Clark’s Blues are finally easing
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