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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 22 Feb 14 at 17:30 PM

The Report: Blackpool 1 Blues 2

Super Lee Novak struck two second-half goals to bag a vital three points for Birmingham City against ten-man Blackpool.

The Tangerines went into the break with the wind in their sails at the seaside having edged into the lead courtesy of Andy Keogh's 22nd minute strike. 

However Blues struck back with a sweetly-struck half volley from Novak in the 63rd minute before Blackpool were reduced to ten men with the sending off of Jack Robinson with a quarter-of-an-hour left to play.

The weekend in the holiday resort got even better for the 1,600+ Bluenoses at Bloomfield Road as Novak headed home Emyr Huws' excellent delivery in the 82nd minute to secure another away day victory for Blues.

This was an entertaining encounter played at a great tempo throughout. Blues started brightly and Federico Macheda was almost gifted a goal in only the third minute but couldn't get his toe on the end of Novak's low cross that fizzed across the six yard box.

However, Blackpool soon got a grip on the game and were the better side in the first-half. Keogh got the better of skipper Paul Robinson in the eighth minute and almost set up Stephen Dobbie for a tap in at the far post; fortunately Will Packwood got enough of a touch on the ball to get it safely back to Darren Randolph.

Close range efforts, both wayward, came and went for Keogh and Faris Haroun before Kirk Broadfoot forced Randolph into a decent save by getting his head on the end of Tony McMahon's in the 18th minute.

Blackpool continued to threaten and eventually found a deserved opener when, from a reworked corner, Keogh blasted home a smart swivel and volley from six yards.

Nikola Zigic replaced Tom Adeyemi at the break as Lee Clark looked to match Blackpool's diamond formation and the tactic worked.

Within the space of 12 second-half minutes, Blues had already carved out two one-on-one goalscoring opportunities. Chris Burke tried and failed to pick his spot past compatriot Matthew Gilks before Zigic gifted the Scotland international goalkeeper the simplest of saves by sending a weak dinked effort into his grasp.

Novak drew Blues level in the 63rd minute. Burke's cross was knocked down by Zigic ato Novak 18 yards out. The 25-year-old took a touch with his chest and sent a half-volley in off the head of Gary MacKenzie.

Blues could, and arguably should, have had a penalty in the 67th minute. Burke was sent crashing to the floor, after latching on to Novak's clever throughball, but the referee quickly waved play on. As a result of a knock to the head sustained in that incident, Burke was substituted for debutant Jordon Ibe, who 24 hours earlier had completed a loan until the end of the season from Liverpool

The 18-year-old made an immediate impact and it was his searing pace that resulted in Jack Robinson's 75th minute sending off when the Blackpool defender, as the last man, was forced into a desperate tackle on the edge of the box to prevent the England U19 breaking through.

Ibe also played a role in the build up to the winning goal. His deflected effort forced a corner, which was worked to Huws on the right and his precise delivery found the stooping head of Novak to glance home.

The day could have got even better for Blues with Gilks being forced to tip away a Macheda effort at full stretch with five minutes to play.

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