Curtis Davies continued his hoodoo over Blackpool with the opening goal but Blues eventually had to settle for a share of the spoils at St. Andrew’s.
The centre-half scored his fourth goal in five meetings with the Lancashire club to put the hosts ahead against the run of play in first-half injury-time. But defender Kirk Broadfoot popped up 17 minutes from time to equalise for Paul Ince’s men.
Blues survived a few narrow escapes in the opening period but created some good chances to extend their lead following Davies’ goal. Even after the visitors levelled, Lee Clark’s men missed a golden opportunity to grab victory when sub Wade Elliott sliced his shot horribly wide from five yards out with the goal gaping.
On-loan winger Shane Ferguson made his first start replacing Elliott as one of two changes from the side that lost heavily at Hull at the weekend. Captain Steven Caldwell was withdrawn during the first-half at the KC Stadium on Saturday and had not recovered sufficiently so Paul Robinson came in at centre-half. Curtis Davies took over the skipper’s responsibilities.
Blackpool had failed to score in their previous four outings but Tom Ince looked to remedy that unwanted statistic within the opening two minutes as his instinctive first-time drive rippled the side-netting of Jack Butland’s goal. Blues’ first effort on goal came from Paul Caddis’ far-post centre but Nikola Zigic’s header lacked the power to trouble Matt Gilks.
Blues were indebted to young full-back Mitch Hancox for his last-ditch tackle that denied the lively Ince a clear run on goal. The visitors had their tails up and the manager’s son had two more opportunities to open the deadlock. Ince beat Butland in a race for the ball on the edge of the area but the Blackpool midfielder’s toe-poke rolled narrowly wide. Moments later the same player unleashed a fizzing shot that stung the hands of Butland.
The hosts did threaten on 19 minutes when Hancox’s excellent cross-field pass dropped towards the six-yard box where Zigic launched himself at the ball but the big striker’s header bounced wide of Gilks’ left-hand post. The Serbian won his side a free-kick in a dangerous area just outside the area but Peter Lovenkrands’ shot and then the follow-up from Chris Burke were both blocked.
Zigic created a good opportunity for Lovenkrands on 34 minutes as the Dane latched onto his strike-partner’s flick. From a very narrow angle wide on the left, Lovenkrands flicked the ball past the on-rushing Gilks but the ball rolled wide of the far post. At the other end Gary Taylor-Fletcher, who had been recalled in favour of former Blues’ loanee Matt Derbyshire, was denied by a super save from Butland. The England international made up for an initial error as he dropped a cross but he was up sharply to turn aside Taylor-Fletcher’s goal-bound half-volley.
Taylor-Fletcher’s evening ended soon after that as he injured himself attempting an ambitious overhead-kick and was replaced by Blackpool’s latest loan recruit Marko Futacs. Phillips crashed a shot inches wide of the post as the visitors continued to look dangerous in attack but they lived to regret those missed chances as Blues took the lead a minute into first-half stoppage-time.
Ferguson’s first real chance to run at Blackpool right-back Stephen Crainey won his side a corner from which Burke’s cross was headed home by Davies, who rose unchallenged to direct the ball past Gilks from only five yards out. Things could have got even better for Blues before the referee brought the opening period to a close. Burke raced down the right but his terrific centre was driven so fiercely that Zigic could only get the merest of touches at the near post.
Zigic was presented with another good scoring chance soon after the break. Hancox launched the ball into the area from a free-kick and Gilks could only parry the ball as the far as the Blues forward who turned and shot but couldn’t keep his effort down and it flew well over the crossbar. Burke drilled a free-kick into the wall as Blues pressed for a second goal.
Only the woodwork prevented Clark’s side from doubling their advantage on 56 minutes. The unlucky Lovenkrands turned inside his marker and fired in a low shot from wide on the right that flashed past Gilks but hit the inside of post and rolled back across goal and away from danger. Blues were in total control at this point and Burke had two more efforts, one from 20 yards that was saved easily by Gilks and another from a narrow angle that whizzed past the angle of post and bar.
Blues were forced into their first change on 70 minutes when Hancox went off with what appeared to be a hamstring niggle and was replaced by Elliott, Ferguson dropped back to fill in at left-back. The loanee was called into defensive action straightaway with a tremendous sliding block on the six-yard box which denied his namesake in the Blackpool team with the former Blues man seemingly well placed to level matters.
But Blackpool did restore parity moments later when Broadfoot got his head to Neal Eardley’s corner kick and flicked the ball beyond Butland. Lovenkrands appeared to be impeded as he looked to meet Burke’s cross and he was unable to get any power on his header as a result. It was the striker’s last action as he was replaced by former Blackpool loanee Wes Thomas.
Blues could and should have secured maximum points three minutes from the end of normal time when Burke’s low cross made its way through to Elliott inside the six-yard box but the midfielder went for power instead of placement and his shot flew high and wide.
The result sees Blues drop one place to 18th, five points above the relegation zone, but with another chance to secure victory on home soil this weekend when Derby County are the visitors to St. Andrew’s.