Clark’s Blues are fi­nally eas­ing

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Scott Hunt

WHAT a dif­fer­ence a win makes for Black­pool and boss Lee Clark – it left the for­mer Birm­ing­ham man­ager toast­ing a cru­cial, and long-awaited, three points over his old club.

Steven Davies scored the win­ner to move bot­tom-of-thetable Black­pool to within eight points of safety after their first three points since Oc­to­ber.

It was the first de­feat in six games for Birm­ing­ham and the first since Gary Rowett took charge.

Clark, who was sacked by Birm­ing­ham in Oc­to­ber, was de­lighted with the vic­tory and praised match-win­ner Davies.

“The feel­ing is the best feel­ing in the world when you win in team sport at five o’clock on a Satur­day,” Clark said.

“We’ve still got a big job on our hands and we’ll keep pro­gress­ing.

“I thought my team stuck to the game plan ter­rif­i­cally well. They worked ex­tremely hard against prob­a­bly a team that’s top three in the form ta­ble.

“We knew we had to be at our very best and, sec­ond half es­pe­cially, we’ve cre­ated more chances so we’re de­lighted with that and with the clean sheet.

“There was talk of Sh­effield United be­ing in for Steven and he wasn’t be­ing used that much.

“He’s al­ways been a good tar­get man. He came on to get a point last week and he’s got the win­ner for us here so we’re de­lighted with the striker scor­ing like that.”

Black­pool thought they had gone in front after 13 min­utes when Davies swept Chris Ea­gles’ cross into the net from six yards, only for the goal to be ruled out for off­side.

The best open­ing of the first half fell to Birm­ing­ham after 33 min­utes as they cut Black­pool open down the right and Lee No­vak saw his ef­fort from 12 yards cleared off the line by Kevin Fo­ley.

Just a minute later Stephen Glee­son’s cross went over Joe Lewis and was met by Michael Mor­ri­son, who could only head across the face from four yards with the goal gap­ing.

Davies gave Black­pool the lead after 55 min­utes as he latched onto a long ball for­ward from Lewis and rolled Paul Robin­son to poke the ball past Dar­ren Ran­dolph from 18 yards.

Ja­cob Murphy almost caught Ran­dolph out from dis­tance when he took a shot from 40 yards after 65 min­utes and the Birm­ing­ham keeper had to backpedal to push it over.

Birm­ing­ham man­ager Rowett said his side sim­ply never got go­ing and feels play­ing against a for­mer man­ager af­fected his play­ers.

“It was one of those games,” Rowett said. “You knew it was go­ing to be scrappy. I don’t think the pitch helped us play the way we wanted to play but you’ve got to man­age that.

“I just thought we made too many short, side­ways passes early on.

“There were too many passes where we could have been pro­gres­sive and we weren’t and that in­vited a bit of a malaise in our per­for­mance.

“There’s a lot of them play­ing against their old man­ager and I think some of them in terms of ner­vous en­ergy ex­pended a lot in get­ting up for the game and I don’t think that helped them.

“Even not at our best I thought it would be a 0-0 game, maybe de­cided by a mis­take and un­for­tu­nately I think the mis­take was ours.”

KISS ME QUICK: Chris Ea­gles rushes to cel­e­brate with match­win­ner Steven Davies

DE­LIGHT: Lee Clark

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