Blackpool earn late, deserved, point
Nathan Delfouneso earned Blackpool a late point on Boxing Day to continue Town’s winless streak.
Blackpool’s point was well deserved after missing a host of chances to go ahead in the first half. It looked like they would be made to rue them after Anthony Gerrard headed home his first for Town, but substitute Delfouneso flicked home at the near post in the final minute to break Town hearts.
Simon Grayson made one enforced change for the visit of Blackpool as Peter Clarke returned to the side in the place of the suspended Joel Lynch.
Elsewhere, Adam Clayton made his 100th league appearance of his career in a four man midfield while Alex Smithies made his 150th start for the Terriers and continued as Town’s only ever present of the season.
Town were almost down and out by the second minute after former Terrier Gary Taylor-Fletcher missed two glorious chances.
In the 19th second the big striker raced in between Town’s static central defenders on to Tom Ince’s chipped past, but scooped the chance high and wide in to the Fantastic Family Stand. GTF’s second opportunity came after good play from Wes Thomas down the left as he crossed to the near post and again Taylor-Fletcher was first to react but he planted his header from four yards wide of Smithies’ goal.
The onslaught kept coming and after Clarke had blocked Tiago Gomes’ shot, his central midfield partner Isaiah Osbourne walked through Anthony Gerrard’s tackle before tamely shooting wide when one-on-one with Smithies.
Town just weren’t at the races and were hanging on by the skins of their teeth. On the half hour mark the lively Ince raced in behind Calum Woods and after standing up Smithies skipped past him before firing low at goal, only to see his shot blocked by Gerrard on the line.
For all their efforts, Blackpool come closest to an opener through Town’s skipper when he hung a boot at Alex Baptiste’s low cross, which deflected an inch wide of Smithies’ goal.
James Vaughan hit the post for the Terriers in added time of the first half, but he was adjudged to have been offside by the assistant referee.
Life for the Terriers didn’t get any sweeter in the second 45 with the visitors enjoying the first chance of the half after Vaughan had gifted Thomas the ball who ran at Clarke before forcing Smithies into a good low save.
Scotsman Murray Wallace made his debut for Town with six minutes played of the second half after Calum Woods hobbled off with an injury. The 19 year-old’s introduction sparked some life in to the Terriers with Jermaine Beckford going close twice in a matter of minutes.
Firstly, Kirk Broadfoot made a fantastic last minute interception to stop the on loan striker in his tracks before he then headed wide, unmarked, at the back post from Clayton’s chipped ball in.
The Terriers marked their best period in the game with a goal in the 66th minute courtesy of defender Anthony Gerrard’s head. The commanding defender rose highest at the back post to meet Clayton’s out swinging corner and power home his first in Town colours to give Town an undeserved lead.
Blackpool’s charge had been quelled by Town’s attacking intent, but with Tom Ince and co upfront they looked dangerous on the counter. Taylor Fletcher’s final action of the game was to head over another opportunity 12 yards out; he was replaced by Nouha Dicko with ten minutes to play.
Michael Appleton’s final roll of the dice was to throw on veteran striker Kevin Philips and although he didn’t have a direct influence in the goal, he was able to join in the celebrations after Nathan Delfouneso snatched a late equaliser after good play from the impressive Thomas Ince.
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Calum Woods (Murray Wallace, 52), Peter Clarke (c), Anthony Gerrard, Jack Hunt; Sean Scannell (Adam Hammill, 81), Oliver Norwood (Chris Atkinson, 52), Keith Southern, Adam Clayton; James Vaughan, Jermaine Beckford
Ian Bennett, Lee Novak, Simon Church, Scott Arfield
Bookings Blackpool: Isaiah Osboure, 63; Stephen Crainey, 63; Alex Baptiste, 65