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Blackpool 2-2 Fulham: Premier League Match Of The Day

 Blackpool 2 2 Fulham: Premier League Match Of The Day

Blackpool's Stanley Matthews (l) against Tottenham's Ron Burgess (r) in the 1948 FA Cup semi-final.

Watching Blackpool play their debut Premier League game at Bloomfield Road against Fulham today, the 90 minutes surprised me. It felt like going to the movies to see a film you didn’t think would be that good, but you walked away with a better appreciation and a warm and fuzzy feeling. The game featured end-to-end action with two teams that both had a decent chance to win the game; a rarity in the Premier League these days.

Sadly, it was probably the game that most soccer supporters were least likely to watch. In America, it was only shown live on FoxSoccer.tv. But the game isn’t scheduled for replay on television until 9am Sunday on Fox Soccer Channel (or you can watch a 45 minute version of the game on FoxSoccer.tv). If you get a chance to watch it, I highly recommend it. Surprisingly, it was one of the most enjoyable matches I’ve seen since the season kicked off.

The match itself was a perfect specimen of Blackpool’s very attractive attacking style of soccer. The Seasiders are very creative moving the ball into open spaces up front and gave Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale plenty of work to do in front of Fabio Capello who was in the crowd to watch the promising keeper. But it was against the run of play when Fulham scored the first goal of the match. On his way to assisting on the goal Moussa Dembele, the Belgian striker signed by Fulham just ten days ago, tripped a Blackpool player before making a run and then proceeded to cross the ball into Bobby Zamora’s path to make it 1-0. The decision seemed harsh against Blackpool, but the Tangerines were fortunate later in the match to equalize after John Paintsil scored an own goal, so things evened out.

Not to take anything away from Fulham, who were equally attractive to watch and seem to be getting into their groove, but this Blackpool team is also a joy to watch. Players such as Brett Ormerod, Luke Varney, Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Charlie Adam, just to name a few, are a breath of fresh air. Varney deservedly scored to make it 2-1 to Blackpool. And it seemed as if it was going to be Ian Holloway’s day until Dembele assisted on one of the goals of the season with an absolutely exquisite pass that cut open the Blackpool defense and fell into the path of Dickson Etuhu who scored a beautiful goal to make it 2-2.

Worryingly for US soccer and Clint Dempsey, Dembele was an inspiration today for Fulham after assisting on both goals and being a key player in Fulham’s team. Dembele played instead of Dempsey. And based on the Belgian’s performance today, Dempsey may have a difficult time finding a way to get back into this side.

Overall, this was a highly entertaining match with plenty of attempts on goal that kept both goalkeepers busy. These were two attacking sides bent on trying to get all three points. And the home side, especially, was buoyed by an enthusiastic crowd of working class people who were supporting a working class team. If Blackpool can keep on playing as inspired as they were today, the Seasiders may become a team that many neutral observers will respect and will enjoy watching.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
View all posts by Christopher Harris →

11 Responses to Blackpool 2-2 Fulham: Premier League Match Of The Day

  1. David Grills says:

    It was a very entertaining match. And fresh, as you said, due to a new team; players, fans, and stadium, alike.

    Fulham, to their credit, repeated the fortitude and courage they showed when behind last week. They are looking very good this season, and I am excited to see them add some attack to their usually great defending.

    As for Clint, he should be in mid field behind the strikers, feeding the ball and taking long shot from the hole or corners of the box. We know he is able as demonstrated by the winner he scored against Juventus. He just isn’t a natural striker and Dembele has his place sown up right now.

    Go Whites!

  2. Sir Guy says:

    **sigh** The Tying Whites. Going to watch tomorrow just to see the TWO goals! :-)

    @ David Grills….Agree completely about Clint.

  3. aol says:

    Two questions? With the promising Stockdale in goal, what does Hughes do with Schwarzer if Arsenal would rather go for Given (or stay with Almunia)? Do they insert Schwarzer back in or just stay with the younger keeper and banish Schwarzer to FA Cup games and the like for wanting to bail?

    The other was about Dempsey. Can they really not find a place for him after he was one of their top performers last year and one of the US’ best at the World Cup? Or has be been slightly injured and they are working him back in? Just wondering if Hughes just doesn’t have the same feeling about him that Hodgson seemed to have the last two years.

    • Lyle says:

      Dempsey will get his playing time. People will get injured and what not. His problem is not his talent or heart, it’s that he just doesn’t perfectly fit one position in the 4-4-2. He’s the jack-of-all trades player who’ll just have to get thrown in when he can.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Looks like Shay Given will go to to Fulham on loan, which will push Schwarzer to Arsenal.

      As for Dempsey, the worst thing that could have happened is Hodgson leaving and Hughes coming in. With Hodgson, Dempsey had gained his trust. With Hughes, it’s almost as if Dempsey has to start all over again to prove his worth.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Kevin says:

        Dempsey didn’t gain Roy’s trust. Clint is difficult in training and takes all the skills of a top man manager to get the most out of him. He is pouty and likes to do his own thing. His confidence in his own ability leads to wonder strikes like at Stoke and v Juve last year, but it can also be maddening. CD got time when healthy last year because Fulham were a thin squad playing a ton of games. He was never one of the first names on the team sheet and let’s just say that Hodgson won’t ever make an inquiry about aquiring Dempsey.

  4. Lyle says:

    Fulham is playing well to start the season. Invincible so far. This game was great because these two teams probably have the most spirit, they’re like the North Korea and the USA from the world cup. Delightful to watch thanks in large part to courage

    Fulham has come back twice in a week now to earn a draw. Give’m heaps you Lillywhites you!!!

  5. B says:

    Good game ,good game.

    Foxsoccer.tv had it on-demand within an hour of the final whistle.
    Unfortunately ,just as it went into four mins of stoppage time they cut the stream off!

  6. Indeed it was like being at the movies. I had the pleasure of watching live and caught a few highlights on my iphone…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocUV3b-gXNg

  7. Sir Guy says:

    Watched it this morning. I will watch games when I already know the result if they have some interest for me. I like to see how it happened.

    It was entertaining. Dembele looks good, which just means Hughes has to find how best to deploy Dempsey. Great atmosphere at a small venue. Good for you, Blackpool.

    Still waiting on a Fulham “W”. :-)

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