered home fans and players by ruling there was nothing wrong with the challenge.
Then Kuszczak held a Dobbie curler and, with Albion leaving two men up, the Pole's quick punt caused problems.
Ulloa won the header and Halliday was ruled to have impeded Lingard as they both went to chase the ball.
Halliday needed lengthy treatment before the free-kick could be taken.
Perhaps Albion's best hope of breaking through would be on a counter attack.
LuaLua thought so as he picked up the ball up in his own half and slid a pass for Lingard and Halliday to chase. Halliday matched the home man for pace and, when Lingard went down, ref Russell waved play on.
Blackpool won a corner but, to the delight of the North Stand, Dobbie's delivery cleared everyone.
The former Palace and Albion man was being booed by home fans.
The next corner, from the right, was far better from Halliday and Kuszczak did well to tip it behind under pressure at the far post.
But it was a good spell by Blackpool and Kuszczak had to dive to punch away Dobbie's next flag kick.
Albion and their fans were having to be patient.
Bruno opened up the Tangeine ranks with a pass down the line that got Lingard away but his low cross was cleared by Cathcart in front of Ulloa.
Bruno sent he resulting throw long and the headed clearance fell to Stephens, for a volley from outside the box that was quite well struck but straight at Gilks.
Bruno's clever pass got Andrews to the byline for a cross whch was cleared.
Then Ulloa's neat lay-off set up a 20-yard shooting chance for Lingard. But his effort was slightly scuffed and rolled gently past the post.
LuaLua won but then wasted a free-kick when his delivery from the left flank was badly overhit.
Then Lingard went on a run which was ended by a tackle on the edge of the penalty area.
But it was not exactly an explosive start to proceedings and Blackpool were clearly well organised and motivated for their challenge.
It was clear Albion would have to play their way through nine tangerine shirts when in possession. LuaLua decided to cut out the middle men by shooting from 25 yards but his shot went wide with Gilks covering that post.
Blackpool had the first chance when Andrews' pass gifted the ball to Keogh. He worked the ball to Osbourne for a low show which rolled wide off Kuszczak's fingertips - though fans in the North Stand felt the keeper did not get a touch.
The corner was lofted to a congested area at the far post but missed everyone, including the outcoming Kuszczak, and drifted out for a goal-kick.
Note of trivia - six of the Albion players are in tangerine boots!
Here we go...
No change of ends. Albion will go North to South in the first half.
As you might expect there's a really upbeat feel around the Amex today as the players walk out in the sunshine.
Blackpool have probably the smallest away support we've seen this term but you can't miss them in their tangerine shirts.
Albion will be looking to raise the roof today - just as Lloyd Owusu did five years ago.
That is how long it is since the Seagulls won a game at Easter.
Owusu was the matchwinner at Colchester back on Easter Monday 2009 to spark the Great Escape in League One.
Blackpool need an escape of their own.
Albion just need to stay where they are.
Did I say 'just'?
It might not be as easy as that. We expect a test of nerve and patience here today against the Seasiders as Albion kick off a game in sixth place for only the second time this season.
The stage is just about set and we await the teams...
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