Clark: Seasiders will sur­vive

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Robert Do­man

BLACK­POOL boss Lee Clark says his bat­tlers have what it takes to save their skins af­ter he watched them snare a pre­cious point in their fran­tic race for sur­vival.

Clark’s play­ers bounced back from an early Jor­dan Rhodes opener to frus­trate their hosts in this Lan­cashire derby as Black­burn’s hopes of mount­ing a se­ri­ous play-off chase were dented by Grant Hall’s equaliser.

And Clark is back­ing his men to fight to the fin­ish in a bid to es­cape the Cham­pi­onship trap door while op­pos­ing manager Gary Bowyer ad­mit­ted Rovers’ own killer in­stinct de­serted them.

“The ap­pli­ca­tion of my play­ers to get a bat­tling point was fan­tas­tic,” Clark said.

“I knew the sit­u­a­tion when I came to the club but I thought we could stay up and I still think we can.

“The play­ers keep fight­ing and they won’t be throw­ing in the towel.

“When you have a group of play­ers that are still up for the fight then you have to stand and fight along­side them and that’s what my­self and the staff are pre­pared to do.

“Things can hap­pen in foot­ball which are ab­so­lutely out­ra­geous and while there is the pos­si­bil­ity of sav­ing our­selves then we have to hope we can.

“When you stay in the game there is al­ways a pos­si­bil­ity of get­ting some­thing from it and that’s ex­actly what we did.”

Rhodes struck with the game’s early goal when Craig Con­way burst into the Black­pool penalty area be­fore squar­ing the ball to the peren­nial marks­man for an easy tap in on 14 min­utes.

Black­burn al­most scored a sec­ond only for Matt Kilgallon to put his vol­ley into the stand when he met Con­way’s 31st minute cor­ner un­marked.

But it was Black­pool who found the net next to level mat­ters – Hall head­ing in Peter Clarke’s flick from a 42nd minute Jamie O’Hara set-piece.

And the Seasiders had their hosts on the rocks when an­other O’Hara free-kick hit the post be­fore strik­ing Rovers keeper Jamie Steele with Hall just un­able to cap­i­talise on the re­bound.

Black­burn were inches from go­ing back in front when Rhodes at­tempted a spec­tac­u­lar over­head kick be­fore the ball dropped ag­o­nis­ingly wide six min­utes into the sec­ond-half.

Rudy Gest­ede then hit the cross­bar with a loop­ing header from Con­way’s cor­ner and light­ning struck twice for the un­lucky striker when he per­formed the same trick again soon af­ter.

Only a full length save from Joe Lewis could deny Black­burn from snatch­ing the spoils as he thwarted Rhodes from the edge of the box be­fore Tom Cairney and Alex Bap­tiste both put the ball wide in in­jury-time.

“We had enough chances to have prob­a­bly won two games,” Bowyer said. “It is frus­trat­ing that we weren’t ruth­less enough to con­vert them. We needed more killer in­stinct in ex­e­cut­ing the op­por­tu­ni­ties we cre­ated.

“Even at the death we had chances but I have to give the lads full credit for keep­ing go­ing un­til the end. They are frus­trated and dis­ap­pointed but we have to try and bounce back.

“We have done a lot of work on de­fend­ing set-pieces in the last few weeks but play­ers have to take re­spon­si­bil­ity. But we are four games un­beaten and that is one way of look­ing at things although I am sure the pes­simists won’t see it like that.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

AD­VAN­TAGE: Jor­dan Rhodes fires home to give Black­burn the lead at Ewood Park – but it didn’t last

LEVEL: Grant Hall cel­e­brates his goal

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